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Business tools and ideas

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A compilation of my recent posts offering insights on new business tools and ideas

Published in: Business

Business tools and ideas

  1. 1. Business Tools and Ideas Ali Anani, PhD
  2. 2. 2 Managing Partner Phenomena Communications
  3. 3. 3 Dr. Ali Anani - Managing Partner Dr. Ali Anani : As General Manager, Dr. Ali Anani heads and supervises a team of talented young professionals, and manages the overall brand strategy - ensuring the cohesiveness and creative parts of each campaign for all Agency clients. Dr. Ali Anani holds a PhD from the UK (1972). He has a wide experience in many fields. His accomplishments include the writing of more than eighty publications in international journals, the writer of three printed books in Arabic and one E-book in English. He has written widely for the media and presented a TV program and many radio programs. Dr. Anani main credit is his creativity thinking where he scored among the top %5 creative people worldwide. Dr. Anani is an invited lecturer for more than fi y international conferences and an author of many business slogans. Moreover, he has travelled to more than fi y countries as an invited speaker and consultant and has consulted for many international agencies including UNIDO, Atomic Energy Agency, UNDP, ESCWA, private businesses and governmental agencies.
  4. 4. 4 Who Is a Leader? A Provocative Perspective 6 The Earth Doesn›t Forget 8 The Phenomenon of Crowd Blindness 11 A Trip to the Top...of Management Mountain 14 Standing on Glory 17 Visualizing Perception and Co-Authorship 20 Customers Journey Maps Coupled to Social Media 23 Epidemic Ideas- at the crossroads 27 Creative Surprises 30 Two Revealing Business Metaphors 32 To Be Different Is Not Enough 36 Questions as a Business Tool 39 The Landscape of Questioning 41 index
  5. 5. 5 Business Tools and Ideas
  6. 6. 6 Who Is a Leader? A Provocative Perspective Amazingly how many definitions of leaders and their attributes. Sometimes, the image of a leader is blurred by so many definitions and profiling. Sometimes, I question the validity of the word leader. If a leader has a vision and is unable to persuade others to believe in his/her vision then this leader is distancing himself/herself from people. Is this leadership? Even if the distance between a leader and followers is not that far in meters; it is not so in engagement. The followers shall disengage from visions that they don›t desire to come true.The bonding between a leader and followers shall soon disappear. I believe that people don›t follow people; instead they follow a leaders› vision and future dreams that they see worthy of following and realizing. They follow their trusting of the leader and their dreams.
  7. 7. 7 It is when followers have great faith in a leader that they tend to surround the leader like magnetic lines surround a magnet, or the threads of a spider web surround the spider. Look how people surround a movie star. In trying to get close to the star people shape in circles. Circles have the least area measurement and it may be a natural instinct to form circles around the star. Are star leaders any different? Followers don›t have the tendency to follow; rather they have the tendency to circle leaders. Self-fulfillment, self-actualization and self-promotion might make many people jealous of a leader and being followers they spend their time trying to find a shortcoming or a scandal or whatever it takes to take over leadership. Leaders who become aware of these «movements» may spend most of their time looking backwards for fear of being toppled. Having people surrounding a leader reduces such risks and make the leader feel safer. Leaders DO NOT need followers for I find this a recipe for mistrust between the leader and the followers. Leaders need to be magnetic in their character, performance, vision and whatever needed to keep people around them. They are in the middle of the network. Being in the middle doesn›t mean they are first in everything. Like in social networks we talk about betweeness centrality, closeness centrality, and other attributes so are leaders and people in their network. As more people join, form bonds, drop old bonds so the structure of the network changes and the roles accordingly. I dare say great leaders don›t have many followers. A long-tail of followers means that few will be close to the leader and the majority will be distant. Pareto Rule shall be in operation where %20 of followers will have %80 of the attention of the leader. Isn›t that a recipe for disaster? Theleadershipisakintosocialnetworksthat are dynamic, adaptive and their structure is unstable. Great leaders find themselves in the center of the network because they have what to keep them in their position. The leadership is akin to social networks that are dynamic, adaptive and their structure is unstable. Great leaders find themselves in the center of the network because they have what to keep them in their position.
