The great impressionist painter, Paul Cezanne, enjoyed painting Monte Sainte-Victoire, near to his home in Provence. In fact, he had a bit of a thing about it, and is known to have painted the mountain over 60 times.

Although the paintings are inherently of the same view, each is different. The colours, the textures and the light are never the same in any two of these paintings.

Cezanne looked at the mountain with fresh eyes each time he carried his easel, palette and paints to his favourite viewing spot. He wasn’t influenced by what he had seen before, but by what he could see on that particular day.

‘Fresh eyes’ is a phrase that keeps coming back to me as I work with various businesses on new growth projects. By far the biggest success my clients achieve is when we focus on looking at their markets objectively, dispassionately and unhindered with our historic prejudices.

Over the past 12 months, for example, some of the biggest growth projects have been driven through the identification of:

  • Under-served customer groups;
  • Adjacent markets and categories where the company doesn’t seriously participate;
  • Under-utilised and under-resourced assets and capabilities; and
  • Channels that the business has historically ignored.

None of these initiatives required huge creativity. They did, however, demand that the client and I looked at their markets and business anew, and that we were both willing to consider opportunities without bias.

‘Fresh eyes’ and a new perspective can do more than add new revenues; they can transform companies’ fortunes.

© Stuart Cross 2015. All rights reserved.