post I wrote about how your body ‘thinks’ = Embodied Cognition.
I asked you a question. If you haven’t read it, read it quickly before continuing because the answer follows at the bottom of this post.
I have changed my writing schedule to bring you DAILY blog posts instead of a weekly posts and a monthly (more-or-less) newsletter. But sometimes you just come across stuff that can only be shared as ‘titbits’ in a newsletter, so I am introducing a ‘random stuff you need to know about’ post.
1. There is a place that kids can turn to get homework help. Mmmmh….
2. I juxtapose this with Seth Godin agitating for change in the school system – a noble dream and interesting read. (Although it has been around a while.)
3. Two interesting facts from some academic research:
Our results show that a higher degree of customers' convenience orientation in contrast to the degree of risk aversion and service orientation encourages the selection of the online channel over the offline channel.
The negativity of the service failure has the potential to escalate when consumers who are part of a traditionally stigmatized group believe the service failure to be a purposeful event brought on by physically observable differences in appearance
As always, YOUR JOB when being confronted with facts like these are to ask yourself: SO WHAT? And then respond to your own interpretation.
4. And fourthly, being entrepreneur, I was attracted to the title of this site: http://www.thestartupofyou.com/ - and since it was written by the founder of LinkedIn I thought it was interesting enough to check out.
5. This wonderful piece from Ian Martin on turning 60 – one for the Boomers.
6. Have you ever wondered what the world's first website, looked like? It is recreated on its original URL 20 years since it launched? Check it out.
The answer to yesterday’s question is:
People moving UP are more likely to donate because they are more ‘upstanding’ or ‘high-minded’ and will act accordingly.
GANADOR: Building businesses that can jump the curve with certainty.
Originally published on my private Tumblr because it is slightly off-topic. But on second thoughts I figure there is something about finding the opportunity in every crisis that is a valuable lesson in this post. Hope I am right.
Like most other countries Australia is struggling to balance the budget. One of the areas which are being slashed by the States is TAFE funding.
The Federal Government is trying to buy votes with a watered down implementation of the so-called Gonski report – which recommended additional billions of funding for schools. Their sleight of hand is to grab money from Universities to fund the schools.
But the one thing everyone agrees is that they would like to spend more money on education – if they could.
Given that (a) Australia spends a lot of money on Education (at least on par if not better than most developed countries) and given that (b) school education is free and given that (c) tertiary education is relatively accessible (free, pay when you start earning more than a threshold); I would argue we have reasonably good system.
Spending more money on education seems such a no-brainer that most people actually don’t think any further about it.
The problem we face is not lack of money.
In the very short term I believe the bureaucrats would be able to find at least 20% savings in expenditure somewhere to fund priorities elsewhere. Every bureaucratic system is inefficient; they just have to work at finding out where. That will do for the next 3- 5 years.
The real challenge and the real solution is to change the culture of educating our children in the homes better.
Parents are not doing a good job at educating a robust, healthy nation. Simply look at the figures for:
The pervasiveness of these trends proves we are not making smart lifestyle choices – which are all traced back to how we raise our families.
These are not indicative of poor government and certainly not indicative of poor schooling systems.
People need to develop a culture of autodidactism - because that is the only truly effective form of learning:
With today’s technology (and the abundance of free educational resources literally at our fingertips) the need/ function of traditional education is largely redundant. The kid who wants to learn, can. All they need is a computer and internet access.
Autodidactism underpins lifelong learning and is a requirement for productive life in any progressive society and economy.
If parents could instill sound values (discipline, self-directedness etc.) then the only role that schools would have to play are:
- to create an environment for group learning and socialisation in a peer environment
- to set standards or criteria for certification as an objective measure of a certain level of education
I think schools can fulfill that function with 20% of the current budgets. (Based on the Pareto Principle.)
The lack of money to fund the traditional model of education is a good thing and a smart government will use that to re-think how education is delivered.
The only flaw with this argument is that the parents are not taking responsibility for the education of their children.
