Regular readers know that I am a Sharpie addict.  In my humble opinion, they are the greatest writing implements on the planet.

Sharpies have become known for their large color palette: they feature neons, metallics, an 80s Glam series and most colors under the rainbow. 

I was surprised when I walked into the hardware store and saw a large display of them — one with only four colors featured: red, black, green and blue.  I thought it was back to the basics for Sharpies.  Only it wasn’t.

Sharpie now has expanded into a “PRO” series and an “EXTREME” series of pens.  The PRO features high heat resistant ink, able to withstand temperatures of 500 degrees.  The EXTREME is fade resistant, designed to last far longer than the original pens.

This line for the construction trade comes at a premium price, of course, but could service the industry or DIY enthusiast quite well.  It is a logical line extension of their product, and (much to my dismay) one that will take them in a whole different direction than an ever-increasing color array in the office supply aisle.

Think about the product or service you offer.  Instead of more of the same, is there a different path you could follow?  Can you take the core of what you do (pens) and think of other ways for it to evolve (color, heat resistant, fade resistant — or glow in the dark, transparent, blendable, white, — or thick nubs, small pens, click tops, etc.)?

Our thinking often follows a linear path.  Try to think like Sharpie and draw a new angle.

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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