Greetings.  A few years ago the clever folks at Capital One created a lot of buzz with their "What's in your wallet?" ad campaign, suggesting that their credit cards were better than those offered by competing firms.  They even gave their customers the option to choose the features and benefits they preferred and incorporate their favorite picture.  Pretty cool stuff.  Well, as 2009 ends and many of you are getting organized for the year ahead, I'd like you to think about a variation of this idea.  I call it:

"What's in your in-box?"

It's actually a chance to create an "in-box" that will make you and your colleagues way more successful than your competition in 2010.  A chance to transform that "burden" on your desk into a powerful tool for fresh thinking and innovation.  And here's the reason.  Most people in your industry or line of work read the exact same stuff.  If you're in accounting, you read all the latest accounting publications in order to maintain your technical knowledge and practice development know-how. If you're in marketing and sales, you read all the latest magazines, websites, and blogs in order to master the hottest tools and techniques for getting the word out and closing deals.  And if you are a government contractor, you read all the right government publications and all the latest "rags" on doing business in the public sector.  Which gives you the exact same information as all of your competitors. "Not that there's anything wrong with that," to quote Jerry Seinfeld.  But it isn't good enough if you really want to think differently and in ways that could deliver far greater value to those you serve.  

So now is a perfect time to figure out what you should be reading in the coming months.  To begin to fill your in-box with ideas that will help you to unlock your own genius and innovate in ways that really matter.  And, in the process, to once again rediscover the magic of learning new things and stretching your thinking. After all, as kids our reading lists had very few self-imposed boundaries.    

In Box 

We win in business and in life by opening our minds and in-boxes to a world of possibilities.  What should you learn about in the year ahead that will make you smarter and more valuable to your customers?  And what if that problem you call your "in-box" was actually your secret weapon?

Cheers and happy reading!