  8. 8. 8 The Earth Doesn›t Forget We learn from big losses far more than we learn from successes. The aftermaths of a dramatic loss are known to us because we all passed through some losses. Sometime later, we may look back at loss that we suffered from which we may derive great lessons and aspirations. The recent E-book by Dr. Edward Lewellen on: The -90Second Mind Manager Instant Transformation Inside, Outside, and Upside Down is a glowing example of how a loss may reshape us and how it may disrupt our conventional thinking into a novel one that if filled with wisdom. Sadly, the author of the E-book lost his daughter in 2013 suffering from cancer at the age of 36. You may imagine the disbelief people undergo when they pass through such sad events. Denial such as asking why me may start an avalanche of negative beliefs. I know I am unlucky, it is useless. to and I shall be a target for miseries. Once these thoughts and beliefs start they pick up momentum and may destroy the sufferers. Is there a way out of these possibilities? How did Dr. Lewellen rid himself and many of his clients afterwards with a simple; yet effective approach? Knowledge can be helpful. Our thoughts and beliefs are prime energy consumers. Either we consume this energy productively, or allow it to burn us.
  9. 9. 9 In reading the book I was inspired to say that conflicts, misunderstandings and personal sufferings are opportunities to turn them positive and build healthy relations with ourselves and others. It is turning negative feelings into positive ones by using the integrated and comprehensive approaches suggested and tested by Dr. Edward Lewellen that makes the difference.The book suggests four major approaches to turn negative emotions to positive thinking and actions. Based on neuroscience findings, the author gives rational for explaining why his methodologies work. The author reminds me of the Thagard’s (2006) theory of emotional coherence, which is based on the (localist) connectionist approach in cognitive science. On this view, mental representations can be construed as neural networks in which the nodes represent individual beliefs with various connections (links) between them. Clusters or sets of concepts form beliefs, images, or other cognitive structures. I find that the value of Dr. Lewellen’s book is that it is extensible to business and how to treat and deal with customers and their complaints. If we follow the methodologies suggested in the book what we shall do is not only retain customers, but also expand the opportunities to making more business with them. Suppose we have a case in which a person lost trust with his friends and family because they weren’t up to expectations. Let us perform the -5Why Analysis and see what we get. The Five Whys of Misery Why only it happened to me- Because I am unlucky Because I was cheated by the closest friends Why were you deceived by your closest friends? Because I don›t know how to tell the difference Or, Why you don›t trust anybody? Because I was cheated by family members and intimae friends? Why? Because I trusted them without verifying
  10. 10. 10 Why? - Because I keep focusing on the bad aspects and negative outcomes There is an opportunity here to develop your ability telling good apples from bad ones. You can always find a way to behave positively without negating your inner core values that you are a good person doing good things. You have 90 seconds to go in one of two directions- a positive one and a negative one.The e-book explains why 90 seconds is scientifically proven. More importantly, it shows you how to make this turn over a habit. As much as the negative consequences are evident; yet entropy sends us inthewrongdirectionbybehavingnegatively.Thenegativedirectionmay bifurcate to even more negative statements that are energy consumers: - I have always been unlucky with the consequence of reacting in anger and its spiraling negative effects. Or, fall in depression and making the bad worse. The e-Book provides the means on how to follow the positive path. For example, if you have lost a daughter remember the good things the deceased did. Bring the bright spots into light. Remember that the bodies gotoearth,buttheearthdoesnotforget.Ithastheseedsofgreatmemories of the deceased daughter. Remember those great moments, revitalize them, and talk about them. Be positive. Let the seeds of memories flower into the lives of others to better them. Turn negative emotions into positive behaviors using the magical formula of the book. Grab a copy because I say it is a great investment to make.
  11. 11. 11 Many funny things happened to me recently. A friend of mine wanted to post a comment on one of my presentations, but couldn’t because commenting is disallowed. He messaged me:“How could it be possible: a social network, without social contacts”? His innocent yet terribly probing question reminded of a university, named something like the University of Engineering and yet without offering a single engineering course. I walk around a small shop that has little to sell but named The Grand Supermarket. I read a post on the internet that made me split my sides laughing. The author bitterly attacked the use of metaphors because they distort our thinking. In his first paragraph, he wrote (adding my own paraphrasing to obscure his identity) that the sky was weeping and the land crying. In almost every sentence he wrote there was a metaphor. I commented
  12. 12. 12 and his response was amazingly funny. It even included more metaphors. You walk into a restaurant that says it provides the best fish in town. To your dismay (and mine as well) they have no fish for today. If this happened to you how then you do feel about it? These are tangible examples of distorted facts; it’s a polite way of saying lies. But there are also many examples of intangible claims that make me wonder! For example, let us assume a company states that customers come first. Let us also say this company has the slogan “Customer Partnership Comes First.”You dig into the company records or parse customer reviews andyieldsurprises.Thecompanyiscustomer-repellent.Ievencoinedaname for such companies, by calling them Customerphobic. For example, if you would analyze the sentiments of a company as extracted fromTweets about it you may find the sentiments are as follows: %95 negative, %3 neutral and a mere %2 positive. But the company would insist on describing itself as customer-friendly. There are even more lies of people who claim they are influential by having thousands of followers. The question: How many dollars did they pay to get these numbers? I fully realize some famous people may get millions of followers, but there are reasons for that. But how could a small company, with ten employees, deservedly earn more followers than an international business?
