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Organization has its effects

If you take a group of people, a subgroup of the larger population, and expose them to focused messages again and again, you will start to change their point of view. If you augment those messages with exposure to other members of the group, the messages will begin to have ever more impact.

If the group becomes aligned, and it starts acting like a tribe, those messages will become self-reinforcing. And finally, if you anoint and reward leaders of this tribe, single them out for positive attention because of the way your message resonated with them, it will become fully baked in.

That's a lot of power. Probably too much for the selfish marketer, lobbyist or demagogue to have at his disposal.

Curiosity was framed

Avoid it at your peril. The cat's not even sick. (HT to C. J. Cherryh)

If you don't know how it works, find out.

If you're not sure if it will work, try it.
If it doesn't make sense, play with it until it does.

If it's not broken, break it.

If it might not be true, find out.

And most of all, if someone says it is none of your business, prove them wrong.

The worst kind of clock

…is a clock that's wrong. Randomly fast or slow.

If we know exactly how much it's wrong, then it's not so bad.

If there's no clock, we go seeking the right time. But a wrong clock? We're going to be tempted to accept what it tells us.

What are you measuring? Keeping track of the wrong data, or reading it wrong is worse than not keeping track at all.

Hurrying almost always makes it take longer

If you don't have time to do it right, how will you find time to do it over?

(In Swahili: Haraka Haraka haina Baraka….)

PS stalling is even worse than hurrying.

The simple power of one a day

There are at least 200 working days a year. If you commit to doing a simple marketing item just once each day, at the end of the year you've built a mountain. Here are some things you might try (don't do them all, just one of these once a day would change things for you):

  • Send a handwritten and personal thank you note to a customer
  • Write a blog post about how someone is using your product or service
  • Research and post a short article about how something in your industry works
  • Introduce one colleague to another in a significant way that benefits both of them
  • Read the first three chapters of a business or other how-to book
  • Record a video that teaches your customers how to do something
  • Teach at least one of your employees a new skill
  • Go for a ten minute walk and come back with at least five written ideas on how to improve what you offer the world
  • Change something on your website and record how it changes interactions
  • Help a non-profit in a signficant way (make a fundraising call, do outreach)
  • Write or substiantially edit a Wikipedia article
  • Find out something you didn't know about one of your employees or customers or co-workers

Enough molehills is all you need to have a mountain.

Last reminder

The application deadline for my free non-profit session is Friday morning. Also, only 13 early bird tickets left for the weekend seminar. Thanks.

“Well deserved”

This is one of the nicest things you can say to someone who just got good news.

"Congratulations" is fine for winning the lottery, but "well deserved" is reserved for people who put in the effort and the time and took the risk to get somewhere.

The interesting thing is that we get to choose what sort of prizes we're in line for. It seems to me that vying for the ones that come with "well deserved" makes more sense than merely spinning the wheel over and over.

The people who came before you

Maybe I'm not listening to your pitch because the 100 people who came before you abused my trust, stole my time and disrespected my attention.

Perhaps I'm not buying from you because the last time someone like you earned my trust, he broke my heart.

People are never irrational. They often act on memories and pressures that you're unaware of, though.

I want to put you in a category

When I meet you or your company or your product or your restaurant or your website, I desperately need to put it into an existing category, because the mental cost of inventing a new category for every new thing I see is too high.

I am not alone in this need. In fact, that's the way humans survive the onslaught of newness we experience daily.

Of course, you can refuse to be categorized. You can insist that it's unfair that people judge you like this, that the categories available to you are too constricting and that your organization and your offering are too unique to be categorized.

If you make this choice, the odds are you will be categorized anyway. But since you didn't participate, you will be miscategorized, which is far worse than being categorized.

So choose.

What is this thing? What are you like? Are you friend or foe, flake or leader, good deal or ripoff, easy or hard, important or not? Are you destined for the trusted category or the other one?

Make it easy to categorize you and you're likely to end up in the category you are hoping for.

Six audiences

You get what you focus on. Focus on nothing, and you won't get much.

The successful organization can be focused on any of these constituencies (a partial list):

  • The sales force
  • the stock market
  • potential new customers
  • existing customers
  • employees or
  • the regulators.

Many companies are sales-force driven. When the salesforce is happy, the CEO is happy.

Others organizations are driven by the daily (or hourly) stock price. The company is run to please Wall Street.

You can choose to focus your best work on attracting new customers. This evangelical growth model is going to change your pricing and your product development efforts too.

Contrast this with the organization that puts a priority on delighting existing customers. This will refocus a non-profit on doing work that gets existing donors to up their commitment, for example. It changes the way you talk (more depth) and what you make.

Pleasing employees, of course, might help with any of these constituencies, but also changes how you make difficult decisions.

And finally, if the lawyers have enough sway, you might make your hardest decisions around what you think a regulator will say.

There are also ego choices, like focusing on the media or your neighbors or the competition. And political choices, like focusing on what makes one department head happy… but those are much harder to turn into successful enterprises.

Every organization chooses its own audience, and that choice is based on the architecture of the industry, the mindset of the boss and the history of how you got here. But don't doubt that it changes everything you do.

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