Ask Anna Wintour what makes a good article for Vogue, and she’ll answer you in a heartbeat. She won’t think about it or consider the question carefully… she just knows, by reflex.
A few years ago, Cubby Broccoli figured out the formula for how to make a James Bond movie. Once he confirmed he had something that worked, the formula became a reflex for him and his team.
Of course, it’s not just media reflexes. Ask a scientist a question and her reflex is to give you an answer that relies on her area of specialty. Sort of that, "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail…" thing.
One web designer I know loves rollovers. Another abhors them. By reflex, when solving a design problem, they go with their strength. Every time.
There are macro-reflexes, like the temptation to spend money to build a new brand. And there are micro-reflexes, like the desire to scrawl notes on a legal pad whenever you’re at a seminar.
Consumers have reflexes, too. The reflex to just hang up on a telemarketer. The reflex to believe an ad if it looks official enough. The reflex to ignore whatever we hear on the radio.
Reflexology is critically important in living our lives and doing our jobs. Without a reflex answer, an innate instinct of what to do, you’d have to spend all your time starting over. We’d never get to read another Parker novel. And being a cop or a fireman would be essentially impossible.
You already know where I’m going with this, because as a reader of my blog you’ve developed a reflex that kicks in about this far in a post. The reflex, of course, has a downside.
The downside is that your reflex, the one that often gets you out of a jam, is exactly the same reflex that makes you stale. It’s exactly the same reflex that keeps you from seeing the obvious solution that you didn’t notice.
One reason newbies succeed so often in fast-changing markets is that they don’t have a reflex! They don’t get the benefits of the reflex, but they also are able to see what you can’t.
Do you have a hammer? What’s it look like?