The problem with good advice is...

I served my national service in South Africa. All up spent 4 years of my life in uniform. By and large those years were wasted (another story) but I have always tried to seek out those secondary benefits, and one of them has stood me in good stead.

When you train to go into battle and you are being ‘delivered’ to the site in the back of a troop carrier, you have to dismount while the vehicle is moving.

The vehicle drives in a large circle and every ten meters or so. A soldier has to dismount and take cover while the vehicle continues. The speed is probably about 20km per hour, and as you can imagine there is a lot of noise and dust and yelling of instructions. When it is your turn, you have leave your seat (really just a wooden bench) proceed down the bed of the truck and approach the tail gate at a fresh clip … and jump.

Sounds simple. And it is. If you follow one piece of advice.

The problem with a lot of good advice is that it is counter-intuitive. (Because if it was obvious, it wouldn't have been required.)

And almost without fail, on the first round, every one of us landed on our butts/backs. Your rifle gets dirty, you are not in a position to assume your position, so you can imagine that it made the sergeant very unhappy.

The advice was that when you jumped, you had to throw your weight forward. Specifically, since you were carrying a 40KG back pack, you had to use that weight to create as much momentum as possible, and fling your weight forward so that feels you are going to do a face plant. The speed of the vehicle and momentum/inertia and gravity would ensure you landed on your feet.

Despite being told what to expect and what to do, we all learned the hard way.

Two lessons I learned from that experience:

  1. If the momentum is going one way and you want to go the other way, AND you want to land on your feet, throw yourself into with all your might. Despite your fears and the apparent stupidity.
  2. If someone gives you advice based on deep experience, especially if it is counter-intuitive, it pays to listen.

(And I wonder if companies would fare better if they had a platoon sergeant to straighten out the smart-arses?)

Two of the most dangerous words in business

Complete the quiz below to test your familiarity with players in the retail market:

  • Sportsgirl is just like…
  • Bunnings is just like…
  • Zara is just like…

(Don’t skip this, because you will need your answer at the end of the post.)

The answers are… whatever you want, I won’t be able to convince you otherwise, and this post is about why I can’t.

Human being are innate pattern seekers. Our brains are wired to explain all the things we experience as quickly as possible because that best ensures our survival.

Is that brown shape in the grass a snake or stick?

The fastest way to do this is to map it to something we already know. Make one connection between the new experience and an existing, and your brain can file it away. As soon as you can say something is ‘just like’ that new thing is not new or dangerous anymore.

In the process we create stereotypes.

Some good: long, thin with uneven angles, not moving = stick.

Some bad: People who wear turbans/hijabs are evil.

Stereotypes save us a lot of time and mental energy and getting things wrong occasionally is a small price to pay for all the other times we got it right. Psychologists term this tendency to for people to favour information that confirms their preconceptions a  ‘confirmation bias’.

It works for us most of the time. Except when it doesn’t.

If that long, thin brown shape turns out to be a snake, the price is death and it is irrelevant that the previous thousand times you walked on that pat it was only a stick.

The effect of confirmation bias is to erase the new experience and to assimilate it into what we know, which creates a virtuous loop of self-fulfilling confirmations.

Eventually we only perceive that which confirms our preconceptions.

This in turn keeps drawing us to people, things and ideas which are already familiar with: we read the newspapers which share our views, the watch the movies we like, we mingle with people who are like us.

And even when it doesn’t quite fit, we ignore the bits that don’t and simply complete the picture we want to see. In the figure below you will see a square that does not exist, because you fill in the blanks to see what you want to see.

We do the same with ideas, experiences and interpretations of other people.

I am sure you have been on a holiday somewhere (Bali, France) and thought hat landscape looked ‘just like’ – Adelaide or wherever. And soon after you are thinking the bread tastes just like that deli back home and the coffee reminds you of that time you visited Melbourne… and you start wondering why you paid all that money.

The objective truth is that no two things/ experiences can be alike. When we say something is just like – we diminish the new experience and destroy what is unique for the sake of remaining in a comfort zone.

This is especially sad when we diminish people who are not like us to something that they are not, but suits our prejudice.

In the business world, we are prone to make this mistake too. Even if confirmation bias is potentially ‘fatal’ we continue to do it because that is just how we are wired.

Is there is a way to minimise the effects of confirmation bias in the workplace?

It takes a bit of work and re-training the brain, but there is. Whilst I can’t (and no one can) you can change how you process things, so consider the logic below:

When we match patterns, we match to things we know.

The easiest match is with the things we know best.

What do we know best?

Ourselves. Our environment. The familiar. Otherwise known as our comfort zone.

So the solution is simply to start training yourself to:

  • Do things outside your comfort zone.
  • Be conscious about seeking out differences rather than similarities.
  • Consciously take a different route.
  • Make an effort to catch yourself saying it is ‘just like’ and correct yourself.

Can you remember which retailer you said is ‘just like Sportsgirl’?

Now make an effort to now consider how those two are different. And there has to be at least one major (point of) difference, otherwise one of them won’t survive.

Then make that kind of thinking a habit.

That is how you discover new things, that is how you innovate and that is how you see opportunities; by focussing on differences and gaps, not on similarities.

I can speak from experience because I am a contrarian and I am acutely aware of the need for likability which precedes any relationship because I don’t always succeed in getting people to see past the contrariness. But what I miss out in warn and fuzzy relationships, I make up in edgy new experiences; and most of the time I consider that to be a fair trade.

Dennis

Ganador: Solutions for Learning in the Retail Supply Chain

 

 

 

 

More discrimination please

One of the most important skills we can have – is the ability to ask questions. This ability underpins our ability to discriminate.

Discrimination has been given a bad rap: we are told not to discriminate based on age, sex, race, sexual orientation and so on. But in the process, all discrimination is tainted.

If you can’t discriminate between poisonous and non-poisonous plants, or dangerous or safe animals, you won’t survive long. If you can’t discriminate between good and bad, new and old, valuable and non-valuable you will miss all opportunities and fall victim to perfectly foreseeable disasters. (You get the idea of the picture above?)

The ability to discriminate is important – crucial even – and yet we are expected to acquire this skill by osmosis.

From a business perspective we commonly rely on questioning to discriminate. I wrote previously about the million dollar question, but this post is more about the nature of questioning and the purpose of questioning.