  13. 13. 13 We have, in Arabic, an answer to the question, “How do you identify a lie?” The answer: “From how big it is.”Yes, some businesses have sizes that fit all, but in reality fit no one.Trust is based on facts and not lies; with that context, it is no wonder how some businesses disappear. Remember, compact cabbage weighs more the leave-stretched one that is filled with air. It is not the heavier; it is with what «filling» you have. Idedicatethispostagaintoadearthoughtfulfriendwithwhommyexchange ofideashasbeenarichsourceofmoreideas. I dedicate it to Dr. Vincenzo de Florio.
  14. 14. 14 A Trip to the Top...of Management Mountain Some painful experiences teach us a lot. And each time we remember them they may show in different clothing. One experience is my trip to the Rocky Mountains in the USA. It was summer time. It was hot day and humidity was annoying. The driving trip ended in the afternoon. At the top it was very chilly because I forgot a basic thing: as you go higher it gets cooler. It is not enough to know where your current position is; equally important is having an idea of what awaits for you once you reach the top. Is that any different from people moving from bottom to the top of the organization? It is wise for those people to realize the coldness surrounding them because it is a natural phenomenon that it is cold surrounding at the top. In fact, it could be freezing conditions. The high country of Rocky Mountain National Park is noted for extreme weather patterns. Shaped by elevation, slope, and exposure, these patterns can change rapidly. At higher elevations, arctic conditions prevail. Sudden blizzards, high winds, and deep snowpack are common. The west side of the park experiences more
  15. 15. 15 snow, less wind, and clear cold days during these months. Not all peaks of the Rocky Mountains have similar weather or climatic patterns. Similarly, may be sitting at different tops of the “management mountain”, but the surroundings are all, but same. If you take different levels of the Rock Mountains you shall find that climates differ from one level to the other. Each level affects levels below and above. It is a feedback mechanism. If conditions are right, bifurcation may become a reality arising to even more complexity and causing the Butterfly Effect. A physical demonstration is the elk animal at rocky Mountain where bifurcation is witnessed. Are organizations any different? There is feedback between the levels of the organization. People sitting at the top may not realize that it is cold at the top. They need to warm up and they are subject to bifurcation of employees interests and that they may have different climatic patterns. In such conditions do standard organizational management tools suffice? Or, are top management practicing false assumptions? Theclimatechangeandlocalclimatesaffecttheglobalclimate.Employees in organization at different levels have their own climate that affect the overall climate of the organization. Employees have their ideologies. Ideologies may be represented as networks of concepts embedded in networks of people. Ideologies may change and may accordingly change the local environment and later the prevailing climatic patterns, which in turn affect the organizational work climate.
  16. 16. 16 The above thoughts make we wonder if we simplify management and make it more than simply enough. If we may predict the weather then we may predict the performance of organizations.
  17. 17. 17 Standing on Glory There are many times that we find ourselves standing on the peak of glory and sometimes by doing no effort. This morning I was looking at the analysis f the daily report of number of views of my SlideShare presentations. The daily average increase is close to 25-+225. This time the views shot up to more than 2000. I found myself setting on a peak effortlessly.
  18. 18. 18 This situation recurs in our lives: A student with an average of 60 all of a sudden gets 95 and above. An investor in the stock market makes modest daily profits and by a stroke of luck the profits skyrocket. A storyteller keeps the tension low and all of a sudden the story puts us in a huge tension peak. A manager who keeps telling an employee that his performance is average and all of a sudden the manager hails the same employee with compliments and how great his/her performance is. Is the sudden reach to the peak of glory a great thing? Is the Law of Average in command? Is it better to stay around average, or to experience a short-lived joy of reaching the top? I found myself thinking of the oak tree that stands high and soars into new heights almost daily. What do we learn from those trees to at least lengthen our stay at the top? High trees have many benefits over shorter ones: they have more exposure to sunlight, are less exposed to animal predators and have more potential to store food. These adaptations take long time of conditioning and don›t come abruptly. But then setting high may tempt some trees to form canopies that almost obscure sunlight from shorter trees. Some managers do that and they form a «canopy of selected employees» depriving employees at the base from sunlight.