The obvious target is the group who are probably at the RSL playing the pokies and having a beer instead of doing their job as the primary educator of their children.
But equally guilty are those who are snorting coke and conferencing at Hamilton Island or having after-work drinks at The Establishment. They paid good money to put the kid is in some grammar school at exorbitant fees in order to shift the responsibility onto the education system.
I believe teachers are doing a very difficult job. Admirably so. I could not teach most of the brats I encounter in the malls, so hats off to them.
But more of the same is not the answer and tipping more money down that endless pit won’t solve our problems and challenges to create a healthy, smart and productive society.
We don't need more money spent on education, we need to figure out how families can be made healthy again. And that will require us to innovate...
Not so long ago I wrote a post where a commenter took me to take on my understanding of neuroscience, implying that I did not really ‘get’ it. (Note the date: 18th March 2013.) And she said explicitly that my knowledge was based on a pop-science book by Cialdini. She could not be further from the truth, so after a bit of to and fro, I eventually let it ride.
Here are a few facts:
- I did indeed read Cialdini’s book – the 2001 edition (acquired c2007 – some six years before the current hype-cycle) is dog-eared on my desk as I write this. But preceding that Ganador had build a sales training product (Sell$mart) using the principles of Neuroscience. We had carefully distilled the research and created a framework that we could train (and test and monitor) on the sales floor.
- I subscribe to the original journals via my connections with University of Wollongong.
- I do have doctorate in the subject I think I am better qualified than most to assess the state of this discipline, but despite an apparent academic foundation, I am hugely sceptical of most research that is conducted – and am on record.
I think my commenter is blindly accepting the gospel of Neuroscience, but I am not overly impressed with the quality of the research being conducted in the field Neuroscience.
In many respects Neuroscience is only a small advance in the right direction away from Phrenology. In fact, Scientific American said ‘Neuroscience gets an F for reliability’. (Note the date: April 10th, 2013.)
Neuroscientists eager for tenure also use the press very cleverly and the under-resourced journos are guilty of perpetuating myths that become entrencehd in our received wisdom.
For instance, most people would believe most (if not all) of these.
- The “left-brain” is rational, the “right-brain” is creative
- Dopamine is a pleasure chemical
- Low serotonin causes depression
- Video games, TV violence, porn or any other social spectre of the moment “rewires the brain”
- We have no control over our brain but we can control our mind
NONE of those are true.
The point I want to make here is that qualifications and experience, no matter how ‘impressive’, are no guarantee of veracity or validity. Not even of my views.
I would like to challenge you to think about how you process advice - even what appears to be very sound advice.
The problem with the internet is of course that is indeed a shallow pool. There are different types of ‘advice’ served up via blogs, newspapers, books and consultants directly.
The challenge for the business owner is to distinguish between the types of advice, understand the source of the advice and the agenda of the advice-giver.
And the only one that can decide is YOU!
No one has the answer, we just have a better (or worse) answer and it is the personal responsibility of the reader to process the advice/ideas/conversation and to make sense of it.
That is; it is YOUR responsibility to process the information you are presented with. Reading things you may potentially learn form are only useful if you learn something – even if it is what NOT to do, or to keep doing something despite suggestions to the contrary.
We live in an age where data is abundant and information is free; but knowledge is (and always will be a scarce commodity because it requires thinking.
If you accept the responsibility to critically evaluate the information you are presented with and make your own decisions you will have real, sustainable competitive advantage.
Life is a 100m dash after all
Dear Dennis: I seem to do be working my butt off but all to no avail. I just don’t seem to be getting the promotion or rewards that my efforts seem to justify. I have a small business and it seems my growth has plateaued and I just can’t seem to kickstart it.
Forrest Gump was wrong: life is not like a box of chocolates. Life is like a 100 sprint. Let me explain.