Steve Jobs is famous for saying (effectively) that Apple does not do research because customers don’t know what they want:

It's not about pop culture, and it's not about fooling people, and it's not about convincing people that they want something they don't. We figure out what we want. And I think we're pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That's what we get paid to do. So you can't go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] There's a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, 'If I'd have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’

Jobs knew that it is almost impossible to ask the customer the type of (right) question that will give you a valid answer when it comes to researching new products that don’t exist.

My doctoral thesis changed because a professor asked me a question I could not answer. I can’t remember what my first proposal was, but I can remember his response because I learned something powerful that day, when he asked me:

SO WHAT?

Dave Trott is a Creative Director of a London Agency. He writes an interesting blog – here is an example - and his book is titled Predatory Thinking. What predatory thinking boils down to in my mind is simply the ability to ask questions that other people don’t.

Some example of good and poor questions:

POOR: Is Facebook a good platform to advertise on?

GOOD: Why are people using Facebook?

POOR: Should I build a website or an app for that new service?

GOOD: How do customers want to engage with my business?

I won’t keep going, but you can see readily that poor questions are the ones that have binary/ closed answers. Good questions on the other hand reveal something essential about the topic.

These are legitimate answers:

·        Facebook is a good platform to advertise on.

·        We want faster horses.

·        We want faster modems.

The follow up question is: SO WHAT?

What are you going to do with that answer? How is it useful?

Simply knowing there is a lot of people on Facebook does not mean anything. Unless you can answer the question that follows: so what?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently I failed with a project. Want to know why?

Recently I failed with a project. Want to know why?

The strongest and most destructive force in business is resistance to change.

We know about it and we trot it out when things go against our plans, but we don’t usually recognise it when we are the resiting force. Then we think we are sensible.

It is hard to judge what change is necessary and what not. It is easy to judge what change is inevitable but it is hard respond to it.

The obvious an inevitable change become apparent because everybody is trying to deal with it and we talk about it which brings it to the surface.

The most dangerous types of change are the insidious ones. The sneak up on us and we only discover in hindsight that it has happened. Almost every man alive realises they are 20kg heavier when they are forty than when they were twenty. And the rare few succeed in turning back the clock.

The ones who avoid that inevitable, insidious change do so not because they are smarter, but usually for other reasons that had the unintended consequence of saving them from the fate of that insidious change. To continue the previous analogy, the man not overweight at 40 is either blessed with lucky genes, or for instance chose a job that required them to be vain enough to be obsess about their weight (for example) and thus avoid the curse.

We point the finger at others who are resistant, but a moment of honest reflection is all that is required to realise that ALL of us resist change when we perceive it to be dangerous or uncomfortable. And we all fail to spot creeping change that is the real killer.


Today is my birthday, so only appropriate that this is the topic of the day - even if I scheduled this post at the end of September. Happy Birthday Me. 

The promise of a pattern that lures us


People are innate pattern seekers. When we look for the secret of success we look for a path that someone else has followed. We hang on to the words of the gurus who promise a recipe.

People love to learn lesson by analogy. Lessons about leadership learned from sailing the ocean. Lessons in courage from climbing a mountain. Lessons in strategy from being a football coach. Lessons in innovation from how a squirrel or lessons in brand management from Lady Gaga.

Have you ever stopped to think: where did the pit bull or the coach or the mountaineer or Lady Gaga learn it? Who did they pattern their decisions and behaviours on?

The world IS full of patterns. Cycles everywhere. Pyramids abound. The best way to explain most things can be found in a matrix. Every mathematical formula is a pattern and even kindergarten kids have heard of algorithms.

But in a complex world filled with complex human beings operating in a dynamic, shifting landscape, we will only ever find partial patterns. It is a grave risk to extrapolate anything on a linear basis.

That Turkey being raised in the backyard will think it is living a great life for every day someone pops in and feeds it to its heart’s content. Daily, without fail, for weeks and months on end. Until, on Thanksgiving, their carer does not come with a bowl of food, but an axe. And it ALWAYS happens.

Patterns and secrets and recipes are only ever partial insights. No one know everything and nothing is ever known completely.

We don’t have to be paralysed into non-action, but instead we should always ensure we have a built in capacity to change and adapt. There is that one day a year where the Turkey would wish its wings are not merely ornamental and that they could fly. But then it is too late.


The idea of the ENSO circle or incomplete circle is that it is painted in one stroke. This icon is meant to resemble enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and the void or the space that connects everything. The concept is very difficult to describe because it is not really meant to be explained, it is meant to be felt, the moment of creativity is shown by painting the circle with brush, you may only take one stroke to create the icon and cannot alter it after this one stroke. The single stroke emphasizes this creative moment of imperfect perfection.

Two forces of nature influencing your decisions

Eventually orthodoxy gets criticised.

It is harder to play an unorthodox bowler. It is harder to argue with someone coming from an unorthodox position

Eventually orthodoxy is claimed to have fallen into disrepute, is accused of being stale or irrelevant.

And sometimes some of that is true.

But often it is simply the swing of the pendulum that is forcing you to think the other way is better. The grass is greener and all that.

People who fall victim to the swing of the pendulum are victims of a force of nature (momentum) just as much as people who hang on to orthodoxy are victim of a force of nature – inertia.

The lure of unorthodoxy is its shiny new-ness; because human beings are intrepid explorers and we all suffer to some extent from neophilia. And in the new-ness you will find innovation and improvement.

But in tradition and orthodoxy, you find stability and efficiency and comfort. It is also where you have proven results.

Consultants are by definition geared to suggest change and improvement because that is what feeds their families and without realising it, that perspective will always bias their thinking and their advice. How often does a consultant tell you to keep doing what you are doing?

This is an extract from our occasional/fortnightly newsletter... why don't you get your free copy from our website?

Am I just full of it, or is this important?

Maybe I am just full of it... but I wrote this in 2010 - and saw it again recently. I think it deserves another run... even if I say so myself:


The Pocket Principle

Some things just happen.

Pockets for instance. Let’s take the kind I am most familiar with: men’s pants pockets.

Are your pockets too short?

If you do stick your hand in your pocket, chances are that you will find that it is just right. Not too shallow, not too deep. Not too tight – just right.

Who decided what pockets should look like? Who dictated where they should go? Who decides the depth, the angle, the size?

A designer did of course, but what set if rules did they follow? Who dictated that they should be just so?