  19. 19. 19 You know that a soft drink bottle may look calm. Just throw few sand grain or rice grains in it and it shall overflow and bubbles shall form in huge amounts. I wonder if some trees such as oaks follow a similar strategy. This tree stands harsh climatic conditions. Oaks can exist in nutrient poor locations, low light and periods of drought. What seems to be quiet seeds these all of a sudden burst into quick re-sprouting and taking over other plants and become the dominant tree. Never assume that a dormant employee might not burst into rapid growth and displacing many employees. We have seen it many times in our organizations. More than that, because oaks have adapted to harsh and disruptive happenings such as fire the oak tree might look as if dead for long times. All of a sudden the seeds sprout rapidly and the oak tree is alive again. Tebehavioroftheoaktreemaysuggestanewdefinitionofdisruptiveideas. The life cycle of a product as we know ends at the death of the product. However; the oak tree teaches us what sounds dead is able to grow again wherein right conditions prevail. Those businesses that failed to master dormancy die. I wonder if Nokia, for example, is having a dormancy period after which it shall grow again and fill the space?! Itisnotenoughtoreachhighlevels.Itismoreimportantistohavetheroots to stabilize the structure, the power to store nutrients and the adaptations to be able to go dormant to build forces till the right moment arrives for re-growth and doing that rapidly. Disruption is this the ability to turn dormancy into rapid dominance.
  20. 20. 20 Visualizing Perception and Co- Authorship I decided to freeze writing new posts for a while. In fact, I even hardly responded to comments, message or commented on posts lately. Dr. Vincenzo do Florio then wrote a great post, which triggered me to comment on. In his last response to me dear Vincenzo wrote “ Re: being inert: you taught me that being inert is far from being inactive dear friend! «Disruption is this the ability to turn dormancy into rapid dominance» (from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/standing-glory-ali- anani-phd?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST) Re: writing too much: not at all :) After thought comes write! That›s my «motto» :). This comment etched my mind as it proved to be the drop of water that a dormant seed needs to grow. And I am here writing again. Can we measure perception? Can we use perception as a classifying element of systems? How can we visualize intangible items such as
  21. 21. 21 perception? How dynamic is perception? Great questions triggered by the before-mentioned post of dear Vincenzo. I found some of my old dormant seeds (publications) may be responsive to these questions. To avoid groupthink I called for the gradual thinking steps. Instead of having people all meet at once and start to think in one voice, why not do those in gradual steps. I explained this in one of my previous presentations. I tried this approach several times on different scales. I suggested a core idea and contributed many slides. I then invited authors to add their own slides to the presentation. The ideas from different authors added to expand the presentation to 101 slides.This way we could“visualize” how ideas flew, how they truncated or bifurcated, and the way an author triggered ideas in another author’s mind. Sally Smith contributed Slide 10 in which she stated that ideas are like leaves, they emerge and grow, but as we over-grow them they leaves fall.
  22. 22. 22 This experience enriched my mind with so many great ideas. It is groupthink that is separated by time and space so that groupthink is more efficient. I repeated this co-authorship approach recently with a more focused approach. I started the discussion using two pictures of same rainbow, but in two different location of a room. This short separation in distance, made the two rainbows look different. I invited authors to add slides reflecting how shapes and colors affect our perceptions of the same images. The contributions of many great mind resulted in a colorful presentation of 58 slides. Thinking Shapes and Colors is one of my loveliest posts to my heart for it taught me that even simple things in life might lead to different perceptionsthatIcanseeandrespect.Ittaughtmetorespectdifferentviews and my perceptions might be correct, but there are many more perceptions that could be better than mine. I share one slide from the presentation for you to enjoy. As much as measuring perception is difficult, it proved to be an inspirational journey. I wonder if we could co-author a post on LinkedIn. I assure you that it shall be a worthy exercise. It shall cause dormant seeds to open up and new hybrids of idea thoughts to come from nowhere. It shall be a canvas for accommodating different thoughts with lovely colors and shapes emerging out.
  23. 23. 23 Customers Journey Maps Coupled to Social Media CustomersJourneyMaps(CJMs)areexcellenttoolstomonitorthesentiments of customers at each touch point. Customers vent out their feelings on social media. Coupling CJMs with social media offers a great potential for improving our understanding of customers by revealing their delight and paints at each touch point. Let me start with a case of an eye hospital to see how this coupling between CJMs and social media work together. The customer journey to the eye hospital may be represented as is shown in the figure below:
  24. 24. 24 The journey starts with reviewing comments and reviews on social media platforms and asking friends. The search phase provides the first impression on hospitals, surgeons, staff, quality of service and other issues.Firstimpressionsaredominantanditisofparamountimportance that a hospital has good image. Make appointment is the next step. Again, this is an early stage of the customer journey and making the customer feel delighted is of crucial importance, yet; there are many complaints on social media on the tediousness of this stage. Patients are sensitive and worry about their health. Thejourneygoeson.Reviewingcommentsontheinternetandscanning tweets show clearly that there are many issues that need immediate attention. The next figure shows examples of complaints.
