or Why my lovely wife does not want me to go shopping with her.
At a recent trip to the mall, the whole family wondered into an Ann Taylor Loft. Actually, Christine wandered in, I just obediently followed. While she was looking around, I noticed three signs above adjacent racks.
The first offered two tee-shirts for $30 or $19.50 each.
The second, right next to it offered two tee-shirts for $30, but no mention of individual price and the third rack had individual tee-shirts for $15 each.
Any thoughts as to why? I have an idea, but will hold off posting it for a few days.
You should have seen her face when I was taking these pictures. The salespeople at the store were a little perplexed as well.
Hat tip to John Shaver of Aries Technology for sending me this cartoon from this past Sunday’s Lio.
I have used this analogy for years – implementing a new ERP, CRM or HR system at an organization is akin to a human being undergoing triple bypass surgery. No one is going to do it because it is on sale this month or even free. Price is not the issue.
Recently, this has become a much more personal example for me as my Dad has had this procedure (the bypass, not an ERP implementation). I can say with certainty, if his highly skilled surgeon had offered to operate on me in a father/son two-for-one monthly special, I would have vigorously declined his offer. Price was not the issue.
The next time you are working with a prospect who in interested in ERP/CRM/HR. Remember this. Price will not be the issue.
In addition to the blood pressure pills I take from stressing out over changing the business model for professional firms (kidding, it is hereditary), I take a few vitamins and supplements on a daily basis. Since I like to take them on a full stomach, after dinner seems to work best for me. However, because I am usually doing several things at once I sometimes forget if I have taken the pills or not.
After debating about it for a few weeks, I finally broke down and bought one of those weekly pill organizers. (Shown at left.) OK, before you start with the comments, there were not many choices.
In any case (pun intended), I loaded it up on Sunday and thus far it is working flawlessly. Coincidently, it has also led to an unintended benefit – I only have to unscrew the child protection lids once a week now, and not once a day.
I got to thinking about it and there is a lesson here for professional firms. Notice that the original problem was one of effectiveness – I could not remember if I had taken the pills. In solving the effectiveness problem I also increase my efficiency – I only open the bottles once a week now. It was through increasing my effectiveness that I also increased my efficiency. I submit that this could not have worked the other way. No amount of increasing my efficiency of the original task would have increased my effectiveness.
If I have lined up the bottles and practiced open them with the least amount of effort and streamlined precision of motion, I would have not increased my ability to remember to take the pills each night.
The lesson – I am living proof of Kless’ Second Law – Effectiveness always and everywhere trumps efficiency.
Today, we received our 2009/2010 Allen Community PhoneBook (the book formerly know as the Yellow Pages). With the proliferation of Google and the Web, these books usually make a 10 second trek through the house and land directly in the recycle bin. This one, however, had a advertisement from Al the Plumber. I can’t vouch for his work, but I sure like his pricing practices.
My thinks to Christine, my wife, for pointing this out. In fact, I have not yet actually seen this in person. I plan on tearing off the cover and depositing the rest of the book in the green bin.
I genuinely believe that most people in the world desire only good thing for their fellow man and are trying to do good. What is disturbing is that we all tend to dismiss any facts that are contrary to our own belief system, rather than investigate them further and resolve the contradiction. To quote Ayn Rand, “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”
As a consultant one of the first things I learn about a prospective customer is if the are open to the possibility that they are wrong. Not that they necessarily are wrong, but just if they are open to the possibility. I will not work with anyone who does not respond positively to this idea. Of course, I reciprocate and state that I am open to this possibility myself.
One of my all time favorite quotes is from a little know business/psychology author named Edwin Friedman. He opens his book A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the age of the quick fix, with this gem, "The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change."
He demonstrates how this applies to all levels of human relationships: parent/child, spouse/spouse, neighbor/neighbor, employee/boss, company/company, citizen/government official, country leader/country leader. It is only through lowering our own level of anxiety, thereby increasing our own ability to think creatively and remaining connected to those we hope to change, can any transformation occur.
Advancing the dialogue requires the ability to self regulate your own anxiety level.