No one. Everyone.

Just the momentum really. A bit of logic, maybe – they should be where your hands can reasch them. But we don’t give it too much thought, and even designers probably don’t think too much about where the suit’s pockets go. They go where they always have. In the same size. The same depth.

The collective wisdom of the ages.

You don’t notice or think about your pockets.

Until they are wrong.

If you suddenly can’t reach the coins in the bottom, or they are too shallow and everything falls out, or too small. Then you notice.

And in a retail store there are many pockets.

Little pockets of customer interaction that you never notice. Like where your counter is located, forcing the queuing customers and the entering customers to cross over. Merchandise that is too high, or too heavy. Things that are not priced.

How did that happen? Is that just the way it always has been? Are you really aware of your pockets or, if you are honest, do you not really notice them?

When a customer has to ask you where something is in the store; that is a pocket of failure. You can call the customer stupid or lazy or blind, or you can put your hand in your pocket and figure out if the customer experience really can’t be better.

Great brand experiences don’t happen by accident, they happen by design. How much time did you spend designing the customer experience?

Unlike pockets, customer experiences can be ‘wrong’ and you may never notice. Unless you consciously go about designing the right customer experience.

Because, believe me, the customer notices.

Invisible Retailing

 

When people buy a product or a service, they do not only pay with money, they pay with many ‘invisible dollars’:

·        They invest their very precious time

·        They risk their reputation

·        The opportunity cost of not pursuing a different product/outcome

Forgetting these invisible payments can cost us dearly.

Similarly, the retailer pays with those same invisible dollars (i.e. indirect costs) for the products.

·        We don’t factor the opportunity cost of the working capital,

·        We don’t price risk of obsolescence and damage into our cost of sales.

Forgetting these ‘invisible costs’ can cost us dearly

 

People don't really want to learn - instead they want this

I have been blogging 8 years. You'd think I know what is popular and what will get people clicking and talking. And you'd be right in a small way, because I know a little, and this is what I know:

My most popular post of all time is THIS one. The amount of original writing is limited. The insights are arbitrary and, dare I say it, relatively shallow and somewhat cliched. But it has a killer headline that seduces people to click.

My next best post (on LinkedIn) is THIS one. It has a quarter of the views, but 10 X the number of thumbs up! It is certainly a much better post than the previous one, but it is not particularly deep - and if you read it you will immediately grasp the obvious lesson/message it contains.

THIS post is much better than any of the above. It is actually useful and contains a powerful, foundational insight that can be translated (and used) into any business challenge. It has below average views, and 2 likes.

Add to the above the following observation:
Watch and observe the follow of 'updates' on social media platforms. Whether it is Twitter or LinkedIn or whatever, the most popular posts are:

  • An image - with a (unoriginal) quote
  • A recipe that promises a quick solution in X number of steps
  • A wild promise to make someone better at (leadership, personal branding, productivity - fill in the blank)
  • A shortcut to achieving some type of superficial success (be more popular, get more followers, etc)

From what I have learned about people's online behaviours, I can say this quite unequivocally:

  1. People don't really want to learn, they want a shortcut.
  2. People don't want to think, they want to be reminded of what they know.
  3. People don't' want to work at figuring something out, wrestle with an application - but want it given to them.
  4. People don't actually grow their own purpose through self-reflection, they want to follow the crowd.
  5. People invariably mistake the obvious for the truth.
  6. Almost everybody reading this will think the above don't apply to them.

OUR GRAND ERROR OF JUDGMENT:
Words of Wisdom are seen as wise if everyone else previously agreed that those words are wise. Business advice is taken from people who are perceived to have been successful.

The TRUTH is that words of advice may be true or untrue irrespective of the past record of the person speaking them. The truth is the truth, no matter where it comes from. Someone who has spoken a past truth does not necessarily have a monopoly on the truth; it can come from anywhere - even from a child.

Taking advice from someone who has succeeded in business (or anything) is actually rationally not the smartest thing that you can do. They may have tried once or twice and succeeded wildly and admirably. Good for them. But that means they have not gone to school on that particular challenge.

Here is the thing though:

  • Because they have succeeded at one thing does not mean they will succeed again.
  • Because they have succeeded in their way, does not mean it is relevant to your situation.
  • Because they have succeed, does not mean they understand why they succeeded because they may actually not have the self-awareness or the understanding of the true factors of success.
  • Because they succeeded, they don't know what causes failures.

If ANYONE had the real secret or recipe, we would have no more failures. Polio may have been eradicated, but failure hasn't; because there is no antidote to failure.
 

This post is an extract from our previous newsletter. Explore the archives and see if you would like to get it in future direct to your inbox.

How good are you at your Underground Job?

THE THREE JOBS WE DO

Image: gradrecruit.com.au

Image: gradrecruit.com.au

Your jobs does not comprise of one job, but three distinct ones. Your success or failure at your job is determined by the extent to which you understand the difference and the skill you have to do ONE of those jobs better than anyone else.

Job #1: THE OSTENSIBLE JOB

(This is the job we get paid to do)

This is what they tell you in the interview. This is the job you get HIRED for.

We arrive at work. We answer emails. Attend meetings. Sell stuff. Write reports. We draw, we make, we carry, and we inspect – all those TASKS that we will ostensibly be evaluated on when it comes to bonus time.

But if you listen carefully during your performance appraisal, you will find that rarely will your skills to do those tasks be questioned. (Occasionally, particularly in jobs that have clear, unequivocal outcomes – like sales jobs, or programming jobs – or relatively menial tasks - like manual labour - will there be some discussion around that, but that is the exception rather than the rule.)

Your skills at these jobs are rarely questioned or questionable as you most likely have the basic skills set in order to be offered the job.

Job #2: THE SHADOW JOB

(This is the job we don’t get paid to do)

These tasks are not in your job-description, but everyone does some of these at some point. The Job # 2 is the shadow job.

All those tasks that you have to do as part of Job #1, have a shadow job:

Helping a colleague solve a problem. Organising the Christmas party. Cleaning up in the kitchen. Baby-sitting a new employee.

It is about arriving early and staying late. Going the extra mile.

