Inspire With Gripping Human Emotions Over Dreary Numbers

Lesson From Big Bang Theory Finale

In this age of big data, we often find ourselves being driven by the numbers. However, being human and allowing ourselves to connect with emotions will lead to more compelling and sustainable engagement. This became especially apparent in the closing episode of Big Bang Theory. When the stoic Sheldon received a Nobel Prize, we expected something much different than what he delivered. Instead of being his usual self-centered self, he delivered a speech from the heart. Along those lines, Sheldon acknowledged that close friends were the partners who contributed to his growth and success. Not only a humble acceptance speech but one that conveyed a collaborative and inviting message.

Relating Sheldon’s speech to our professional goals, we must never forget that customers are people and people have emotions. In spite of Sheldon’s words being written for a popular television show, the takeaway is very real. Although the evolution of a character, such as Sheldon, may seem surreal, it is authentic. We evolve as real people. We are not scripted.

Perhaps this is what poet Oscar Wilde meant when writing that…

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”


Everything Is A Process

My iPhone alarm goes off in the morning and my day begins. I prepare to walk my dog, next I feed then play with him. Subsequently, I eat breakfast then prepare for my workday.

In grad school, thanks to Professor David Schuff, I find myself consciously thinking more purposely about these processes as my day evolves. Do I create Swim Lane or Affinity diagrams as I map out my day or, perhaps, some business modeling is in order? For the most part, nothing elaborate is necessary. However, by bringing higher awareness to my daily processes, I find that I am discovering ways to be efficient whether I am running simple errands or implementing a project and analyzing data for a client. Originally, I had been skeptical when examining the relevance of process in my daily life. However, I now find myself consciously thinking about ways I might take advantage of my new found awareness. In fact, today I thought through processes where I applied learned practices enabling me to effectively address delivering on three ambitious timelines while juggling a myriad of demands.

This level of thinking has also made me a better problem solver when thinking through processes professionally for clients and customers. Have you ever thought more consciously about processes we often take for granted in our daily activities? Or, how you might make these elements work better together by bringing greater process recognition to everyday routines? I think you’ll be surprised by the outcome.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Why Customization?

When buying shoes, shirts, pants, dresses, or suits it would be unimaginable to think that one size fits all. Yet, when solving a business problem many force a solution whether or not it is the best fit.

The rationale I typically have heard is:

  • No reason to reinvent the wheel
  • Cheaper than customization
  • Faster than customization

Basically, this is misinformation. Leveraging experience mitigates total reinvention. In other words, getting it right the first time accounts for great efficiencies. It is insanity to think that “re-do” is productive. Frankly, forcing a canned solution that leads to a faulty outcome is not only more inefficient than a custom approach but leads to poor decision making. A lack of specificity in solutions often results in generic, non-actionable, misdirected outcomes.

Custom solutions empower one to move forward with optimal actions resulting in bottom line effectiveness. Anything short of such outcomes are a waste of time and effort.

Swag On Steroids (SOS)

Have I suddenly found religion? Having recently worked on the client (corporate) side of business, there is something that I must get off of my chest. As marketing research industry conferences begin to kick in, I am seeing excessive gifts and swag offered as incentives to engage with partners and vendors. Giving away trinkets, such as pens or smartphone pop sockets, is one thing but we are talking over the top gifting. Instead of competing on innovation and ideas, vendors are competing on an ability to lore potential clients to their booth with promotional give aways. Who do you think pays for these “gifts?”

I am not naive and understand that some vendors view swag as the cost of growing business. At the same time, would it not be more compelling to engage on ideas rather than on who has the best swag? Given all the conversation on how marketing research spend is lessening due to sophisticated intelligence tools, throwing more swag at clients is a sure way to further cheapen the value of sound marketing research. Conferences present opportunities to learn, network, and reconnect. Let’s return to using our minds rather than our pockets.

Never Forget: Process Involves Real People

When examining process, do not forget that process is not solely about products or objects but real people. The realization struck me when I heard a speaker exclaim, “Everyone should experience an acquisition at least once in their career in order to discover more about process.” This was stated in a positive light. However, having personally been through two acquisitions, I have a different point of view.

Lives are often adversely affected through acquisition. I have observed first-hand top notch CEO’s, CFO’s, CIO’s, directors, managers and all levels of employees losing their jobs due to acquisition.

Typically, those becoming unemployed are informed that their position is redundant. It was not redundant prior to acquisition.

Granted there is a great deal of learning that may occur when IT integration occurs, employees with bills to pay and children to feed are frequently displaced. Moreover, employees’ dismissal has nothing to do with individual performance. Acquisition decisions are made at a higher level.

Although advances in process automation may contribute to fewer employees, we must keep in mind that humans still oversee those processes. Therefore, re-training should be top of radar. Displacing people, as a function of an acquisition, is not something we should relish nor ever take lightly.