If you are a professional sprinter, your success comes down to two distinct and separate aspects. Firstly, when you sprint, you gotta win the race. It lasts about 10 seconds, and one minor stumble can cost you dearly. Just getting off to an average start could easily see you finish last. Or worse, third.
This may seem unfair. Especially if you are training to qualify for the Olympics and one bad race sets you back four years. But that is how it is.
The other facet of success is the work that you do in between the dashes; your training, your discipline, your diet. Not going to the parties. You know - the grind. The grind that gets you to the race.
If you don’t do this part well, you will lose the race. But doing this part well doesn’t guarantee that you win the race. If you want success, you still have to win the race – and your opportunities are few and far between. You get judged on your performance in that sprint. And you get rewarded for your performance. Everything is based on the outcome. The moment of truth, so to speak. I call this the ‘grunt’ – when it is about putting everything on the line.
So, success comes down to the grind and the grunt. And you need to excel at both if you want to taste success. The whingers will bemoan their lack of opportunity. They moan about the fickleness of the judges who make split-second decisions and how they keep such little mistakes against you. But life is like that.
And sometimes you get the flashy performer who arrives at the race; all mouth and shiny tracksuit. They talk the talk. But when the gun goes, their lack of grind shows through. They might win a few easier races early in their career when the competition is light, but they don’t go the distance.
There are two possibilities to explain your lack of success:
Option 1: The business is weak because; at the grunt (‘the moment of truth’) it just doesn’t perform.
This is every touchpoint with the customer. Your hygiene factors, the quality of the service, fairness of the price, convenience and value for money.
Option 2: You lack success because you are not prepared to suffer through the grind.
How well you are managing your risk. Are you planning your strategy? Are you constantly looking out for innovative ideas? You are managing your cash flow.
So the question is this, if you were honest with yourself, is your lack of success because you don’t grunt when it counts, or because you don’t grind through it? Any examples of grunt and grind in your business?
Have you been to our website recently? We'd love to introduce ourselves...
I constantly contemplate the future of commerce.
Many futurists are charlatans and frauds, but strategy requires forward thinking, so we dabble in the future by necessity.
I have made some bold predictions in the past:
- Six years ago I published this list of 8 items – picking winners in the very long term. So far, I am happy to stick by 8 from 8 on that list.
- Five years ago (Mar 2007) I published this list of 18 items from a presentation that I gave. Upon review I give myself 18 out 18.
- Almost 3 years ago I predicted the failure of Apple. Whilst the jury is still out – I did say 5 years – the share price graph favours me.
What follows is not so much bold predictions, but stating the bleeding obvious – but please read on:
- Pending Doom: I have been predicting since 2007 the inevitability of a major internet. It is only a matter of time. Governments are not talking about it much and few people who are in the know talk about. This is not conspiracy theory stuff, but simple logic: as societies become increasingly reliant on the internet backbone, it will be become an increasingly attractive target for disruption – for whatever cause.
- Middlemen go poof! Just like there is computerised share trading (based on algorithms that will scare the pants off you) there will eventually be eCommerce sites that are created and optimised by algorithms – and fully maintained – including social media profiles and ‘authentic’ interactions with the community. This will become an easy option for any/all suppliers or manufacturers to bypass the entire retail network (including traditional and 3rd party online retailers) and to reach out to the consumer directly – at a lower cost than ever before. (Why would you accept drop ship orders if you can create hundreds of sites in different languages for your own products by buying a piece of software?)
- On a short chain: The suppliers/manufacturers might not enjoy their newfound powers for long because it seems that a new force will disintermediate the only remaining member of the retail supply chain. The development of 3D printing is something I had never foreseen – but it is happening and it may be possible that the entire supply chain will exist only in buying the raw materials to ‘print’ – since presumably the 3D printer itself will eventually be printed?
- Zeros and ones everywhere: Just as physical goods become entirely disintermediated, services will increasingly also be offered via the internet. Holograms, VR and such technologies only point to the beginning of what is possible in that space. I can imagine a future where a digital hairdresser virtualises in your bedroom and based on a 3D view of your head executes the perfect haircut. She might even chat to you – who knows? When you press ‘enter’ she disappears again. (Or is Ctrl F9 shuts her up.)