We all willing contribute on those extra jobs in category #2. We think it will make us stand out. We hope others will notice that we are team players. Organisations rely on this large pool of unpaid labour – corporate volunteerism that is driven people’s insecurities and needs to fit in. I would hazard a guess that if people didn’t participate in the Job #2s, few organisations would turn a profit. (Incidentally, labour unions thrive on isolating those extra bits and attempt to extract payment for it which is why corporations don’t like unions.

Job #3: THE UNDERGROUND JOB

(This is the job that gets you paid.)

This is the most important job of all. If you don’t succeed at this job, you won’t be employed for very long and your success will be limited. This is the job you get FIRED for.

There is the good stuff:

Being nice. Being liked. Smiling when you don’t want to. Dressing appropriately. Keeping up appearance. Swallowing a sarcastic comment.

And there is the bad stuff:

Undermining someone. A gentle backstab here, an assassin’s smile there. Adding a bit to the gossip and tapping into the grapevine.

We all SAY we love doing job #1. We ALL say that Job #1 is what really matters. We sign up for Job #1 and we think that is the job that really matters. But it doesn’t.

Career advisors try to match your skills and interests with the tasks of Job #1. This is a futile exercise, because ultimately, every job becomes a sales job as you must learn to sell yourself.

Go on leave for a month, and somehow things still get done. It just shifts around as Job #2 for others to take care of. NO matter how indispensable we think we are, the jobs always get done.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

You design your resume to show of your skills and experience in Job #1 – The Ostensible Job.

You interview to show off your ability and willingness to do Job #2 – The Shadow Job.

You keep your job by delivering sufficiently on Jobs #1 and #2.

You succeed or fail by your ability to do the Underground Jobs - that is Job # 3, and the hardest of all.

There you go, the secret is out.

8 scientific insights about Life that are well worth learning

Here is a summary of eight insight that are - AT FIRST - surprising, but once you start thinking about it, it becomes obvious why it is so.

  1. Optimistic people are much less likely to die of heart attacks than pessimists, controlling for all known physical risk factors (Giltay et al., 2004).
  2. Women who display genuine (Duchenne) smiles to the photographer at age eighteen go on to have fewer divorces and more marital satisfaction than those who display fake smiles (Keltner et al., 1999).
  3. Positive emotion reduces at least some racial biases. For example, although people generally are better at recognising faces of their own race than faces of other races, putting people in a joyful mood reduces this discrepancy by improving memory for faces of people from other races (Johnson & Fredrickson, 2005).
  4. Externalities (e.g., weather, money, health, marriage, religion) added together account for no more than 15% of the variance in life satisfaction (Diener et al.,1999)
  5. Economically flourishing corporate teams have a ratio of at least 2.9:1 of positive statements to negative statements in business meetings, whereas stagnating teamshave a much lower ratio; flourishing marriages, however, require a ratio of at least 5:1 (Gottman & Levenson, 1999; Fredrickson & Losada, 2005).
  6. Self-discipline is twice as good a predictor of high school grades as IQ (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005).
  7. Happy teenagers go on to earn very substantially more income 15 years later than less happy teenagers, equating for income, grades and other obvious factors (Diener et al., 2002).
  8. How people celebrate good events that happen to their spouse is a better predictor of future love and commitment than how they respond to bad events (Gable et al.,2004).

The nature of the internet is such that we are exposed thousands of potential life-changing insights on any given day. The eight listed here all have that potential, but chances are that all that they get is a cursory glance.

More's a pity...


Turns out there is a recipe for happiness after all

It just isn’t what you may think, or think you want.

ABD AL-RAHMAN III was an emir and caliph of Córdoba in 10th-century Spain. He was an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. Here’s how he assessed his life:

“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.”

WOW! That is the only appropriate response, right? In 50 years of unequalled power and wealth and good health, he achieved two weeks of happiness.

When you really think about, you will realise that our evolutionary drivers (and maybe even our sinful nature) means we are hardwired to seek four things. The first three of these are:

  • Fame
  • Wealth
  • Sexual variety

These things make us more likely to pass on our DNA. Had our cave-man ancestors not acquired some version of these things (a fine reputation for being a great rock sharpener; multiple animal skins), they might not have found enough mating partners to create your lineage.

But, cruelly, these things help us procreate more effectively to increase the likelihood of survival, but do not necessarily produce happiness. The article I found on this topic simply suggests that Mother Nature is cruel because she does not care/ require us to be happy.

I actually think that is the fourth element of this evolutionary quartet. IF fame, wealth and sexual variety made us content and happy, it would actually be counter-productive as it would incentivise us to rest on our laurels at some point.

By causing perpetual UN-happiness instead, it ensures we continue to pursue more and more of those things that ensure our survival, and entrenches our unhappiness.

I have redacted this wisdom from an article I found online. Read the whole article here – it is probably the best 10 minutes you will spend this year – if you actually turn the advice into action.

The recipe for success I promised in the title is this: LOVE PEOPLE. USE THINGS. (And not: LOVE THINGS. USE PEOPLE.)

(This post was the introduction to our Fortnightly #thinkdifferent newsletter. You can have a look at our archives – and subscribe - HERE to get more of it if you like.)

How do you like living under THIS regime?

Pop-quiz: Can you name the Regime I describe below?

  • There is complete control over communications network where every person using it can be identified within minutes down to the exact location.
  • Every piece of communication is archived and is accessible in perpetuity, and the State has access to it at any time. (Anything you say can and will be used against you.)
  • There is no privacy.
  • There is a cadre of hundreds of thousands of people who freely volunteer their time and resources to assist the regime to monitor all communications made by citizens.
  • Anyone who is deemed to make an inappropriate comment or communication is immediately identified; their transgression publicised, and is mocked and ridiculed by all other citizens relentlessly.
  • Perceived transgressors are then marked for life and are monitored by other citizens, the press or anyone who stands to gain from any further transgression.
  • The standard of what is acceptable is very narrow, and must conform to the view of the masses in every respect. These standards are not published anywhere and are subject to change at any time at the whim of the opinion leaders. Additionally, these standards govern a wide range of issues, including matters of opinion, science, religion, politics, sport entertainment – in fact it covers every sphere of life.

Can you guess the regime?

This is how Wikipedia describes the role of STASI in the Nazi Regime:

One of its main tasks was spying on the population, mainly through a vast network of citizens turned informants, and fighting any opposition by overt and covert measures including hidden psychological destruction of dissidents.

Or were you thinking maybe Cuba or North Korea? Russia perhaps - despite the demise of the Cold War and Communism?

