Contribution

Before we throw away ‘adding value‘ as another cliche. Is this not a decision we make with every business interaction?

We can decide to make things better or we can decide to leave them as they are.

We can of course also decide to destroy, erode or take away some of the existing value.  

Perhaps contribute is a better term than adding value.

And easy for me to decide in every interaction whether I can contribute something to what is already there, or not.

Easy for me to decide in every interaction whether I can contribute something to what is already there, or not.

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Looking back to learn

Looking forward is useful. It can however be a distraction from a hard look at our current strategies.

Our current strategies are best evaluated reflectively by looking back at their origin. What made a lot of sense in the past may no longer apply. My response to events in the past may be ill suited today. The emotional reaction to a previous experience probably made more sense then than now. Yesterday’s solution may be irrelevant.

Pushing forward without a candid look at where our strategies originated can lock us into a limiting pattern.

Reflecting with a view of the future gives me the most chance of success.

Reflecting with a view of the future gives me the most chance of success.

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Heuristics

When something is complicated we can use a heuristic as a short cut. Heuristics simplify the complicated into something more familiar and on our own terms.

An ‘educated guess’ is a common heuristic. It allows us to reach a conclusion without having to research a problem in depth. Another example of a heuristic is ‘common sense’. We can apply ‘common sense’ to decision making allowing us to find an answer based on our experience and our observation of a particular problem.

There are other ‘unnamed’ heuristics such as when we briefly recount the main points of a story to a friend, when neither of us have the time to go throw the full blow by blow account.

The heuristic is a useful shortcut to explain something without going into all the detail.

It however runs the risk that the short cuts I use may not be the same short cuts you understand. My heuristics are influenced by my bias, as are yours.

News as delivered by newspapers, television and radio is never really news. It’s not what really happened. With a short space of time and space (billboards and banner ads), news is a heuristic for the journalist to communicate what happened. Both their own and their publications’ bias get rolled in with the story.

This is why news should be regarded with some scepticism. The journalists’  heuristic and our own heuristic are unlikely to be the same.

Rather than believe what has been written, we should be figuring out the journalists’ heuristic.

Heauristics are useful as a short cut for a long story but they are not the same as the long story because they include the bias of the writer.

Original image 

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I only need 1%

Many budding entrepreneurs base their business strategies on the premise that, “The market it worth gazillions and all I need is 1% of that to have a viable business.”

If only it were so simple.

Most businesses will fail with this approach.  Markets are built by people who have worked hard for each percentage that they hold. They do not give up percentages without a fight.

If it was easy,  there would already be five other businesses grabbing their 1%.

Existing players have lots of experience operating in their market. A new business will take months and years to get to know customer needs and supplier capabilities in the same way.

Thinking about taking 1% of the market is not strategic.

What is strategic is deciding why and how you will get your share of the market starting with the first 1%.

Getting 1% of the market is easier said than done

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Give me sticks and stones any day

“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” – source unknown

Words however can hurt, can’t they?

A word said in malice can eat away at our beliefs for years. 

Many a person can still cite a childhood injury, meted out in the playground by a harsh tongue.

Families are fertile grounds for words that have lasted longer, even than the people who have said them.

It is true that sticks and stones can break my bones. They, however mostly heal.

The hurt from words tend to stick around a lot longer. 

Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me is false

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Bad Powerpoints

‘Presentation’ is not a good name for standing up in front of people telling them about a concept or idea.

The word is too impersonal. A ‘presentation’ sounds like something which is not central to us. A presentation is something we are a part of, a bystander to. ‘I’m doing a presentation’ is different to ‘I am making an appearance’ or ‘I have a performance’.

Which is why an artist making an appearance or a performance would never tolerate the inane crap that is somehow acceptable for presentations.

“I’m sorry I have quite a few slides so I will go through them quickly.”

“The text on this slide is quite small, let me read it for you.”

“Let me see, what was I trying to say on this slide”

Calling it a presentation creates an artificial separation between presenter and what they are presenting.  
 
Shouldn’t a presentation really be about presenting ourselves, together with the idea or concept we are trying to put across? All as one?

If we called it an appearance we would definitely take more care not to stand up and show slide of after slide of written notes.

If we were doing a performance we would need to take pride in every aspect of what we shared, because it is our performance. There are no slides to blame. 

Often people will string together presentations devoid of any humanity by taking endless facts and putting them onto Powerpoint slides. It is almost as if they are ok with being boring because it is not really them, it is just a presentation. 

The next time we have a presentation, let’s think about it differently.

I’m making a performance. I’m making an appearance. I’m putting on a show. My show.

Now, what am I putting into my show? How am I putting my message across and how would I like it received?

After all, it is you that can make the connection with your audience, not your slides. 

Instead of doing a presentation, let us make an appearance or have a peformance

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Communication #2

It is never guaranteed that the intentions I have when I communicate with you will be realised. 

The process of transmission from one person to another is fraught with many obstacles which can distort the message. 

In fact if you really think about it, it is remarkable that we understand each other at all.

The process of transmission from one person to another is fraught with many obstacles which can distort the message. In fact if you really think about it, it is remarkable that we understand each other at all. 

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