A few tangential points in summary:
- The economic system is unstable, in transition and vulnerable.
- The supply and purchase of goods and services is influenced by the balance of power in the retail supply chain.
- Technology is empowering the consumer, and this means no organisation will have the power (for long) to dictate an outcome. As powerful as Amazon is right now, it only takes a small tweak in technology to connect the writer directly with the reader and Amazon is history…
- Social media is teaching brands that they have diminishing power and that they in fact don’t really own the brand. (They never did, it was always what the customer thought the brand was anyway – but it is now becoming evident.)
- Winners won’t be easy to pick and their success may be fleeting as it depends on the fickle goodwill of the consumer. (It always has, but consumers now have direct, swift and powerful recourse because they can activate the Social Mob.)
The key point I want to make is this:
Everything is changing – but few are designing their business for success.
Everyone already knows the points I have made above, but seem to prefer not to think about it and certainly seem to be hoping the status quo lasts long enough to sell the business or build up a large enough super before the s&*t hits the fan, right?
Right now, in almost every business I come across (and I know this is a biased sample) I observe:
- Systems are redundant
- Technologies are obsolete
- Training is ineffective and old-school
- Strategies are superseded by reality
- Pursuing market knowledge via traditional research, which is redundant
- The traditional channels of communication are fracturing
So, how do you design your business for success?
Most executives think (and advisors will tell you) the rules are changing which makes it a different game. You simply have to re-learn the new rules. (I use that metaphor myself because people are familiar with it, but it is not really helpful.)
The new game is an ever-changing game. It’s not as if it used be Aussie Rules that evolved into Rugby League. It is more like while you are playing cricket it becomes croquet and you are competing against a pole vaulter and it is all happening in a pool.
It is not about learning new rules; it is about learning how to relearn constantly and responding to it.
Even though Facebook is an inappropriate marketing tactic for many businesses, I have helped some clients go down that path. NOT because Facebook is important – on the contrary – but the process of learning about the new platform and developing a strategy around it is important.
Establish a project team to write/re-write your job descriptions. The process of doing so will force you to rethink who is doing what and why. For larger organisations this is actually imperative, not because job descriptions are important, but because the process of designing the jobs forces you to consider and evaluate the roles and requirements in the context of the changing landscape. If you are too busy dealing with the present, ask someone to help.
The key to success is to build a business that is capable of systematically responding to changes.
GANADOR: Architects of high-performance retail environments.
You can now buy ideas – GET IT HERE.
PS: This started out as a blog post and over the Easter weekend it became a 38pp treatise. And I am not done yet. It will probably become an eBook at some stage. Subscribe to get fair notice if you are interested in this sort of thing and I will let you know when I am done with the pretty version with links and videos and images and loads of practical examples.
Don't watch this by yourself - it is too scary.
This is a must watch talk by Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world.
I normally do a funny Friday - but this is NOT funny... sorry to ruin your weekend.
YOU SPEND IT ON TRAINING.
Would I succeed if I tried to motivate you?
Of course not!
And here is the kicker:
If I tried to train you will you learn?
Of course not!
Spending money on training is a sure-fire way to win votes. And it is true that when you evaluate and analyse the reason why people can’t do something is because they don’t know how.
If almost all the training you could possibly want is out there and it is free, then 'training' is no more a solution than oxygen is the solution to a happy life: you need it to live, but it won't make one life happier than another.
Most people think it stands to reason that we should spend more money on training. Right?
Very little learning actually happens in a training interaction. Only about 10% in fact.
Think back to your own school days:
How many days did you arrive home thinking you learned a lot that day? Think of how many hours you doodled or gazed through the window while the teacher was talking and chalking?