Sadly, it is Australia.

Actually this regime is everywhere. It exists in your pocket or wherever you keep your mobile phone. It exists pretty much everywhere you care to go and every one of us now lacks the freedom to speak our minds. It's the new internet.

I am not suggesting the impact is anything like what happened in Germany and I am not trying to suggest the situation then and situation now are the same, except for the process by which one group dominates the conversation. I am using an extreme example to illustrate that suppression of free speech is a bad thing; even if you happen to agree with the argument, the other side should always have the right to argue their case peacefully.

The left-leaning pseudo-intellectuals have taken over public discourse and they shall brook no interference. On social issues; unless you are pro-climate change, pro-gay marriage, pro-abortion, anti-racism and anti-religion; you don’t have a voice the vigilante trolls will allow.

  • Speak your mind at a conference and you will be howled down.
  • Publish a tweet and you are tolled into submission.
  • Publish a disagreeable blog and you become a hashtag.
  • Published a book and the critics are scathing.

Of course, they often hide behind the anonymity of an avatar.

The latest example of this is that of Gavin McInnes being asked to take leave of absence for publishing this article. (WARNING: Don’t read if you are easily offended.)

Naturally there are contrarian views around; human nature will see to it that there always are. What has changed now is that social media has equipped individuals with a megaphone that enables them to have a disproportionate influence on any debate.

The notion of ‘Social Proof’ has now entered the everyday lexicon so most readers will be acquainted with the idea. It is indeed a powerful motivator of human behaviour and is the force behind ‘crowd mentality’. And now we are the rule of this mindless mob.

Too often the loudest voices are least qualified to articulate an issue and their responses are characterised by a pseudo-intellectual self-righteousness that boggles the mind more than a Vodka smoothie.

And it is not only individuals who suffer:

There are literally too many to mention: Google “PR disaster on twitter” and you get almost 12 million results and “celebrity disaster on twitter” gets you 29 million plus.

Tell me what we have today is not a close sibling of that STASI regime of the NAZI era?

Soon, Christians and Conservatives will have to consider whether they ‘come out’ to society. Doing so will jeopardise their employment prospects and social standing. If you don’t believe Climate Change is what the climate lobby makes it out to be and if you dare question the science or methodology, then you do so at your own risk.

If your response is ‘serves them right’ or ‘now they will know what it feels like’ you exhibit exactly the infantile powers of reasoning that determines the level of the debate.

In the world we live in now, these are the things that are now normalised:

  • Using illicit drugs is now socially acceptable.
  • Calling someone a c*#t is OK too.
  • Mocking all forms of authority (from the PM to the local police officer) is a badge of honour.

As it happens, I share some of the views of the rabid rabble, even as I seek to distance myself from their general conduct. I have written about this before in 2012, and it has only gotten worse.

In her biography on Voltaire, Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

This is often misattributed to Voltaire himself as an illustration of Voltaire's beliefs, but no matter who said it, Hall's quotation is often, rightly, cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech, and I personally could not agree more.

In Australia the Liberal Government recently tried to amend the definition of Free Speech by repealing a few words of Section 18C - that something that is ‘offensive’ should not naturally be classified as hate speech. The UK edition of The Spectator summarised it smartly:

If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all.

(I found this piece when I was searching for the Voltaire quotation above, and it is along the same theme I am writing here – only written by a professional – Mark Steyn - who articulates some of the issues more eloquently. Well worth reading, and don’t miss the comments; all 1300 of them.)

I find it offensive that you may call someone a c&*t, but I respect the right you have to say so. Everyone is now gluten intolerant and pro-abortion. How the world turns on the whims.

I suppose that is what happens in the absence of an absolute moral authority when everything is relative; society begins to unravel at the edges as the moral tide ebbs and flows with the whims of the easily led masses.

C’est la vie.

Why you can’t have what you want (in life and in business)

You can’t have what you want because what you want can’t be had.

And the reason why you don’t understand what can’t be had (and what can) is because you don’t understand systems thinking.

Let’s consider this on a personal level first, and then apply to business.

  • You can’t ‘faith’ but you can ‘believe’.
  • You can’t ‘happiness’ but you can ‘appreciate the moment’
  •  You can’t ‘wisdom’ but you can ‘choose wisely’
  •  You can’t ‘winner’ but you can ‘try hard’

But let’s start at the beginning.

In the world of systems thinking, it is a matter of first principles to identify Inputs à Processes à Outputs as a matter of course in every facet of life. A common mistake non-systems thinkers make is not confuse the outcome with the process and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to change an outcome instead of focussing on the inputs/processes that will deliver the outcome.

If you bake a cake that tastes like a turd, no amount of icing sugar will change it. Fix the ingredients or the process to produce a cake the way it should taste. Right?

(I have told you in 2007 that you should understand systems thinking. In fact, if you go to ganador.com.au, you will see an example of systems thinking on the home page.)

We constantly fail to identify something as an outcome and spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to fix it.

If you want (e.g.) HAPPINESS, realise that it is something that in of itself it cannot be ‘had’ directly. You have to do something else in order to achieve happiness. (Learning to appreciate the moment is one avenue to happiness. It is one of the processes that will lead to happiness.)

Systems Thinking explains how the world works and consequently that it is futile to focus on the outcomes, but rather to focus on the back-end inputs and processes that will produce those outcomes.

In business we are conditioned to ‘watch the scoreboard’. Of course it is important to have metrics, but it is about picking the right metrics too. The purpose of metrics is to guide us towards the decisions we must take and the things we must do.

Customer Satisfaction, Profit and Sales are examples of useless metrics. (Okay, maybe less useful.)

These are examples of OUTPUTS. They are the equivalent of the cake that tastes of turd. Nothing you can do about these variables.

It is beyond the scope of a simple blog post to change your philosophical perspective on business, but if you do embrace systems thinking, you will appreciate that measures of productivity are more effective measurements because it measures OUTPUTS relative INPUTS. E.g. Sales per Employee is more useful than simply measuring sales. Likewise, the Average Sale is more useful than sales for the same reason.

You can’t HAVE more SALES but you can have staff SELLING more and if you measure that, which is what will cause more sales to happen.

By focussing on the inputs (staff/skills) and the processes (selling/.service) you produce those outcomes that you really want.

Keep your eye on the ball, not on the scoreboard.

