Is your business vujà dé or just more déjà vu?

“Here’s to the crazy ones…the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently…the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Steve Jobs

Sometimes things are so familiar - like soap - that possibilities become overlooked simply because we see them every day. Our brain is hardwired to instinctively reach for a prior conclusion. The key is to mindfully re-examine and apply a fresh solution — what I call a vujà dé approach. (This concept is explored more fully in my book, Shift Your Brilliance.)

Vujà dé is about being the kind of company or person that takes initiative to doubt the default and look for a better option. It’s the opposite of déjà vu. It’s about looking at something we see all the time and flipping it upside down and inside out to reexamine it. 

To see this concept in action, let me provide you with a compelling case study of vujà dé. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Adriana De Luca at the 2018 Mompreneurs Conference in Toronto. Adriana and her partner, Michelle Lalonde, had been nominated for the Award of Excellence on behalf of their business, Tiber River Naturals, and the work their company is doing for women (and moms in particular).

Adriana started Tiber River in 1999 with an idea of doing things differently. She implemented the vujà dé concept as a cornerstone belief for her company. She explains: “The vujà dé principle goes to the heart of making things better, which has an impact on those it touches, making them want more. It improves their lives. That is the power of vujà dé and it is something we work on daily at Tiber River.”

For example, the first product she ever sold was Zucchini Lemon Peel soap, which actually contained real lemons and zucchinis. Back in 1999, nobody else was doing anything like that – it was an offering unlike anything else on the market.

She understood a basic tenant of vujà dé: look at everything around you with a new set of eyes, eyes not influenced by what they have seen before, but eyes filled with the idea that what you are seeing can be anything you want it to be.

Adriana infuses her company with vujà dé wherever possible, making it a core component of Tiber River’s culture. They are not fans of the status quo. They ask everyone to question the norm and ask themselves:

“How we can vujà dé this?” 

Adriana has lots of advice for success but always returns to vujà dé as her bedrock. She recommends a focus on making small, incremental improvements.

For example, during Tiber River’s monthly all-hands meetings, they make a point to recognize team members for the amazing things they have vujà dé-ed. The concept is introduced to all prospective employees during the hiring process, and it’s so critical to their company’s success that they even include it in their Team Handbook.

Her team also updated their Accountability Chart through a vujà dé lens. At first, the chart resembled most other accountability or organizational charts. But then, “We took a different approach with our refresh process. Through discussion and debate, we chose a Tiber “Constellation Map” demonstrating how the different areas of our business work together to support our culture,” Adriana explained. “Rather than focusing on the importance of any one person or department over another, it’s about equally important areas coming together, working together to move Tiber River forward. We vujà dé-ed the Accountability Chart to fit us.”

Create a disruption in the process. Make the familiar as unfamiliar as possible. When approaching a problem, begin by asking a question: “How can I vujà dé this?”

You can apply vujà dé thinking to your business, career, finances, and relationships. As you open yourself up to the possibilities, you purposely begin to notice things that you may not have seen before. 

By asking the question, “How can vujà dé this?,” you aren’t simply thinking about making it different, you are thinking about making it Brilliant.  

Hear from Adrianna herself:

Simon T Bailey