So many times we have heard that a company wants to do things differently. Often, they find breaking the mould is easy in theory; but lack the skills to make it happen, soon reverting to the more traditional ways of doing business.

Can breaking the business mould actually work?

“Absolutely. The most successful firms have never stood still,” says Gordon Jenkins, business growth consultant and founding director of Adaptive Innovation.

Focus on external stakeholders

Dealing with businesses that want to change, for a variety of reasons, Jenkins has himself broken the mould of traditional business health consultants by focusing on external stakeholders—the clients—rather than concentrating on internal structures and processes.

“Too many organisations are inward looking, making business improvements internally. We prefer to build businesses that clients desire and believe internal business improvements take care of themselves. In other words, we are outcome driven,” says Jenkins.

Melbourne lawyer Geoff Donovan, founding principal of Purpose Law, a cloud-based purpose-driven law firm, also believes it is possible.

“Over the past 35 years I have listened to our commercial and community clients calling out for a better law firm experience, now I have responded by creating Purpose Law,” says Donovan. “Purpose Law is about achieving economic and social value with our clients, through a shared purpose, with price being the value created for the client, fixed and agreed up front.”

Without the marble foyer and excessive reams of paper, Purpose Law challenges the status quo by embracing the client perspective.

“For us, it is working. I had a very specific goal in mind when I created Purpose Law; to provide quality legal services by fixing the pain points of the traditional law firm from the client’s perspective, such as charging based on time. Having that clarity and direction has made everything else fall into place.

“Now it is a case of reminding ourselves and networking with others who want to work the way we do. Doing this, we can maintain what we have set out to achieve,” says Donovan. “From my perspective clients are generally disenchanted with many professional service providers, and those who are bold enough to break the mould and challenge the traditional status quo will achieve great outcomes for their clients.”

Articulating the vision

If having a clear vision is the first step to breaking the mould. Articulating that vision is the second.

“The best way to do it seems to be to get all the major stakeholders in the room and start with a conversation,” says Jenkins. “From here, being a third party not directly involved, we provide feedback and really tease out the idea to clarify it. Then, we test it.”

At the end of the day, there are always opportunities to do things differently and better. But what is really difficult is to be able to turn those opportunities into action, and communicate why. If you can do this, you are in a better position to define your USP and differentiate your brand.