Do you remember “New Coke?” Coca-Cola launched their reformulation of their famous beverage in April of 1985. Their market share had been taking some hits from Pepsi and other competitors, dropping from 60% to 24%. So the company executives decided to tinker with their flagship product. It sounded like a good idea at the time.
Mike Kami is a strategic planning consultant. He met with the Coke folks prior to the introduction of their new formula. They told him they had conducted numerous taste tests and were convinced they had found a winner. They were wrong. Mike was brought back in when it became obvious that “New Coke” was received so poorly.
Mike was also hired by Bob Buford, founder of Leadership Network and author of the classic work Halftime – Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance. At the time Kami entered Buford’s life, Bob was asking himself some tough questions: What should I do? How could I be most useful? Where should I invest my own talents, time, and treasure? What are the values that give purpose to my life?
Mike asked him one more question: What’s in the box? As an avowed atheist, Mike Kami wasn’t coming from the same place as Bob Buford. But Buford was convinced that God used Mike Kami to awaken something in him. What’s in the box? What is the most important thing in your life? What receives your primary loyalty? Bob Buford decided that his answer had to be Jesus Christ. His answer changed his life.
When asked back by the Coke company, he posed the same question. They had originally thought “great taste” was in their box. They found out the hard way, the expensive way, the debacle way that it was something they had missed. He told them, “Let’s try again.” They came up with a different response: “American Tradition.”
Sometimes we can outsmart ourselves. Going back to the basics is not a bad approach for most of us. Maybe you don’t need to reinvent yourself. Maybe you just need to be the person God created you to be.