One of the interesting hooks of the reality talent-themed television series The Voice is that initial decisions shaping the vocal competition are based on judges only being able to hear contestants.  Appearance, body language, everything visual is removed from the equation.

The unspoken here is that the notion of what a singer should look like impacts what we hear.

If you doubt this, take a quick look at the top entertainers in almost any venue.  There is a common look.

Our comfort level with what we know — look, sound, style and ideas — means we rarely listen to a different voice.  I think I have (relatively speaking) fairly broad tastes; yet, when it comes to what I read, listen to and think about, I stay pretty close to my comfort zone.

We are (understandably) drawn to what resonates, and rarely venture too far with anything initially dissonant.

This extends far beyond entertainment.  Professionally, if you’re like me, you tend to read and listen to the same few.

Check the seminars or webinars you’ve targeted for participation.  You’ll likely see the same handful of “experts” on program after program.  (Organizers demonstrate remarkable resistance to a new voice.)

Big-time sports endeavors are one of the clearest examples.  When stakes are high, decision-makers go with a known commodity.  And the coaching merry-go-round serves to relocate one “expert” after another.

There are, of course, a number of solid reasons for a conservative approach.  When it comes to a discussion of marketing and business development, the best reason is because what you’ve been doing is generating results and growth with which you are pleased.

But if you expect more it is worth noting that the same ideas and strategies can be expected, in most cases, to deliver the same results.

If the quest is for better results in business development, It might be time to explore something more than a repackaged version of marginally effective strategies and tactics.

It might just pay to venture into new territory. There are no guarantees, of course.  But even old-school NBA coaches know that once in a while it is smart to change the game.