There is a Silver Bullet after all

This post is inspired by a podcast I listened to where the person had a stroke that affected his brain and the process he went through the re-train his brain. During that process he learned to meditate with a female Buddhist monk, who passed this insight on to him

Our stroke victim wanted to grow in his compassion for other people and he said he thought he had a lot of compassion. The Monk gave him some advice: She said he had empathy, but not compassion. He indicated that he thought it was very similar.

And this is the insight that followed:

No, she said: ‘Compassion is Empathy with a View.’

By that she meant that empathy had to be accompanied by ‘perspective’ or a view of the world and how it works.

The perspective or view of the world IS THE SILVER BULLET that puts the things you desire in context and makes you understand how to ‘view’ that outcome and to ‘appreciate’ it for what it is.

Having a clear view/ sense of purpose or a life plan helps explain what happens and helps direct your choices towards something in a cohesive manner.

On a personal lever your ‘view’ matters: The Christian sees God’s plan, the Hedonist sees pursuit of pleasure; and both of those views will inform how you experience everything. In the one instance pain must be endured and in another it must be avoided.

The Monk understood that empathy was something the individual experienced (internally) but that compassion was something that someone else experienced (externally). Empathy is a warm and fuzzy feeling, but compassion is something that reaches out and touches people.

If you want to be able to make sense of the world or have the ability to be resilient in the face of adversity or to be focussed on a specific outcome, the silver bullet is finding your sense of purpose.

Now for the part that most people miss.

Everybody HAS a view of life. And it DOES shape how you experience life. Only, most people don’t realise what it is nor how it works. Their view of life was formed by accident instead of by disciplined reflection.

Now for the sad part of all of this.

The DEFAULT view of life for most people is their own personal survival. And under the term ‘survival’ I include psychological survival, social survival and the like. We default to do that what is in our own best interests. Or more specifically, we default to what we THINK is the best for us.

The world is a much better place for all those people who purposefully choose to serve their Country, devote time to their Community or serve God – for instance – than for all the people who simply pursue their own personal happiness.

Not only is the world a better place, those people who choose an external focus for their lives are much better equipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of life, and consequently are happier.

There are many stories of people who won Lotto who, within a few years, end up exactly where they were before. (You of course believe you will be different.) The best view of these things was summed up in a Forbes article:

Achieving major life goals, including winning the lottery, or the more basic goal of getting married, doesn’t wind up making us as happy as we expect. (A) big positive event like a lottery win can impact happiness, but its effects diminish over time Why? Because while a lottery win can make a difference, it won’t affect the other conditions of your life, like who your siblings or parents are or your basic disposition.

There are many stories of people who suffered serious setbacks – for example by becoming disable – yet went on to live full and meaningful lives. Nick Vujicic is possibly the best example of what I am trying to say here.

On a corporate/ business lever your ‘view’ matters: A company with a clear sense of purpose – with a strong ‘view’ in the Buddhist’s terms - is one that can direct itself purposefully.

Let’s say you are struggling to be a successful entrepreneur. Your ‘view’ will determine what you do and how you cope and what eventually happens.

If you see business as a game, you will adopt different tactics, maybe hire a coach or even try and bend the rules.  Or of course you may simply practice harder.

The MISSION you have for your business is the director/founder’s attempt to articulate the VIEW of the business. It is the answer to the question: “What is this (business) all about?’

To have a clear sense of mission (a ‘view’) makes the present problems and opportunities so much clearer. In fact, unless you have the lens afforded by a clear and powerful vision, you won’t SEE the opportunities when they present themselves. And you will see insurmountable obstacles instead of challenges.

I have written elsewhere about systems thinking in the post ‘Why you can’t have what you want’. In that post I explain how the pursuit of outcomes is misguided, and why we should measure and focus on the Inputs and the Processes.

Your takeaway is to contemplate the inputs and the processes that will produce the outcomes you want – and to focus on that.

If it is that easy, why are you not doing it?

Don’t stand so close: the science behind serving a customer

Every day I see retailers and staff stand around retail stores. Waiting… for something to happen as they continue to shuffle merchandise around the store. And this makes me wonder about something.

I know there is something out there that is freely available. It is easy. It costs nothing to implement. It’s proven to improve performance. Yet no one is doing it. Why?

Consider this:

There are many easy to implement behaviours that can improve service and increase your ability to persuade the customer to buy.


The Triangle of Persuasion

Don’t stand opposite the customer. That is a confrontational position even though it feels natural to end there when you walk towards the customer. Walk around and stand next to the customer and turn your body 45 degrees towards the customer.

 Stay outside the customer’s personal bubble. This varies by culture, but usually about 2 feet (60cm) is acceptable to most people. Look for signals if the customer is uncomfortable.

Both parties should be able to face AND reach the merchandise or object of interest. Buyer and seller side-by-side should be able to focus their attention on the object of interest.

You should stand on the right-hand side of the customer where possible. Of course sometimes the design of the store or position of the customer makes it difficult to start there, but attempt to manoeuvre that way unobtrusively if you can.

Make sure there are no obstacles between you and the customer. This includes baskets, trolleys, equipment, prams or handbags – and especially the counter.

Ensure your customer is as comfortable as possible. Not too hot/cold. If seated, make the chair comfy. (Search Google for ‘embodied cognition’ if you don’t believe me – or read this as a primer.)

There is more. From the shape of your mouth to the colour of your shirt, there are a myriad influences that can easily be systematised to be part of how you do business – without adding any cost.

But WHAT these things are is not really the issue here.

Long-term readers may remember this blog on Inside Retailing was called Retail$mart (and so was the Ganador blog and still has that URL). That is because I have always tried to create products based on insights that are road-tested practices and scientific findings. Over the last seven years I have shared many of those here and there. I don’t believe in trade secrets and I am not using this to pitch for work – feel free to create your own training by using the tips provided above.

Over the last two years Neuroscience has entered the public sphere. (Along with it the obligatory pop-up gurus of course, but that is another story.) The popular accessibility of this knowledge raises a very important issue, and is the purpose of this post.

The real question at issue here is: if ANYONE can find these insights, and let’s face it this is not rocket science, WHY are people not using it?

It is freely available. It is easy. It costs nothing to implement. It’s proven to work.

Consider the six things I mentioned above.

How many of them are trained into and embedded in your business? If not, why not? Please share in the comments… I am really curious.

