Bob Fosse was one of the world’s best-known choreographers. Over his 40-year career, he designed memorable dance scenes for films and Broadway musicals, including All That Jazz, Cabaret, Pippin and Chicago. (Watch a salute to Fosse here.)
He earned an Oscar, three Emmys and nine Tony Awards, while creating a dark, sensual, instantly recognizable look and a unique physical vocabulary that still inspire dancers decades after his death.
Yet, much of his signature approach was born of his weaknesses.
In a 1984 BBC interview, Fosse said, “Truly, my style came from my own physical problems. I always had a slight hunch in my shoulders, so, as a dancer, I began hunching.”
He started losing his hair as a young man, “so I started wearing a lot of hats.”
“And I never had the ballet turn-out, so I said, ‘well, I can’t turn [my feet] out, so I’m going to do the opposite and turn them in.’ The whole style has come out of my defects.”
Fosse said, “I thank God I wasn’t born perfect.”
Of course, nobody is perfect. Nor is any brand. But, while you’re walking the endless path to improvement, consider how you could capitalize on your company's weaknesses.
Start by re-positioning what you perceive as negatives. Instead, think of them as quirks, unique qualities that could have value as differentiators. No one saw Bob Fosse’s hunched shoulders or thinning hair as impairments because he leaned into them. He looked right through the cons and saw the pros on the other side. Then, he put those features to work for his dancers.
So, for example, is your company smaller than you’d like it to be?
Instead of going into debt to grow your local inventory, focus on just one product and work to earn your status as a respected national expert on that item.
Instead of hiring more people, invest in training the staff you already have so that they come to exemplify a new pinnacle of customer service.
Instead of upgrading to technical systems you can’t afford, embrace old-school business practices: personal phone calls, face-to-face meetings, hand-written thank you notes.
Each of those is an example of looking at a perceived problem through Fosse-like eyes. And each could elevate you and your brand in the hearts and minds of customers.
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