Month: November 2012

Lessons from an unnoticed violinist

can i buy provigil online I’ve always loved the story of Joshua Bell playing the Bach pieces largely unnoticed in the Washington metro station. Please watch the video if you don’t know the story. And while the experiment does indeed confirm that we don’t take the time to appreciate as much as we should, more particularly, it’s also a poignant example of the contributions of context and information to our everyday decision making. Context provides so much of how we read situations. No-one expects to see a concert violinist playing at a station – and because no-one expects it, no-one notices what he is doing, regardless of the extraordinary quality, and even fewer reward it. In that setting, in the blink of an eye that people evaluate, he’s just another musician, just another busker. If he was that good, many people would have subconsciously thought, he wouldn’t be playing here. So if he had played in another setting, even if it wasn’t a concert hall, would that have given his performance greater credibility for those passing by? Quite possibly. There’s …

From Prussia with love

order generic Neurontin Jeremy referred me to this fabulous presentation by Rory Sutherland, and it’s another corker from the man from Ogilvy’s. Mr Sutherland would absolutely make my short list of people to sit next to at dinner. Not only is he an adamant supporter of one of my favourite disciplines, behavioural economics, but his talks are peppered with the most wonderful references and observations. In this speech, he gives a wonderful example of how physical value can be transformed into an intangible value that defies costs, but only if the associations are powerful and valued enough. Examples abound of this dynamic working the other way (items being sold for, or even below cost) but the Prussian medal example Sutherland gives is proof that cast iron can indeed be worth more than gold if the story that surrounds the lesser metal gives it greater value, and providing of course that those seeing the cast iron medal also understand the context of why it carries the value it does. Sutherland goes on to direct this argument at the environmental …

Sustainability: Being good, not just doing good

Historically, corporate social responsibility has put the emphasis on how businesses are doing good. It’s become an increasingly varied checklist of “things we’ve done right”. Today though, socially aware audiences want more. They increasingly make judgments about you based on your overall likeability. They want to do business with brands that are good. And that in turn means that, at a social level, your reputation depends less on your ability to simply highlight good works done in isolation (through community activities or sponsorships for example), and much more on your ability to show that you are inherently principled in your dealings and that you behave consistently across your organisation in ways that align with your social and commercial reputation. That shift in the significance of social actions has a downstream effect on critical social initiatives such as sustainability. In my opinion, they should no longer be seen as nice-to-haves or even as opportunities to improve efficiencies across your supply chain. Rather, the actions you take in these areas are competitive opportunities to distinguish your company …

The strategy of radical beauty

Should you climb a mountain because it’s there, or because you believe you have a more than reasonable chance of conquering it? In a commercial setting at least, I’ll plumb for B – because presence alone is not a rational reason to participate. I continue to be intrigued though by the human instinct to believe that the odds are there for beating. I watch brands plunge into markets where they honestly believe they can do what others have failed to do for no other reason than that they believe in themselves and/or they have little respect for the current participants. Believing in your own brilliance and/or relying on the incompetence of others however, as Michael Porter reminds us, is not a strategy. In fact, it’s nothing short of a gamble. In a wonderful article on “How strategists lead”, Professor Cynthia Montgomery of the Harvard Business School gives a telling example of how some great companies have fancied their chances in the furniture manufacturing sector, only to become a cropper. They have, she says, looked to …

15 reasons why “no-one else has complained”

1.     They didn’t have time 2.     They couldn’t be bothered 3.     They didn’t want to interact with you a moment longer than they had to 4.     They didn’t know how to complain (because you didn’t make it easy) 5.     They didn’t feel they could talk to you 6.     They didn’t think you could change 7.     They didn’t think you would care 8.     They didn’t think it would make any difference for anyone else 9.     They didn’t think you’d listen 10.  They thought you’d be rude and defensive 11.   They think you’re incompetent 12.   They don’t like you 13.   They never intend coming back 14.   They want you to fail 15.   They’ve already told all their friends to avoid you via social media More reading 7 Things Most Customers Won’t Tell You – Unless You Ask (thethrivingsmallbusiness.com)