  25. 25. 25 Extractingawordcloudfromcommentsandtweetsrevealtheflowingimage. Appointmentsandwaitingareamongthemajorissueeyepatientstweeton. A screenshot of the sentiments of tweets shows that there are many things desired to improve the services of eye hospitals. Mostly the complaints are not related to the surgery as much as they are related to emotional and hygienic factors.
  26. 26. 26 As for the LISAC surgeries, there are mixed pleasant and unpleasant feelings. Social media provides great information to superimpose on customers Journey Maps so as to easily spot the delight and pains at each touch point. The example of an eye hospital may be extended to all business activities. It is amazing how emotionally interacting with customers plays a significant role in building customers’ loyalty. I would say this approach may also help in calculating the Customer Net Score for each touch point. Knowing the problem and when and where it occurs shall go a long way in building the right business strategies.We have the tools and our creativity in coupling/superimposing them will surely show businesses the way to go.
  27. 27. 27 Epidemic Ideas- at the crossroads LinkedInissurelyanideacarrier.AsIwasscreeningtheLinkedInhomepage so many posts passed y my eyes. Suddenly my eyes froze on an image shared by Angelina Kukkamalla. If your heart and mind work in the same direction then success would be attainable. We have all experienced the controversy of your hear saying do it, but your mind saying don›t do it. There is an internal conflict and we consume
  28. 28. 28 energy thinking what to do. We might end up procrastinating or doing what we do without being fully engaged. The rapid bifurcation between do and don›t do is stressful. if you decide on following your mind you may regret that decision as your heart hate to be a loser. It is a win: lose situation and isn›t therefore the best one. Your mind and heart are pulling against each other and this internal conflict may rush the decision to take this side or the other. We constantly live this struggle. A child cries and we may rush to please him/her by giving him/her the bar of chocolate on demand even though we shouldn›t because the child is rapidly gaining weight. In business we face similar issues. This ambivalence of simultaneously experiencing or expressing opposing or contradictory feelings, beliefs, or motivations is again tiring and may not give the optimal decisions. Is there a way to make the heart and mind work in the same direction and be in harmony with each other? Is a there a sweet spot or zone in which the heart and mind may overlap and create a sweet bonding zone in which we satisfy our hearts and minds? We have to spend energy to get energy. Conflicts are spontaneous; finding
  29. 29. 29 winning solutions aren›t. We have to be creative to channel our minds and hearts to the same direction. Have you had an issue with your mind conflicting with your heart? How did you resolve the issue? I believe that this is a worthy topic to exchange views about. Surely, few of us have considered divorce- the mind says yes, but the heart says no for the sake of children You have served in a job for long times. It is time to leave.Your mind says do it, but your heart says no for it is hard to dispose of long memories in the place. You have a job offer in a foreign country.Your mind says yes, but heart says no for the sake of children You want to take a loan to travel- your mind says no, but heart says yes to please the family You want to buy a new car- your heart says yes to taking a loan, but your minds warns you off. We experience ambivalences between ethics and needs, between fear of a boss and being loyal to your values and so many other situations. I would love to hear your thoughts
  30. 30. 30 Creative Surprises My good friend Brad Fergusson shared the image below on LinkedIn. The image triggered many thoughts in my mind that I couldn’t escape from. Simple and slightly curved lines resulted in a surprising landscape. Is that not what businesses aspire for by finding simple ways to produce a landscape that is appealing for the consumer? Aren’t storytellers in the same boat as they move storylines to produce suspense, surprise and shock that move readers and fill them with excitement? It is always the simple that produces the marvelous. Let the consumers and readers marvel from what you produce using creatively simple ideas? I dare say that the most successful businesses are those ones that come up with delightful surprises. Let us start with a simple example. In soccer just think of a goal that still
  31. 31. 31 registers in your mind. Why does it register and attracts millions of views on YouTube? It is likely the scoring effort started from simple movements of the ball until the goal scorer surprises us with a scissor-like shot that goes straight in the goal: simple lines of ball movement which culminated in a surprising goal-scoring effort. We tend to remember magical moments. Familiar events produce familiar results. It takes creativity to turn the familiar unfamiliar. Surprises are a great way of shaking us out of our comfort zone and help us generate new endings. Like in soccer, it is the forward who is in charge of scoring. Changing lines and bringing the defense to the frontline to score is a surprising event for the opponent. Shock the Expectations Aneaglefliesdownbeforeitsoarsup.Likewise;downgradeaproductbefore promoting it to a higher level. Your business might achieve unbelievable resultsthisway.Youmaybesellingsuitsandfewofthemhaveminordefects. Advertise that those customers who find the defected suits shall get it free and%10discount.Youarepromotingdefectedproducts,aren’tyou?Yes,but also you are filling customers with curiosity to find the defected suits. More important is the customers shall trust you for being open about defects that can’t be easily found. In the short term you shall sell more because of the curiosity factor combined with the shock factor that you promote defected suits. In the long term you sell more because you have gained the trust of your customers. Shock the expectations of your employees. If you want to get the best out of them then surprise them. Surprises take them out of the familiar and they shall be then more creative. Surprise your customers. Go the extra mile. You know of a good influencer. Watch what S/H writes about and what aspires for. Make that dream come true. Surprise them by making their dreams come true. Be the Aladdin and the magic Lamp. But change the line of thought and twist it a little bit. All people think of happy occasions such as birthdays. This is the familiar and is not totally correct. People need you in sad times. A small gesture during those times will be implanted in the hearts of your customers. Surprise your customers when they are the peak of their misery. Remember thatadropofwaterthatyougivetoathirstypersonisworthabottleofwater to a person who isn’t in need for it. Need exfoliates the value of whatever you surprise your customers with.
