Ted Williams and Creative Pivoting

<a href="//www.fastcompany.com/person/ted-williams" class="profile" data-event-category="recirculation" data-event-action="person" data-event-label="ted-williams">Ted Williams</a>We all receive hundreds of stimuli each day. Calls from customers, breaking news, competitive product launches, meetings with colleagues, fashion trends, arguments with spouses, etc. So much of our performance in business (and life) is based on how we respond to these inputs and whether or not our reactions are creative.

This past week, over five-million people viewed this video on YouTube. It's the story of Ted Williams, a homeless man with a "golden voice." We're talking a voice so smooth it would give the dapper boxing announcer Michael Buffer a run for his money. Williams is a likeable, honest guy who made some bad choices in the past but now is desperate to rebound.

Most of us watched, smiled, and moved on with our day. But the leadership at the Cleveland Cavaliers did something different. Something dramatic. Something special. They did a Creative Pivot, a creative and non-obvious response to a stimulus.

Instead of just watching this rapidly spreading video, they took action. Within 12 hours of the video's release, the team offered Williams a full-time job and a place to live. To further seize the moment, the team set up a website where fans could post messages to Ted encouraging him to take the job at the Cavs.

wewanttedwilliams.com

The day the story broke, guess who was featured on nearly every national media report? You guessed it--the brilliant folks at the Cavs. The next morning, just about every talk show covered the story while prominently featuring the Cavaliers' job offer. The late night talk shows. The national media. This feel-good story felt even better with the offer of a fresh start from this caring pro basketball team.

Think about the math for a second: Millions of dollars of great publicity gained; all for the cost of offering a talented man a fresh start. It was genius, real-time marketing and it happened because of the Creative Pivot. They did something remarkable and creative with one simple stimulus, and as a result they chalked up a win bigger than a half-court shot at the final buzzer of a championship game.

Each input of stimulus you receive offers an opportunity. You can let it glaze over you like syrup on pancakes, or you can embrace it and do something valuable instead. Even the seemingly unimportant inputs can be transformed into giant wins for you and your company.

The best part about it ... you get the choice! Every item that comes at you is rife with opportunity to unleash creativity and strike pay dirt. With thousands of stimuli at your disposal, grab just one and do something remarkable. Ted Williams' life changed last week. Make this coming week your week of transformational change by making the Creative Pivot.

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