Newsletter #95 – Emotion creates action, Storytelling, Dancing ATMs

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you get more done in less time. . . next week.

In this issue: Emotions in planning

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Planning is complete and now you’re moving to implementation. As you roll out the plan to your team, remind them why you’re all doing this. Anchor plans to the “why bother?” question.
  • Logic justifies action but emotion creates action. When answering the why bother question, use the recipe of 2 parts emotion to one part logic. An all logic sandwich makes perfect sense, but tastes terrible.
  • If using emotion to spur action is out of your comfort zone, try putting your plan inside of a larger trend in your industry. When you describe that future and how your organization will fit in it, then add your 2018 plan as the next step into that future, you’re using emotion.
  • Fight cynicism. I understand that over time possibilities run past without stopping, hope gets dashed on the rocky shore of reality, and disillusionment tells us to keep ourselves in check, but don’t become cynical. I’m not asking you to be overly optimistic, just fight the protective shell of cynicism.

Being Human – Tell a story

Somebody has to win

Part of my fast strategy approach is framing a story that everyone on your team can turn to when they are faced with decisions. These stories accelerate results because if your people know your destination they can make corrections to the course along the way.

The easiest way to frame this strategy story is to paint a landscape and put yourself in it.

  • Describe the economic, social, and technological trends that the future holds in store for everyone.
  • Describe the value your company will add to this future.
  • Talk about the first steps of the plan that need to happen right now.

Most leaders find this a little unnatural at first, but get excited after working on the exercise and practicing their stories. It’s a natural, human way to build emotion in a story which leads to action. This time, however, it wasn’t resonating. I was off my game or something and couldn’t communicate how important it is for leadership to do this.

One participant threw me off by comparing my success stories to winning a sweepstakes. In other words, he was saying that the chances of this working for them like it works for others has about as much chance as winning the lottery. I couldn’t shake him.

As often happens, I think of comebacks around 48 hours later. My “I should have said,” insights that come too late to help. In this case, I should have talked about probability. In Texas, there is a fantastic story about a woman who won the lottery four times. First was a lottery for $5.4 million in 1993. A decade later, she won $2 million, then two years later $3 million and in the summer of 2010, she hit a $10 million jackpot. What are the odds, right?

Turns out she was a mathemetician. Think about it this way, the odds of winning get better when you consider all the lotteries that are declaring winners twice a week. Once she won the first lottery, she had the means to play even more lotteries. Winning the second lottery gave her even more fuel to play more lotteries.

I wish her story would have come to mind when helping my skeptical leader. They called me in because what they were doing wasn’t working and I was giving them a chance to play a new game. Even if I were full of shit, like the man said, there is still a chance that it works for them because it’s worked for others.

Somebody has to win, but you can’t win if you don’t play. So, tell frame your story and get your people excited about the future. It works. I swear.


Random Stuff

Washing machines

Years ago, little Omaha, NE hosted a professional basketball exhibition game sponsored by the bank I worked for. 2003 says the interweb. It featured the Minnesota Timberwolves and their young star, Kevin Garnett. I had a young basketball prodigy of my own, a seven year old son who was burning up the metro YMCA league. Seeing an opportunity to expose him to some of the best ballers in the world, I bought tickets near the floor.

In my head, I imagined him seeing a larger than life superstar under the bright lights hitting step back three pointers, swatting opponent’s shots into the stands, and, of course, putting on a dunk show that shook the rafters.

If you’ve never been to a pro-basketball game, like most professional sports, it’s an experience. The players are bigger, faster, stronger, and better than you can imagine. Some people say the pros don’t put in an effort, but when you’re on the floor with them, they make everything look easy. My son and I settled into our seats, stuffed ourselves with popcorn and soda, and watched these men put on a show which concluded with the superstar seven footer, Kevin Garnett, slamming an impressive dunk home to end the event. It was awesome. I was glowing, my son was sweaty with excitement, and I just knew that he was now inspired to put in the years of practice in the driveway required to be a superstar.

As we waited in the car to exit the auditorium, I looked in the rearview mirror at my flushed but happy boy in the backseat and asked, “Well, what was your favorite part?”

He thought for a minute, then said, “The washing machine.”

My mind raced. Washing machine? Was that a nickname for one of the players? The name of the Kevin Garnett windmill dunk?

“What washing machine?” I said.

“You know, the one that was dancing,” he said.

The dancing washing machine? I racked my brain, searching my memory bank. “Do you mean the ATM?”

He nodded. The bank had a big box ATM mascot that danced in front of us during timeouts, throwing foam balls and tshirts into the stands. Eighty bucks worth of tickets and his favorite part was the dancing box?

“Yeah,” I said, “the dancing washing machine was great.”


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