Business Growth Ideas #309 This week: Choices, Behaviors, Anthropology

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • The question, “What would you do if you had no restraints, if you could do anything?” is good to ponder. Adding a time  restraint makes it even better. A day. Week. Month. Year.
  • Understanding the world from another’s point of view is so difficult it has its own field of study. Anthropology. If an alien asked you to describe your worldview, where would you start? Like they say, a fish has no idea water is wet. 
  • The extremes are fascinating because they are extremes. Most life happens in the middle, and seems unremarkable. If events or “hot takes” catch your attention remind yourself that it’s probably an outlier. Treat it as such.
  • I’m learning more about cooking. Such as, the expert cooking of meat is important, but the real fun comes from sauces and other seasonings. So it is for most things. The more you know what to look for, the more there is to see.

Being Human – Behaviors vs experience

“The prevalence of factual data in anthropological monographs stems. . .from an attitude of ‘when in doubt, collect fact.'”
– Nigel Barley

The Innocent Anthropologist

One way I help clients is with finding new people for important roles. We spend most of our time talking about the future because  the organization of the future will not look like it does right now. Even if there is an immediate opening to fill. For this reason it helps when leadership has a shared idea of where the firm is going. You can’t predict the future, but you can predict about where your organization will be, and the skill sets needed when you’re there.

The key to this is not getting tied up in the experiences your new hires will need, but focusing on the behaviors they will need to exhibit. It opens up the possible hiring pool and if the skill set needed is a few years in the future, allows you to plan a learning path for the new team member. Some candidates will have the experience now, some will have the talent without the right experience, and some will have talent alone.

I thought a lot about this as I read the book, “The Innocent Anthropoligist, Notes from a Mud Hut,” by Nigel Barley. It’s about the author’s adventures observing the Dowayo people of northern Cameroon. As he described an anthropologist’s field work I thought, this is the exact skillet sales and marketing. The prospect’s organization is like the foreign Dowayo people. They have their own beliefs and systems, and your sales/marketing team should act like anthropologists. Spending time doing field work, learning everything about them.

It’s a stretch, I know, but it’s real. I haven’t run into many trained anthropologists in my time, but I’ll be on the lookout for them in the future. I know how say, trained educators do in sales because they have learned behaviors for communicating complex ideas, simply. Now I think I’ll dig up an anthropology major to put in a marketing role.

If you know any, send them my way. I have questions.

Random stuff


“Oh, Mexico
It sounds so simple, I just got to go
The sun’s so hot I forgot to go home
Guess I’ll have to go now” – Sweet Baby James


My lovely bride and I are about to celebrate 30 years together. Knowing this, earlier this year I booked a quick celebration trip to fit between her school’s academic quarters. This meant we would roll through the fun and family during Thanksgiving and head out Sunday morning, getting to the beach in the afternoon.

I brought my beach reads, including the aforementioned “Innocent Anthropologist” and it put me in an observational mood. I wasn’t spending time in a tribe all that different from my own, but I came away with some new facts to fit into my scaffolding, as they say.

  • The Mexican bartender in our resort actually makes Margaritas. Especially for family gatherings. His favorite is the Classico. 1-1-1, tequila blanco, Cointreau, lime.
    (I think. It was late. I had a few.)
  • The young beach waiter who looked Mexican but grew up in Georgia was charming, but had a little friction with his manager. In my head it’s because his Spanish accent wasn’t up to par, yet his tips from Americans were probably great.
  • The Greek shipping magnate family’s “Opi” didn’t have “the Corona,” he told us sans mask. I did see him dutifully wearing one around his grandkids. (I’ve told you how my wife writes quick backstories? He seemed like a shipping magnate. Not confirmed, though his brother spent a lot of time on the phone doing “business” as far as we could tell.)
  • The floaty ocean guy who expertly body surfed his big hairy self to shore used to be a lifeguard. When he had more hair on his head than on his back. The bulk helps with buoyancy.
  • Watching someone body surf to shore is no way to train for body surfing yourself to shore in rough waters. It looked more fun than it was. I now have an unexplained purple bruise across the middle of my back as proof of learning.
  • Living in a land-locked location makes the sounds of the ocean much more hypnotic. Either that or my lovely bride’s sound machine has trained me to fall asleep within minutes of hearing the rhythmic whoosh-whoosh of waves crashing into the shore.
  • Finally, the sounds of kids playing on the beach is joy. Oh, and ancient ruins are amazing.

I need to take more/better notes. I guess I’ll just have to go back and study these peoples further. My inner mad gringo says so.


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