Calling For Bold Thinkers: How To Become An Iconoclast In The Post-COVID World
The word “change” has become synonymous with the pandemic, especially in relation to business models affected by new consumer behaviors. Though change was a matter of necessity for companies to survive the crisis, many executives believe that it will remain the theme going forward.
Knowing what type of change is needed – even if deemed radical by some – is the key to finding new opportunities, and those who boldly act on these ideas are iconoclasts, who are important in these challenging times, says Tony Zorc (www.tonyzorc.com), author of Iconoclasm: A Survival Guide In The Post-Pandemic Economy and a tech entrepreneur.
“Being an iconoclast is crucial to surviving the post-pandemic world,” Zorc says. “An iconoclast is an individual who challenges the established way of doing things, engineers, a better way, and doesn’t give a hoot what tradition calls for.
“Our collective reaction to the virus – with business shutdowns and all the other government restrictions on society – points to one crucial factor: we as a society do not question what we are told – potentially to our own detriment. Iconoclasm is about unlocking doors and ushering everyone through them. That kind of approach is the key to unlocking opportunities in the current and post-corona economy.”
Zorc offers these tips on how to become an iconoclast:
Challenge why. “The pandemic has revealed something that has been in place for years – that most organizations, corporations, governments, and even schools nowadays don’t want us to think for ourselves,” Zorc says. “Iconoclasts identify the prescribed or established way. Then they ask what existing paradigms they subscribe to without questioning them, and they recognize the historical underlying dynamics supporting those paradigms. Through that process, they determine if there are opportunities to do something different and better.”
Design a plan. Zorc says a project plan starts with identifying the desired outcomes, the obstacles in the way of achieving those results, and the requirements for success. “Ask yourself, ‘What am I looking to achieve?’“ he says. “You then work backward from the go-live date you have set, and list the major milestones that must be reached by specific dates along the timeline. Engineering a plan without dates is just a dream, not a plan.”
Execute the plan. Action is the defining characteristic of an iconoclast, Zorc says, but fear of failure or lack of conviction and commitment often prevent a person from following through. “When it’s time for the showdown, like in the old Westerns, some people flee the town and don’t show up,” he says. “Talking is so easy. I’ve met hundreds of people who have wonderful ideas and want to be an entrepreneur but have no plan and don’t want to take risks. Fear overrides momentum and they go back to doing their old way. But a willingness to confront failure is an inherent part of the iconoclast formula.”
Level up. “This is the act of improving your lot in life without losing what you already have,” Zorc says. “It also means pushing yourself day after day. It’s done incrementally – not trying to attain the huge goal all at once, failing, and losing motivation. When planning to level up, think in terms of days and weeks. For example, if you’re writing a book, shoot to write 500 words per day rather than aiming to finish chapter one in the first month. If your plan doesn’t seem doable in the allotted period of time, break your goal down into smaller bites or acquire more resources in the form of time, money, people, and materials.”
“Dynamics are changing quite often, and our established ways of doing things are not in step with them,” Zorc says. “People will change when someone takes the time to show them a better way. That’s the true iconoclastic opportunity.”
Tony Zorc (www.tonyzorc.com) is the author of Iconoclasm: A Survival Guide In The Post-Pandemic Economy. He is a tech entrepreneur and founder of Accounting Seed. Zorc designed a flexible technology as an accounting software solution and his vision became the platform for his international company, which has sold over 15,000 licenses to customers in numerous industries. In 2018, Accounting Seed was named among CFO Tech Outlook’s Top 10 Accounting Solutions Providers. A graduate of Hope College, Zorc was the Illinois High School Gymnastics Coaches Association senior gymnast of the year in 1992 and a state champion.