  32. 32. 32 Two Revealing Business Metaphors Business dynamics are complex. Businesses need to sell to customers to succeed. They need to retain customers and acquire new ones. These are basic facts, but as simple as they appear, they are complex issues. Customer loyalty, customer retention and customer attraction are dynamic and change with time. Are there metaphors that help us in improving our understanding of these issues? In this post I offer two metaphors that would shed some light on these issues and, hopefully, they may lead to bettered customer attraction and retention. The first metaphor is flowers: natural (cut) and artificial (silky) flowers. The second metaphor is dolls: natural babies versus manufactured dolls. Why people prefer natural flowers or artificial ones? I did a Google search and may derive few conclusions. Research is consistent with the observation that people use appearances to make judgments about realities. Flowers attract by their appearances, by their smell, by their cleanliness, by their meaning, by their arrangement and by their availability. Flowers are part of home and office decorations.They are also part of our good occasions such as birthdays, weddings and graduation as much as they are part of our sad occasions such as funerals. So, why would people prefer cut flowers over silky flowers? Are there lessons for business?
  33. 33. 33 I extracted the following comments: Artificial flowers collect dust (convenience factor) Fresh flowers on the other hand bring the freshness of nature in a home (lifestyle factor) If you want to woo your woman, buy her real flowers (attraction factor) weigh your options and make your choice based on your budget and what type of wedding you are having (Cost factor) Silk wedding flowers are very lightweight, making bouquets much easier to handle and to transport. (convenience factor) Silk flowers don›t need watering and are much more durable (no worrying about delicate blooms falling apart, sagging, or being stomped on by your flower girl!). (Convenience and attraction factors) gorgeous on your 25th anniversary as it did on your wedding day (durability factor) -- a silk version of a more common flower will likely be significantly more costly. (cost factor) The materials of silk flowers do not subject workers to any hazards. (health factor) Flowers made from rubber enjoy the rubbery effect, which make them feel like realflowers.(Perceptionfactor) We can offer artificial flowers which smell like the real thing (perception factor) … Once the hay fever disappears people shall go back to natural (health factor) also silk flowers don›t attract insects like bees and wasps (health factor)
  34. 34. 34 People choices between two options differ because of natural selection, price, attraction, health and convenience factors. Some factors are temporal such as hay fever season in which people tend increasingly to silk flowers. Attracting the other sex, feeling comfortable and part of the nature are more lasting factors. And they are intangible factors. The dynamics may force or prompt people to go against their natural selection, but once those temporal factors are gone people revert to type. People have the pain of watering cut flowers, but they have the joy of seeing them grow, blossom, change color, change shape, fall and rise, sleeping and awakening, and even dying. Cut flowers become part of us much more than silk flowers.The pain is offset by the delight of seeing them happily growing. They reflect our needs to self-actualize, blossom, to flower and achieve and to produce fragrance around us. Business that want to only survive, but also grow need to act like fresh cut flowers spreading beauty, fragrance, variety and appearances before they need to worry about prices. The greater the fragrance is the less impacting is the price. This is a hugely important fact as businesses have now mostly a narrowpriceadvantagetomovetotheblueocean.Itistheintangiblefactors that determine mostly the dynamics of the market. The greater the value of intangibles is, the less is the impact of price. Loyalty comes as a natural product. We love flowers because they give fulfill our senses. Likewise;
  35. 35. 35 businesses need to act like cut flowers and only when health and prices are beyond control they may offer the silk one. Babies enjoy baby dolls. This is one way traffic as there is no feedback from the doll. Dolls don’t grow. Don’t have feelings. We may dress them, make them smell great, but they are still dolls. It is unfortunate that some businesses still view customers as dolls. They show no concern for the customer post doing the business. That is what surveys reveal by showing that %68 of customers churn because of lack of customer care. Treat your customers as cut flowers and not as silk flowers or dolls- only do that when market dynamics require that. But then, don’t lose touch with your customers. Make tangible and intangible factors work in the same direction whenever possible. Remember that no matter how good the food is if cleanliness is in doubt, servers are unfriendly, or food layout is not appealing …your appetite dries off. Don’t dry up the appetite of your customers to deal with you. Dr.VincenzodeFloriomadeacommentononeofmyrecentpoststhatcustomers’ satisfaction is a dynamic issue. This comment triggered the idea of this post. I thank dear Vincenco for his inspirational comment. I hope he comments more.