Have you heard the one about Bumblebees not supposed to be able to fly?

The myth loves on...

The myth loves on...

This myth was debunked very nicely by Dr Karl; and the story goes something like this:

According to John McMasters, who back in the 'good old days' was principal engineer on the aerodynamics staff at Boeing Commercial Aeroplanes, it seems the aerodynamicist of the myth was probably an unnamed Swiss professor famous in the 1930s and 1940s for his work in supersonic gas dynamics. The aerodynamicist was having dinner with a biologist. In the idle chit-chat, the biologist noted that bees and wasps had very flimsy wings — but heavy bodies. So how could they possibly fly?

With absolutely no hard data, but a willingness to help that overcame good dinner party etiquette, the aerodynamicist made two assumptions in his back-of-envelope calculations.

The first assumption was that the bees' wings were flat plates that were mostly smooth (like aeroplane wings). The second assumption was that as air flows over an insect's wings, it would separate easily from the wing. Both of these assumptions turned out to be totally incorrect — and the origin of our myth.

The aerodynamicist's initial rough calculations 'proved' that insects could not fly. But that was not the end of the story.

Of course, being a good scientist, his sense of curiosity got him interested in this problem. Clearly, insects can fly. He then examined insect wings under a microscope and found that they had a ragged and rough surface. In other words, one of his assumptions was way off.

But by then, overzealous journalists had spread the myth he had inadvertently created. The story had flown free, even though the bumblebee supposedly couldn't.

There is a lesson in that for all of us. In fact several lessons if we really want to be honest. For instance that much of what we ‘know’ isn’t really knowledge at all. But I want to focus on one particular epistemic principle that we will be well served remembering:

Things that we know today are always overturned in the face of advancing knowledge. As time goes by, we learn things that allow us to create better explanations. But no matter how good the explanation today, there is always a better one tomorrow.

This force of advancing knowledge has a profound implication for our everyday lives and specifically for business strategy:

Everything you believe and take as fact today is changed tomorrow in the light of new evidence.

Just like we once thought the earth was flat and that the start revolved around us, we now know better. Just as Newton’s explanations were eclipsed by Einstein’s theories, everything we know today is at best found to be only partially correct tomorrow.

So how can the Truth change? Well the answer is that it hasn't. The Universe is still the same as it ever was. When a theory is said to be ``true'' it means that it agrees with all known experimental evidence. 

SIDEBAR: This is a point where both THEISTS and ATHEISTS argue their own position. Theists claim that ABSOLUTE truth exists. This is a philosophical assertion based on the notion that ‘it is just so’ – it is something we simply intuit universally. The ATHEIST must argue necessarily that everything is relative. That is, that ‘truth’ is simply that which agrees with all current experimental evidence.
Every person (consciously or not) must take a position in one of these two exclusive camps; one where TRUTH is an absolute and one where it is relative. I find it absolutely hilarious how some people can’t argue against the notion of an absolute truth, but equally firmly adopts an atheistic worldview.

But science has taught us nothing if not that there is always a better explanation around the corner. Some take great comfort from science’s commitment to constantly disprove itself as if this of itself guarantees that we are getting closer to some grand unifying theory of everything. Of course it could just as easily be just a gigantic rabbit hole down which we chase that absolute truth denied by scientists in the first place.

Whatever way you choose, when it comes to human affairs like business strategy, marketing and management and the like, clearly there are no absolutes.

What is right today is wrong tomorrow.

Whoever is best at the strategic arbitrage opportunities and can identify the shifts and changes best and soonest stands to profit most.

But more immediately and possibly more relevant to most of us mere mortals, this shifting foundation of knowledge means that we should recognise this universal truth. The more convicted you are of your opinion, the more compelling the consultant’s exposition the more certain you can be that it, whilst it may seem right now, it is bound to be proven wrong tomorrow.

If you research and study the evolution of the ‘marketing concept’ and/or the ‘evolution of retailing’ then you will notice that ‘the right way’ is always the current way of doing it – the prevailing paradigm so to speak.

Current best practice is always superseded by something better. So a healthy dose of cynicism is a prerequisite in our modern world; for the lack of it will result in us chasing down the ephemeral promises of every fad that comes along.

The bumble bee that is not supposed to fly and the frog that gets slowly cooked in the pot of boiling water are great motivating stories – but nothing more than that. The absolute truth is a bit more elusive and it takes a lifetime to pursue and, who knows, may only be discovered once we pass away.

In the meantime, question everything.

How to build a business from $2m to $5m in five steps

That is a pretty rich title because I have not done it myself. In my defense, I have looked at the price to be paid and I have decided that I don’t want to pay that price. Or at worst I have convinced myself that I don’t want to pay the price when I am really afraid to try; but I am sticking to the former.

Then again, every great coach wasn’t necessarily the greatest player – and all that is required is that you must be a great student of the ‘game’ and it helps if you’ve coached and consulted to a fair few who have done so.

This post is triggered because I recently read an article, proffering the following platitudes that were disguised as advice:

  1. Build your brand with Social Media
  2. Focus on your goals
  3. Sales and Marketing has to happen daily
  4. Build your company foundation on process
  5. Employ performing staff

(I don’t want to link to it and give any more oxygen, because I really don’t think those platitudes are helpful at all.)

I equate that type of advice to telling fat people to lose weight or telling introverts to get out there and have more fun. Of course there is an element of truth to all those statements – as attested by over hundred affirming comments.

But if you want to know the REAL truth, here goes:

Irrespective of anything you DO about your business to take it to the next level, several other things must go right over which you have no control:

  • It must be a kind of business that is capable of generating $5m. That is there must be a market for whatever it is you are selling.
  • Hope that the government does not move the goal posts
  • Pray that a competitor with deeper pockets does not decide to muscle in
  • And so forth.

That is: you need some luck. Your timing and your environment must work for you and not against you. Luck is often the loser’s excuse, but that does not mean it doesn’t play a role in the eventual outcome of a business venture.

Assuming you have some luck, you will ALSO be making a million decisions a month to take your business in the right direction. You must be very skilled or very lucky that none of the decisions you take serve to derail your business. You could easily choose one wrong supplier, choose a wrong web-host, adopt a flawed pricing strategy or implement a promotion that drains cash and delivers no return. This does not mean you are not an entrepreneur or that someone else was smarter or better than you. They simply lucked out by not making the same mistakes. These mistakes are always easily identifiable in hindsight, rarely with foresight.

