Posts in Excerpts

On the Mismatch Between Employers and Employees

December 10, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “On the Mismatch Between Employers and Employees”

A while back Inc. magazine asked executives at six hundred companies to estimate the percentage of their workforce who could name the company’s top priorities. The executives predicted that 64 percent would be able to name them. When Inc. then asked employees to name the priorities, only 2 percent could do so. This is not the exception but the rule. Leaders are inherently biased to presume that everyone in the group sees things as they do, when in fact they don’t This is why it’s necessary to drastically over-communicate priorities. The leaders I visited with were not shy about this.

Excerpt from: The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

Perfect Pitch Jon Steel

The Importance of Judging a Presentation by its Effect, not its Technical Excellence

December 7, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “The Importance of Judging a Presentation by its Effect, not its Technical Excellence”

In here delightful book, On Speaking Well, Peggy Noonan (who wrote speeches for former Presidents Bush and Reagan) tells a story about Coco Chanel that illustrates this important distinction. Chanel believed that the hallmark of a great dress was that it didn’t call too much attention to itself. Thus if a woman walked into a room wearing one of her dresses and everyone said, “What a fabulous dress!” she had failed. Success came when the woman walked into the room and people said, “You look fabulous!”

In the same way, a presenter fails if people say “What a great presentation!”.

Excerpt from: Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business by Jon Steel

The Small BIG Robert Cialdini

People Underestimate how Much Social Proof Affects their Behaviour

December 5, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “People Underestimate how Much Social Proof Affects their Behaviour”

At a busy New York City subway station we hired researchers to count the number of commuters who donated to a street musician as they walked past.

After a short time a small change was made to the situation that had an immediate and impressive impact. Just before an approaching (and unsuspecting) commuter reached the musician, another person (who was in on the act) would drip a few coins into the musician’s hat in view of the approaching commuter. The result? An eight-fold increase in the number of commuters who chose to make a donations.

In a series of post-study interviews with commuters who did donate, every one of them failed to attribute their action to the fact that they had just seen someone else give money first. Instead they provided alliterative justifications: “I liked the song he was playing”; “I’m a generous person”; and “I felt sorry for the guy.”

Excerpt from: The Small BIG: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence by Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, and Steve Martin

 

The A-Z of Visual Ideas John Ingledew

On the Power of Asking Obvious Questions

December 3, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “On the Power of Asking Obvious Questions”

The barrier created by thinking “I may make a fool of myself if I ask this” can mean that starting points and new directions for thinking remain undiscovered. Always ask the questions that seem too obvious, or those you think you’re supposed to know the answers to. When industrial designer Kenneth Grange was briefed to develop new express trains for British Rail in the 1970s, a seeming naive question popped into his head; “What exactly are the buffers on the locomotive for?” Expecting to be told “They’re to stop the trains crashing into stations, stupid!”, instead he learnt that they were for shunting carriages  — a redundant activity from a bygone era.

Excerpt from: The A-Z of Visual Ideas: How to Solve any Creative Brief by John Ingledew

Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

On Overconfidence Being a Bigger Problem than Incompetence

November 30, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “On Overconfidence Being a Bigger Problem than Incompetence”

We all spend a lot of time complaining about incompetence, but as Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in a talk he gave at High Point University, overconfidence is the far bigger problem. Why? Incompetence is a problem that inexperienced people have, and all things being equal, we don’t entrust inexperienced people with all that much power or authority. Overconfidence is usually the mistake of experts, and we do give them a lot of power and authority. Plain and simple, incompetence is frustrating, but the people guilty of it usually can’t screw things up that bad. The people guilty of overconfidence can do more damage.

Excerpt from: Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

The Power of Making it Personal

November 28, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “The Power of Making it Personal”

Emotions get people to change their behavior. In his show Crowd Control, Dan Pink tried to get people to stop illegally using handicapped parking spots. When Dan’s team changed the handicapped signs so they has a picture of a person in a wheelchair on them, illegal parking in the spots didn’t go down — it topped altogether. Seeing a person’s face, thinking about how someone else might feel, made all the difference.

Excerpt from: Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker

Mazis study into a ban of phosphates in cleaners

The Unintended Consequence of Banning Things is that they may become more Desirable

November 26, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “The Unintended Consequence of Banning Things is that they may become more Desirable”

The second reaction to the the law was more subtle and more general than the deliberate defiance of the smugglers and hoarders. Spurred by the tendency to want what they could no longer have, the majority of Miami consumers came to see phosphate cleaners as better products than before. Compared to Tampa residents, who were not affected by the Dade County ordinance, the citizens of Miami rated phosphates detergents as gentler, more effective in cold water, better whiteners and fresheners, more powerful on stains. Affect passage of the law, they had even come to believe that phosphate detergents poured more easily than did the Tampa consumers.

Excerpt from: Consumer Reaction to Restriction of Choice Alternatives by Michael Mazis and Robert Settle

Rolf Dobelli

On Why we Should Seek out Disconfirming Evidence when Formulating a Theory

November 23, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “On Why we Should Seek out Disconfirming Evidence when Formulating a Theory”

No professionals suffer more from the confirmation bias than business journalists. Often, they formulate an easy theory, pad it out with two or three pieces of ‘evidence’ and call it a day. For example: “Google is so successful because the company nurtures a culture of creativity.” Once the idea is on paper, the journalist corroborates it by mentioning a few other prosperous companies that foster ingenuity. Rarely does the writer seek out disconfirming evidence, which in this instance would be struggling businesses that live and breathe creativity or, conversely, flourishing firms that are utterly uncreative. Both groups have plenty of members, but the journalist simply ignores them. If he or she were to mention just one, the storyline would be ruined.

Excerpt from: The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

Richard Shotton Choice Factory

How Little Shoppers Notice when in Store

November 21, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “How Little Shoppers Notice when in Store”

One successful example was Sainsbury’s in 2004 who realised much supermarket shopping was done in a daze. “Sleep shopping” as they termed it. Shoppers were buying the same items week in, week out — restricting themselves to the same 150 items despite there being 30,000 on offer.

AMV BBDO, Sainsbury’s creative agency, went to great lengths to dramatise the extent of sleep shopping. They hired a man dressed in a gorilla suit and sent him to a Sainsbury’s to do his week’s shopping. They questioned shoppes as they were leaving the store and a surprisingly low percentage had noticed him. When shoppers are on autopilot it’s hard to grab their attention.

Excerpt from: The Choice Factory by Richard Shotton

Mcnamara fallacy

The McNamara Fallacy: The Danger of Ignoring What Can’t be Easily Measured

November 19, 2018 Posted by Excerpts 0 thoughts on “The McNamara Fallacy: The Danger of Ignoring What Can’t be Easily Measured”

The McNamara fallacy (also known as quantitative fallacy), named for Robert McNamara, the United States Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1968, involves making a decision based solely on quantitative observations (or metrics) and ignoring all others. The reason given is often that these other observations cannot be proven.

“The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that what can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that what can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.”

– Daniel Yankelovich “Corporate Priorities: A continuing study of the new demands on business.” (1972)

The fallacy refers to McNamara’s belief as to what led the United States to defeat in the Vietnam War—specifically, his quantification of success in the war (e.g. in terms of enemy body count), ignoring other variables.

Excerpt from: McNamara fallacy, Wikipedia

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