  36. 36. 36 To Be Different Is Not Enough Be different Don›t be sheep among the sheep Use differentiation strategies to stand out Do not get lost in the crowds If you dare to be different then you dare to be yourself The above are just few examples of urging people and their works to be different. Differences catch the eye and stick in the memories of people. Even small differences may get you out of the crowd. If businesses work till evening hours why not stretch the time to late hours? You might not have many customers, but you shall have mostly needy customers with no option but to seek your services. You become their salvage and they shall remember you for your timely help.
  37. 37. 37 The above are just few examples of urging people and their works to be different. Differences catch the eye and stick in the memories of people. Even small differences may get you out of the crowd. If businesses work till 5pm why not stretch the time to late hours. You might not have many customers, but you shall have mostly needy customers with no option but to seek your services. You become their salvage and they shall remember you for your timely help. Differentiation is a great strategy as long as it is accompanied by quality and timely work. Imagine you are invited to a party. It was night and on the way you dropped something on your suit. You have no option except for turning back home to change the suit. It was getting too late to do that and this delay was compounded by the heavy traffic. All of a sudden you see a laundry service working for late hours. You go there and they clean your suit fast and efficiently. You have a great word of mouth for them. But what if they make the suit worse than it was? There is little point in being different without being quality business. You run an airline company that has the lowest price than all competitors. That is a strong and favorable differentiation. be careful for if a customer misses a business meeting because the flight was to late to make up for the slack time you anticipated enough then the real cost of the flight was more
  38. 38. 38 than the savings you made initially. Cost of ticket + Cost of losing business + Cost of losing face + Cost of making bad decisions for making them while stressed + Intangible costs Using the Blue Ocean Strategy as for differentiating products and services is a great one- but with the realization that being different is not enough or sufficient to keep the momentum of your business going on. Differentiation attracts the eye and gives you the opportunity to be noticed. But grasping this potential has its requirements. Never allow the deferred pains of differentiation outweigh the immediate delight of being different. Imagine that you see a group of women and one of them stands out in her beauty.Sheisadifferentclassofbeautythanyouhaveeverseen.Youapproach herandintalkingtoheryoufindoutthatherinterestsareboring,herbehavior is repulsive, her knowledge is shallow, her charisma is poor and her interests are repulsive. Would you marry her? Instead of a beautiful woman now a beautiful product with the same shortcomings? Customers expectations will soon be disappointed and away they shall run. Be different, but with quality. Deserve to be different
  39. 39. 39 Questions as a Business Tool Not all questions have the same value. Some questions have an «irritation value» and all they do is antagonize the customer. On the other end there are questions thatminecustomerinformation. Why do you like this soft drink? Because it makes me feel fresh. There is an opportunity here that freshness is an issue f the customer that would be worthy of exploration. May be the customer cares for fresh meet than frozen meet and it is the seller job to find out. Have you ever heard somebody telling you «thanks for your questions as it reminds me of so and so…). Think about it and you shall find out that your question was the trigger for a selling opportunity. Was your question a trigger of a habit that evoked in the mind of your customer? Habit selling is a great way to sell more. What products associate with our habits? You shall find sea of opportunities. In the Middle East people always drink water and Turkish coffee. It is a habit. What are the hidden habits that your questions would bring to the surface? What car would you buy if you have no restrictions whatsoever would you buy? A family car that makes every member of the family comfortable- a sign that te interviewee cars for the interests of other. A stable car that is solid to shocks- a sign this person is risk-avert. May be a
  40. 40. 40 financial position would suit him/her. A fancy car that draws attention- may be a good candidate for coming up with differentiating ideas Availability of maintenance and spare parts- may be a good candidate for crisis management Same car as the one I have- a high loyalty person that wouldn›t leave you for competitors. A car with open roof- may be a good candidate with high affection for transparency The previous questions may help us in profiling employees. May be one question isn›t enough, but more assurances may be found from asking one or two more questions. Why do you ask? It is none of your business is another facet of using way and questions the wrong way. We turn a good tool into a bad one. We don›t get an answer if we don›t ask; equally important is asking the proper questions. So many times I experienced the value of «targeted questions». This helped me why patients didn›t go to a hospital.The internal painting was red and this color meant death to most patients? Why do you buy the long bar chocolate and not the short bar one? Because the long one weighs more. This was the answer even though the label in foreign language said they both weighed 50 grams exactly. The trick was to make the long bar longer and sell even more of it. The idea worked. Asking question is an opportunity only if we use it correctly.
