An Unconventional Way To Retain a Client

I have always thought that honest goes a long way.   This approach to life may be interpreted as naive, but I do believe that becoming trustworthy will often work out for your best interests in the long run.   Trustworthiness is beneficial both in your personal and work life.

Charles Green has been an advocate of trustworthiness for a long time, and stresses the importance of using trust as a competitive advantage.  However, becoming easy to be trusted by others often implies taking counter intuitive actions and significant risks.  In one of his books, he has an an excellent example of how an auditing firm approached a situation with an unsatisfied client that was thinking of changing supplier.  New auditing companies were called to present proposals for the required services, and this auditing firm did the following:

“Instead of using their 90-minute time slot to do a conventional presentation, four of their partners acted out a skit for the four client executives. They role-played those very execs having that decisive meeting”

The company took a risk, talked about their current decline in their performance, and how they would improve it.  The result:  they were awarded the business again.

At the end, honesty’s all we’ve got.

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Knockoffs Decrease Sales. Really?

Authors Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman have a new book out, The Knockoff Economy, exploring the effects of imitation on innovation and on profitability.

Common sense would say that when imitations (knockoffs) of products appear on the market, the sales of that product will be negatively impacted.  But is this really the case?

The studies the authors conducted show that as long as users can distinguish between the originals and knockoffs, the availability of knockoffs have several positive effects:

  • There is free advertising for the brand of the original product
  • There are increased sales in the long run, when customers that use the knockoffs products are able to transition into the originals, or in other words, when they can afford them.

A short excerpt from the book:

“In short, copies of branded goods—counterfeits—can have a counter intuitive effect on originals. While these copies can steal away some would-be buyers of the original, they also can help create new buyers through the advertising effect. Some counterfeit buyers “graduate” to the real thing, whereas others who never buy a counterfeit become buyers of the original because the counterfeits serve as advertising.”

In conclusion, imitations of your product may actually be good for your company.

At the end, if you are continuously the best in your category, everything will work fine, no matter how many try to imitate you.

Are you the best in what you intend to do?

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Trailers and Lean Accounting

Bill Waddell, famous lean expert and consultant, describes in a short talk the basics of Lean Accounting.  It is always positive to see that leaders of various continuous improvement disciplines agree that an accounting and measurement system focused on real value and not artificial numbers is an essential component of effective management.

An example of a company that understand real value and effective metrics is ATC Trailers.   You can understand their lean journey in this short video, and how they defined distinct value streams and eliminated waste to deliver products more quickly and profitably.   End result:  delighted customers, motivated employees and a growing company.

Are you using an adequate scorecard to manage and grow your business?   Are you focusing on performing value added activities and eliminating waste?

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Sleep No More, Zimbardo and Milgram

Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo are two recognized psychologists that conducted a some of the most famous social experiments in history to try to better understand human behavior.   What they were trying to prove in their own ways was that behavior can be significantly altered by your surroundings, and a certain environment will induce you to behave in ways that you would not expect to under normal circumstances.  

Enter Sleep No More, a fascinating and different type of theater play, created by an group called Punchdrunk.  Instead of attendees sitting and watching the show in traditional style, they are given masks, walk through rooms, decide when to interact with actors, follow actors into rooms, and even eat and drink.   Every decision the viewer makes shapes your experience, and by being anonymous participants do things that they would normally not do.   Often, at the end of the show, attendees are surprised of their actions.

Read all about behavior, your surroundings and Sleep No More in the latest Freakonomics podcast, Fear Thy Nature.

Are you sure you would act as usual, if your surroundings change significantly?

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The Flip a Coin With a Twist Method

Ever been in a dilemma, and have no idea what to do?

When implications are so big that even an conflict resolution diagram will not help you find an answer, there is always the traditional “flip a coin” advice.  But is it really effective?

Although flipping a coin may feel that you are leaving your decisions to randomness, there is an alternative method with a twist, that includes your gut feelings.

Making  decisions is part of life.   When unable to decide, the flip a coin with a twist may help you out.


So what will it be?  Heads or Tails?

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Instant America Infographic

In a world were information can be accessed immediately with the tap of a finger, the click of a mouse or a couple of keystrokes, have you asked yourself how the instantaneous world we live in has changed our behavior?

OnlineGraduatePrograms.com created an interesting infographic that shows how impatient we have all become.  To illustrate through an example:

  • 1 in 4 people abandon a website that takes more than four seconds to load.

The internet has become as essential as electrical power, one of the great inventions of the ultimate geek.

I just have to wonder what Nikola would have done with the internet.

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Are You A Linchpin?

If you don’t know about Seth Godin’s Linchpins, maybe Hugh’s illustration can help to understand the gist of it.

Bottom line:  Are you indispensable?  If not, what are you doing about it?

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The Laws of Subtraction – Free Preview

Matt May, the former Toyota consultant and innovation expert, is in the process of writing his newest book, The Laws of Subtraction.

Matt has reminded us over the years that what constitutes an elegant solution is the ability to remove excess detail, and even leave some things unresolved so that users can fill in the blanks.  The Laws of Subtraction guide us through three critical choices inherent in every difficult decision in business, work and life:

  • What to pursue versus what to ignore?
  • What to leave in versus what to leave out?
  • What to do versus what to don’t?

You can download a free preview of his new book, were the Laws of Subtraction are discussed:

  • What isn’t there can often trump what is.
  • The simplest rules create the most effective experience.
  • Limiting information engages the imagination.
  • Creativity thrives under intelligent constraints.
  • Break is the important part of breakthrough.
  • Doing something isn’t always better than doing nothing.

In a world were time is limited, it is essential to decide what not to focus on, and just subtract it from your life.

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TEDs Top 20 Talks of All Time

You’ve probably watched many TED videos before.

If not, TED was a venture started in 1984, as an annual conference with speakers sharing new ideas about Technology and Design.   Afterward, it’s objective was to promote “ideas worth sharing” about different topics that impact our life, and has featured speakers such as Malcolm Gladwell, Bill Clinton, Larry Page and many other celebrities.

Regardless of your acquaintance with TED videos, it might be worth your while to look at the top 20 TED Videos of all time.

Do you have any ideas worth sharing?

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Dan Pink’s Inspirational Quotes

We all need some inspiration from time to time.   Need some?  Check out the three quotes that author Dan Pink keeps on this wall.

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now.”Viktor Frankl

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”Steve Jobs

“Being a professional is doing the things you love to do — even on the days you don’t feel like doing it.”Julius Erving

If you haven’t read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, please do.

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