When kids ask: ‘where am I ever going to use this?’ they are dismissed as not ‘understanding the importance of an education’ but we are dismissing their intuitive grasp of what it means to be fed redundant knowledge.
who complete TAFE qualifications increase their lifetime
by nearly $325,000. The question is what does it cost the state – and is it worth
it? Presumably society will get a third back in taxes over a 40-year period. It
costs about $14 p/h per student in the TAFE system. In my estimates that mean
we will spend $45K to train one person and get a $100K return over 40 years.
About 5% p.a. Not great if you ask me. And comparing the TAFE cohort to the
non-TAFE cohort is fraught with selection bias. Arguably the person who is
ambitious enough and disciplined enough to go to TAFE would have earned more
than the non-student anyway
Think about your experience with corporate training:
How much time in a 7-hr workshop do you spend learning? How did you get decide whether that workshop was exactly right for you? After attending it, how many notes did you take and how much do you remember afterwards and how much of it actually results in changed behaviour?
You’d be lucky to get an hour’s worth of learning. The rest is listening to other people show off or ask stupid questions. A good chunk is spent ‘getting to know each other’ in order to create an environment that is ‘safe’ for learning.
People attend training programs and seminars and then go back to the office and ask Nellie how to do something anyway.
Training that happens in classrooms play a role in fostering a certain culture and encouraging bonding. But so does any meeting of a group of people who engage for any the purpose.
In learning and development circles there are a few brave souls who are now advocating informal learning or social learning. Simply put, this is learning by doing – outside the structure of a class room. The general rule of thumb is that this accounts for 70% of all learning. Another 20% of knowledge/skills are acquired by coaching/mentoring (sitting-next-to-Nellie) and only 10% of learning happens in a formal environment.
This paper by Deakin University does a good job of bringing all the thoughts about informal learning together.
In practice this means that of the roughly 2400 days spent at school, you only experienced 240 days of actual learning. Arguably the other ‘skills’ you acquired at school (socialisation, self-esteem etc) and the connections/friends that you made has some value, but could equally also be acquired in a different setting.
Australian workplaces spend about half the amount on training compared to the US (1.5% vs 3%). This means that Australians are smarter than Americans (they know not to waste their money) or that the Government takes too large a role in provision of training. The Government spends about 8% of its budget on training and education (not counting economic participation expenditures).
Would you like to live in ANY of the Top 5 countries in terms of education spend as percentage of GDP? How would you like to live in:
(This is not a % of Budget but % of GDP. If you study the list you will see there is NO correlation between economic status and eagerness to blow money on education.)
The bottom line: Training (the way it is most often done) is NOT the panacea people think it is.
I see learning like I see motivation.
Motivation is intrinsic and the best you can do as a manager/leader/coach is to create an environment that is conducive to achievement. You cannot motivate anyone.
In the same way you cannot train someone; but people can learn. Your job as manager/leader/coach is to create an environment that is conducive to learning.
The training industry is being challenged by flipped classrooms and (free) MOOCs. And so it should. This is an environment that is geared for the true learners (autodidacts) and they are the ones shaping our future.
Classrooms are hotbeds of mediocrity as teachers serve the lowest common denominators.
The stuff you need to learn is out there, and you don’t need a teacher if you are really motivated.
Many people hold Zuckerberg/Gates up as examples of not needing a college/university education. That is ridiculous. For every dropout who has been successful there are hundreds of graduates who are successful. Warren Buffet for one. The percentage of successful dropouts is most likely much lower than the percentage of successful graduates.
University may provide the context for learning - or not. It depends on the individual’s commitment to learning. Wozniak (Apple co-founder) describes his experience like this:
One accident that happened to me was that I taught myself, with no books, how to design computers in high school. I loved doing it and designed computers all the time, from descriptions of them in manuals by the companies that made them. I designed the same computers over and over and made a game out of trying to use fewer and fewer parts, coming up with tricks to accomplish my task that could never be in a book. They were ’tricks‘ in my own head. I felt that some of these tricks would be used by probably no other computer designer in the world. In my game world, on paper, where I could never afford to build my designs, I felt I was one of the best in the world.
