Disarming blamers

What harm is not done by blaming! Relationships are being destroyed, progress is hindered, and most violently people’s ambitions are being belittled.

That man knows what it’s about, who doesn’t find it easy to ignore the blamers because their eloquence hits him in the head with a brick.

What better way is there than to battle with blamers?

In short, take responsibility.

Put blame to its knees by saying, “I don’t know what happened exactly or who did it but I take full responsibility for it. Now, how can we turn this around?”

Leadership means putting yourself on the line.

I am tempted to believe that this kind of an act is the only way of transforming an environment of blame to something where important work can be done.

Bear Bryant the American college football coach once said that it was impossible for any of his players to make a mistake during a football game. And and all mistakes were his, because as a coach, he was solely and completely responsible for preparing his athletes to play error-free football.

Maybe this seems like a harsh standard to live up to, but that’s just the way it is.

They killed Socrates. Market like a poet..

…all ways and always.

Marketing is irrational.

There is a science to it but it’s mostly irrational. It’s storytelling. It’s not about being right. It’s about stirring men’s blood.

Poor indeed is the response the marketer gets who markets like a philosopher.

He tries to be right. He tries to appeal to reason. He can prove that his system works. He shows how his innovation is more effective.

But he forgets the irrational part. He forgets that his most rational customer is making irrational decisions, decisions that are driven by totally unreasonable stories he is telling himself.

A customer, who’s appetite for rationality must submit to his desire to calming the screaming voice inside his head. The voice that screams about his boss, the risk, the hassle of making a change, and what other people will think when he tells them what he’s done after he bought from you.

Appeal to irrationality. Appeal to feelings. Market like a poet.

Wasted silence

The greatest marketing resource of any company is their powerusers. Yet, most companies never realize this because they loose them way before they even have the chance to tap into their power.

A poweruser told me, “After I buy something from people, they never follow up. That’s when I decide to never buy anything from them ever again. That’s when I realize they’ve put on a show to only make a buck and they’re selfish.”

If they’d call him, asking him questions with the same level of attention and care they did before the sale, he would buy more.

That’s multiple 10,000s of dollars worth of advertisement wasted right there – in caring only as much as to make one sale – not two.

Follow up.


Ancient Sparta’s spokesman was not so ancient

Not much is known about Pythermus other than his marketing stunt that helped him make it to history.

What do you say to grab the attention of a crowded marketplace? How loud do you need to scream to capture the multitude’s attention?

What would really do it?

How much louder do you need to be than everybody else?

According to history, not much.

The historian says, “In order to draw together as large an audience as possible, he clothed himself in a purple garment, and so attired stood forth to speak.”

Purple robes were expensive and an attractive spectacle amid the plain universal clothing at Sparta.

Nonetheless, being different does not lead to attention by itself. You need to do the opposite of hiding, too(We call it STANDING out for a reason).

Pythermus wouldn’t have made it to history if he hadn’t done both.

It’s easy to ignore the shouters.
It’s not easy to ignore the whisper of a friend: “There’s somebody in a purple robe.”

Who will miss you if you were gone?

One thing that unites all successful companies is that they’re not in the business of pleasing everyone.

Deciding not to be for everyone gives them the courage to ignore everyone else except the people who they care about. This is important because companies need to go to the edges, they do have to appeal to one or more extremes. If they don’t, then they’re boring, nobody talks about boring which means the company is not getting attention.

If a company doesn’t get any attention there is no way to build trust.

Trust is fragile. Companies often loose trust for the short term push for more attention.

Then, where does trust really come from?

Trust comes from actions, or better said, the actions we think the company or person takes. It comes from people doing the right thing when they think nobody is watching.

Trust does not always come from being more transparent.

I put my life into the hands of the pilot that’s going to fly the plane. I put my life into the hands of the surgeon, without knowing how many patients he cut open, and how many operations he succeeded at.

To build trust we must understand the impact outside appearances have when there is not much transparency that could build trust.

  1. Do we look like an organisation that is trustworthy?
  2. Do we display honesty where we really did not have to?
  3. Do we show up before we have to?
  4. Do we show consumers that people like them trust us?
  5. Do we give them ways to discover that we’re doing the right thing when nobody is watching?
  6. Do we do it in a way that is subtle and instead of telling them, letting them discover it themselves?

If we earn people’s attention and trust, and we over-deliver with generosity over and over again – then we have a chance of being missed when we’re gone.