Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Collaboration versus competition: An interview with author Lynn Serafinn
First, a little about our guest. Lynn is the queen of mind-body-spirit books, and has probably helped launch more Amazon.com #1 bestsellers in this genre than anyone in history. And she is a great friend and colleague. Here is the official bio:
Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach and teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and bestselling author. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. Passionate about re-establishing our connection with the Earth, she supports the work of the Transition Town network in her hometown of Bedford, England.
Yesterday, Lynn visited Freya from BookBuzzr, where they talked about purpose and 7 Relationships/Sins in marketing. Today, I'd like to share a recent interview where I got to ask Lynn some questions on collaboration, getting started and her personal music career. I hope you enjoy it!
Rich Gallagher: You and I have something in common: we don't see other people in our profession as competitors. But when I share this view with others, they often look at me like I have three heads. What would you say to convince others that collaboration beats competition?
Lynn Serafinn: I totally understand what you are saying, Rich. And I believe a lot of the reason why people look at folks like you and me as if we have three heads is because the whole “myth” of competition is something we have been fed since we were very young. I cannot count how many times my parents (especially my father) used to talk about competition as being “the” thing that makes the human race—and our economy—stronger. My dad used to cite the whole “survival of the fittest” argument, saying it was a scientific part of natural evolution. But what I found out when I started researching this book and speaking on the subject was that this was actually a common myth we in the Western world have embraced.
Speaking for myself, when I was growing up in the “Cold War” era, the argument for competition was actually part of the propaganda used to justify capitalism versus communism/socialism: We were told that if we didn’t have competing economies, everyone would become lazy and wouldn’t bother to work. Also, we were taught that competition was equivalent to economic freedom, when in truth these two things are very different. When we “fuse” together two ideas into one, that is neither one nor the other, it becomes what I refer to as a “collapsed belief”. And collapsed beliefs can be very dangerous, when they are used to sway public opinion. This whole notion of collapsed beliefs is something I return to again and again in the book.
While I’m not saying any “ism” is better than another (in fact, all “ism’s” become rigid and dysfunctional if they become a set of collapsed beliefs rather than dynamic systems that serve society), what I am saying is our belief in the value of competition is something many of us have passively accepted as an absolute truth over the past 100 years, when in fact it is something we have been taught through the “marketing” of politics and big businesses.
Ok, now, getting back to your question about what I would say to convince others that collaboration beats competition, here are some starting points. First, there have been many studies done that show that competition actually makes us less innovative, creative and daring in our work. A book I would cite that has loads of examples of this is Alfie Kohn’s book No Contest: The Case Against Competition, how we lose in our race to win. In that book, he cites numerous examples of how competition actually results in lower quality performance in everything from business to schoolchildren.
In my own experience as a career musician in the past, I have seen how competition can shut down creative expression, and limit the artist in just so many ways. In the natural world, although we have been led to believe that “evolution” means “survival of the fittest”, this is actually a belief that was created by 19th US and UK capitalists. In Nature, no such thing actually exists. Life is a permaculture—everything is interdependent. If we compete at the expense of others in our economy, we harm the whole economic organism of our society. This is really the main them of my entire book.
Lynn Serafinn: My answer would be that if they really want to succeed in business, they need to shift away from a “hunter” to a “farmer” mentality. In other words, instead of focusing on making the quick “kill” (or sale), focus on planting seeds that will grow and generate seeds of their own. This is hard for new business owners, because it takes a lot of courage to survive through the first year or two of ANY business, during which time you quite likely to lose more money than you make. Surviving through that loss takes a lot of faith. Think of how seeds are when they are beneath the earth, but not yet sprouted. You don’t see that they are actually developing and growing because they are not visible to your eyes. But if you lose faith they will yield fruit, and as a result stop bothering to water them, they will die and you will indeed end up with nothing. That’s the point that so many new business owners end up going back to employment, giving up on their dreams.