Now, if you are a bit lucky and you are reasonably competent decision maker then you are in with a chance. If you are already running a $2m business, chances are that you are doing something right; so the things you must do next are the key steps that will take you to the next level:

ONE: Formulate a clear vision of the NEW business model. Let me be very clear: your $5m business is NOT more of the same, it is different in almost every imaginable way. Understanding your new business model is a prerequisite because the decisions that follow are about implementing that vision with processes and resources that align everything towards that vision. (Note: a business model is not a business plan.)

TWO: Actively articulate the new mindset that is required to take you ahead. Almost everything that you did up until this point must be thrown out the window and you need to re-think how you do everything. What needs to be done is quite specific and quite radical. You must understand yourself, your default position and actively identify what needs to change and keep that in mind as you proceed. (I wrote about ‘defaults’ here.) You must really build a new mental model in your mind. (Everything that follows presumes this has happened.)

THREE: Assuming you have the right mindset, you must:

restructure your business so that you are made redundant

reassign responsibilities and accountabilities amongst different staff members

redesign the processes that govern all business activities in such a way that it can scale to the new level – this is what we mean by saying that you work ‘on’ the business and not ‘in’ the business 

FOUR: Do the basics well. This should be easy part, but sadly it isn’t always. Sales. Marketing. Branding. Visual Merchandising. Service. All these are basic processes in the retail environment and the nature of ‘success’ is clearly understood.

FIVE: Implement like hell. Commitment. Drive. Persistence. All these words come to mind for what comes next. It is not easy. Be prepared to fail. But get up, fix it and move on. There is a price to pay: you will be pushed out of your comfort zone and be pushed out of your bed earlier and more often than you would like, but trust me, if success comes easily then it is just luck. Real success is a harsh taskmaster that demands a steep price of its seekers.

These five steps are arbitrary because you could make it more or you could make it less. The aim is that they are not platitudes, but rather spells out concrete steps that can be taken. You may need help to get there, but with a solid game plan and a bit of coaching its amazing what can be accomplished.

Just ask the Waratahs.

Dennis

Ganador – architects of high performance business

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How to live an inspired and inspiring life

The truth is you can't be anything you want to be and you can't do anything you want to do.

History proves that sometimes circumstance or destiny will force us down a path that is not of our choosing .

And common sense will tell you that if you are fixated on one goal, you are likely to miss every opportunity that comes your way

Preparing for your future and achieving the things you would like to achieve must be balanced with a certain joie d'vie and living in the moment. That, dear friend is the ART of living: finding balance between the things you have to do and the things you want to do and the balance between common sense and adventure.

This is ultimately the balance between being alive and living.

This inspiring talk by Andrew Solomon is well worth 15 minutes of your time as you contemplate why you are here.

Long-time readers will know that I have never been a great fan of that whole 'set a goal - believe and achieve' glibness that permeates self-help books and new age literature. Daniel Pink wrote a book called The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need to help young (and old) people understand the world of work. The 160-page graphic novel about a hapless office clerk, a tart-tongued sprite, and some magic chopsticks takes a whopping half-hour to read. The book’s 6 key career lessons:

1. There is no plan.

Make decisions for fundamental, not instrumental, reasons.

2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.

Do the things you do well — that give you energy rather than drain it.

3. It’s not about you.

The most successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives.

4. Persistence trumps talent.

There are massive returns to doggedness.

5. Make excellent mistakes.

Commit errors from which the benefits of what you’ve learned exceed the costs of what you’ve screwed up.

6. Leave an imprint.

Recognize that your life isn’t infinite and that you should use your limited time here to do something that matters.

The topic of this post may at first seem strange, but there is much to take from the underlying approach to life.

Read those six steps again and apply that to your business – and think about how your business would be different if you followed this approach to life and business instead.

Dennis

PS: This post is adapted from a previous post in my fortnightly newsletter which you can get here. (And a free eBook on Visual Merchandising emailed to all who subscribe.)

The productivity rules I break to be productive


A recent article espoused the rules Tim Ferris came up with as the perfect ‘STOP DOING’ list to improve productivity.

I can say without much equivocation that I am an extremely productive person. It is a big claim and hard to prove to the casual reader. But here is a snapshot of my email inbox.

There are exactly 5 emails – and all of them require me to take an action that I must do. When I go to bed – there may be one or two – usually none. Even my junk email folder gets emptied several times a day.

I break EVERY ‘rule’ the productivity experts come up with:

Do Not Answer Calls from Unrecognized Numbers

I don’t think I am that special. I don’t want to limit all future human interaction with only people that I know. If someone went to the trouble of finding me or my (unlisted) number I am happy to talk. It may be short but only after I have listened.

Do Not Email First Thing in the Morning or Last Thing at Night AND Do Not Check Email Constantly

I check email all the time – including first thing and last thing.  But I deal with 95% of them only once: delete, file, action or refer. It takes a few seconds per email on average and it doesn’t matter WHEN you spend the time – logically – just that you do it efficiently.

(I have a short attention span, and every few minutes I sue the break in my attention to quickly nail a few emails, then return to what I was doing. It may not work fro everyone, but in my case I am constantly engaged with one thing at a time, and I optimise my productivity that way.)


Do Not Agree to Meetings or Calls With No Clear Agenda or End Time  

This may only apply if I am the most senior person in the meeting. If my boss asks me to attend a meeting I would go and suggest you do to.

Do Not Let People Ramble

What a rude suggestion. We are not all the same. It may take a few minutes  extra to get to the point but if you rush someone or cut them off, the point they want to make will probably be not the same and besides, the most important thing in a relationship is the initial ‘likability’ which is dialled to zero if you cut someone off.

Do Not Overcommunicate With Low-Profit, High-Maintenance Customers

If they are a customer, they are a customer and are treated as such. If you don’t want them as a customer, then ‘fire’ them and then you don’t have to communicate at all.

These are just the top 5. In the interest of my own productivity I will stop there because the point is made:

Be careful who you accept advice from because just because it works for one (or even a thousand) does not mean it is right for you.

© 2014 Ganador Management Solutions (Pty) Ltd PO Box 243 Kiama, NSW, 2533 Australia Tel: (+61)2-4237 7168