  41. 41. 41 The Landscape of Questioning Trends have their spillover effects. The fast dissipation of smart phones has propelled the trend of even changing cars to be smart phones as well. The landscape of cars is changing fast and is exemplary of rapid changes in our lives. This post aims at exploring the emerging trends in the car industry as a proxy to how changes are affecting our consumerism patterns. First, I shall explore the “forest” of the car industry before moving into inspecting the trees (cars). Just a hovering spectrum of what issues people discuss about cars may help in seeing the emerging landscape of the car industry. For example, a visual map by analyzing the most recent tweets on cars produced the figure below. I extracted data using NodeXLl software.
  42. 42. 42 Figure -1 Tweets about cars The above figure shows lots of hubs with each hub sharing a special interest about cars. We can see that interests spread over many different car issues. The varying interests of tweets about cars will show therefore a spread on why people buy cars, what different motivation we may generate that are aligned with the corresponding why people cars and then how to satisfy the interests of customers. This approach is not limited to cars, and may be also extended to any product. In summary, we need to: Read the customer mind- why does the customer buy a car? What you can do to fulfill the customers’wants and need/ How to do it? The Balanced Approach TohaveabalancedapproachwealsoneedtoknowthedarksideoftheGolden Circle (Why, How andWhat).Why people don’t buy cars? In life sometimes we need to know why not before knowing why. Knowing the why no helps in removing the barriers to accepting a product or service. There are many surveys on cars. Inspection of those surveys is consistent with the findings from Twitter search that people have widespread interests of why to buy a car or not. For example, young graduates from college tend to move to the big city. A car would only complicate their lives - instead of a car,
  43. 43. 43 they take a taxi or rent a car for a trip out of town. And this way, they don›t have to pay exorbitant parking fees when the car is not needed. The inconvenience of owning a car supersedes the convenience of owning it. There are tweets on how car manufacturers are targeting urban customers with cars that help them deal with these inconveniences. It is a targeted effort as Toyota describes itself as Mobility Provider. People are showing increasing spill-over trend of having a car that has the features of smart phones. The window screen may be developed into a screen that gives information while driving. This trend is obvious from the next figure, based on published data Fig. -2 why people buy a car (data taken from : http://adamgoldfein.com/car- buying-advice-reasons-to-buy-new-cars2-/#sthash.p0uU0jaf.dpuf
  44. 44. 44 Economic factors are playing also a key role in buying a car. Cost of cars, maintenance and repair costs and petrol costs among factors that make people buy cars. Those people who can afford luxury cars wants “pile of delights” to tempt them to buy. As we can see the landscape of cars is changing rapidly and no one factor alone would answer the why question. There is an interesting and emerging phenomenon to make the purchase of a car more delightful. Imagine being able to charge your car while driving, having roadmaps on the screen, getting information on crowded roads, street repairs and dusty roads. People have their aspirations from smart phones and these aspirations are extending to cars. Car manufacturers are not only seller of cars; they sell more mobility, convenience, hassle-free driving, informative screens and “piles of delights”. People don’t like to drive in foggy atmosphere or dusty roads. People want the car to be smart and warn them in advance of these risks. The landscape of the Why question is complex and this is reflecting on the complexity of the and how questions. Would a linear thinking be enough to tacklethiscomplexity,whichisfurthermademorecomplexbythecustomers changing emotional and functional needs? We need to establish the why and why not landscape before venturing into the what and how landscapes.
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  46. 46. 46 Business Tools and Ideas

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