The Herd Doctrine is the behavioral instinct to follow others, to be part of a group. It is a well-accepted doctrine in the behavioral scientific community. Human beings have a herd mindset that is simply overpowering. It’s what made the Nazi regime possible, the American Revolution possible, Facebook possible, Twitter possible and Beanie Babies possible. It’s what drives teens to engage in bad behavior (smoking, joining gangs, sexting). People simply want to blend in; they want to be part of the herd. We are all hardwired that way, genetically. It’s a byproduct of the evolution of the human genome. During the early part of our human existence, we quickly discovered that when we were part of a herd, we were safe from predators. The Herd Doctrine ensured the very survival of our species. We so desire to blend in, to acclimate to society, to be a part of the herd, that we will do almost anything to be a part of a herd and avoid standing out in a crowd.
But there’s a problem with this Herd Doctrine for those pursuing success. Individuals and businesses that follow traditional business strategies advocated by “industry experts”, will only do as well as the rest of the herd. You see the Herd Doctrine at work in every industry seminar that shares “best practices”. These so-called “experts” promote traditional, old and cold “best practices”, that are no longer unique. Their only real effectiveness is that such practices give you the ability to compete, and nothing more. Adopting old, long-established “best practices” are really nothing but Herd Strategies that do nothing to separate you from the competition.
Successful entrepreneurs and businesses do not follow the herd. Instead, they either create unique strategies or they are early adopters of unique strategies. This enables them to outperform their competition, leaving them in the dust. By the time industry experts find out about and share these novel “best practices” with the industry, trailblazing entrepreneurs and businesses have moved on, adopting other new and improved creative practices. Trailblazers understand that once a “best practice” is adopted by an industry, it ceases to be a “best practice” any longer. It becomes a Herd Strategy. And Herd Strategies only keep you in the herd.
Look no further than the automobile industry. When Ford adopted the creative strategy of mass production, it catapulted Ford to the top of the heap. Eventually, the competition adopted the same creative strategy. It soon became a “best practice” and lost its uniqueness. Apple was the first successful personal computer because it included a keyboard and a monitor. For the first time, average Joe’s could type something onto the keyboard and see it flash on the monitor. It was revolutionary. Eventually the competition adopted this “best practice”. Apple lost its uniqueness and nearly went out of business as a result.
If you want to succeed in business, you have to separate yourself from the herd by finding new, creative ideas to sell your product or service and immediately process those ideas into your business model before the competition gets wind. Once your process becomes an industry “best practice”, it’s time to move on in search of a newer and better way to sell your product or service, or risk losing market share. For the most successful entrepreneurs and businesses, this is a continuous process that allows them to stay ahead of the competition.