Here’s a scenario I have seen again and again in clients, even those who have been in business for years: They start to panic when their business is struggling economically. And instead of thinking, “How can I be more innovative and adaptive, and create something that will take me forward?” they think, “How can I get out of this mess right away?” That is when they frequently resort to aggressive “interruptive” marketing strategies. But in my experience, while this might (not always!) bring some short-term results (like “the kill”), it frequently doesn’t align with the values, dreams and goals of the business owner, and hence there is a “disconnect” between the business owner, his business and his audience.
It helps to have a support network of colleagues who understand this kind of thinking. That’s one of the reasons why I am establishing a 7 Graces Global Community in 2012. I’ll be telling you more about that in the New Year, Rich.
Rich Gallagher: You start off your book with a great story about trying to make it in the music business (and many readers might not realize you once had a #1 trance hit). Ever dream of returning?
Lynn Serafinn: That’s such a funny question, Rich. Well, I have no dream of returning back to the electronic music scene (although psych-trance has still got to be my favourite kind of music). In the chapter on “Deadly Sin of Scarcity” in the book, you’ll also read about how electronic musicians so often get hooked on spending a lot to obtain all the latest equipment through very clever (and insidious) use of “perceived obsolescence” in marketing. That was a never-ending hamster wheel back when I was in the industry, and I never want to get on that ride again!
However, for some reason, I’ve been SINGING a lot lately. In fact, I can’t seem to stop singing. I was a singer for many years in my youth, and gave it up when I chose to focus on being a symphony violinist. But now my voice seems to want to wake up again. Symbolic? At age 57 (quite nearly…my birthday’s in January), I have no desire to start my career in music over yet again, but who knows? Maybe I’ll try out for the X-Factor, and show them how you can bring The Grace of Collaboration into a so-called competition.
(P.S. Rich here – I hope I'm not embarrassing Lynn, but here is a link to one of her trance hits on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsZnxQ63AqY. Enjoy!)
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Lynn Serafinn, and that you’ll check out her book The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell at http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/book-launch/pages/pre-launch.html.
I asked to join Lynn's blog tour because I truly feel this is one of the most important books I have read on marketing, and it resonates very strongly with my own philosophy. In closing, I want to share two very special events Lynn is planning for the launch of her book:
First is a free, no-purchase required telesummit happening from December 6-9, 2011, with a truly world-class lineup of bestselling authors, speakers, and media experts - some of the "all stars" include Escape from Cubicle Nation author Pam Slim, Dr. Joe Vitale, and even yours truly! Here is the link to register and receive a "launch reminder": http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/free-telesummit
Here's the spectacular list of guests speakers for this 7-part event:
Dr. Joe Vitale * Greg S. Reid * Dr. Eric Pearl * Dan Hollings * Pamela Slim * Liz Goodgold * Allison Maslan * Suzanne Falter*Barnes * Tad Hargrave * Misa Hopkins * Richard S. Gallagher * Ward Vandorpe * Barbara Altemus * Andrea Conway * Renee Baribeau * Renee Duran * Michael Drew * Chris Arnold * Jeffrey Van Dyk * Tanya Paluso * Kate Osborne * Shelagh Jones * Paula Tarrant * Lynn Serafinn
You can listen to this free telesummit online in the comfort of your own home, and even ask questions during the broadcast. If you are reading this after Dec 9th, 2011 you can still access the playback for a limited time when you register at http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/free-telesummit
Second is a set of great free gifts when you buy Lynn's book on its launch date of Tuesday December 13, 2011, including the MP3 download of all 10 hours of this historic telesummit, plus a complete library of beautiful personal development gifts from authors, speakers, coaches and other enlightened professionals from around the globe - including a free full-length book from me! To claim your FREE pass to the 7 Graces of Marketing Telesummit and read about the free gifts, go to:
Thanks for reading! As usual, please feel free to share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback. AND… be sure to follow Lynn's next stop on the Virtual Blog Tour with Shelagh Jones, who will be podcasting her interview with Lynn. Here's the link. Enjoy!