The best things I did in my young years leading up to the early Apple computers were done because I had little money and had to think deeply to achieve the impossible. Also, I had never done those technologies or studied them. I had to write the book myself. Being self-taught, figuring out how to design computers with pencil and paper, made me skilled at finding solutions that I had not been taught.
Read this article on how Richard Branson thinks training will happen, and you will not there is no reference to classrooms.
Training should be a trigger for learning and is the starting point for change and growth in a high-performance retail environment.
People, who want to learn, will - whether the training is offered or not.
Success is 0% training and 100% learning. That should be our aim. If you treat ‘more training’ as the whole solution, you are guaranteed to fail. Save your money or do it right.
Mark Twain is quoted as follows:
They Didn’t Know It Was Impossible, So They Did It’
Too much training is about conforming to what is known and the world does not need more of that right now. Too much training is offered as the solution when people don’t know what else to do.
NOTE: Compliance training required by Law may be equally stupid exercise in CYA, but that is an unavoidable fact of corporate life
You can't preach innovation if you don't live it, right?Here are two new initiatives facilitated by Ganador.
There are two spots left to the first ever retail hackathon in Sydney, March 26 2013.
Grab your spot HERE - and be quick.
We have created a Google+ Community <Jump the Curve>. It is the online equivalent of our famous Jump the Curve workshop for entrepreneurs.
It is for entrepreneurs (retailers and suppliers) who want to transform their business.
Of course we have a Facebook page, but that is mostly fun because it is open to all.
The JtC community will be private and it is a space where we can ask questions, share insights, diagnose problems and make contributions.
We will facilitate discussion, curate some great content and help tackle the questions that are put to the community.
I am stealing this discussion from AC Grayling, renowned
modern philosopher to make my point.
Science demands that every statement must be TRUE or FALSE. (E.g. that is how a computer works, that is how philosophy works and that is how all research works – disproving the null hypothesis.
But if you make this statement when there is no king of France, will it be true or false?
The present king of France is bald
You cannot disprove that statement because it has not been reduced to its core underlying assertions. In this case it would be:
- There is such a thing as the king of France
- There is only one such thing
- That thing is bald
This could be become a really long dissertation, but I shall assign that as homework to you J
The fun version of this is to get someone to answer this question?
Do you still beat up your wife?
To answer the question without implicating yourself as a current or former wife molester, you need to break that down to the underlying bare bones of logical assertions. So this is not an academic exercise – you may need it to save your reputation...
Have fun :)
- GANADOR: Architects of high-performance retail environments.
- Get RetailSmart: Daily, Weekly or Monthly Options – CHOOSE HERE.
NOTE: Grayling referred to Bertrand Russell's Theory of Descriptions to illustrate his original point.
… success is that there isn’t one. Unlike a magician I did not sign up for a code of silence. Many authors/gurus would want you to believe differently so that they can take your money.
There as many ways to success as there are people.
Find your own way. The only thing that they all have in common is that people walking their way – i.e. doing something …
Taking ACTION is not a secret – it is just hard. And we hide behind the excuses that we don’t know what to do or how to do it and we postpone taking action.
There is no one way.
There are no secrets.
There is only one choice:
Action or Excuses.
And your choice is?
Some interesting stats to chew on from an industry research project by Miller Zell cited here.
In the 2.3 seconds that most people spend on in-store brand decisions
Just over 90% of shoppers make unplanned purchases and shopping list use is up substantially (65%).
Gen Y shoppers are also more likely to make impulse purchases at "end caps."
- About 70% say they responded to end-of-aisle signage.
- 62% to merchandising displays,
- 58% to department signage, and
- 55% to shelf strips.
Sale prices motivated more shoppers (70%) than "everyday low price" positioning (47%.)
About 93% of Baby Boomers say they prefer product messages rather than price-point messages while shopping.