Skip to content →

Month: October 2009

Ask better questions about leadership! Lose the tired ideas about who is a good leader

Are leaders made by their followers?

The first time I encountered this idea was 25 years ago. It assaulted my classical training as a psychologist! It was very difficult to understand that no one is a leader.  All my training said otherwise!

But we are leaders only by consent of our followers and in specific situations for a very short time.  Martin Luther King was a leader for a few years only.

It is time to ask the right questions about leadership

Over time, I came to understand that we had been asking the wrong question; and the wrong question was muddling my head.  The question “are leaders are born or made” belongs in the trash can.  I’ve put it there.  You can too.

The right question is a sociological and anthropological. What role does “leadership” play in organizing society? What concepts do we use? Why do we use those concepts and not others?

Why, in other words, are we hung up on the idea that some people are leaders and some people are not?

Leadership in organizations

As a work psychologist, I spend most of my time working in work organizations. We have been consistently mis-advising banks, schools, hospitals, factories, armies, shops, and every workplace that exists out there.

Leadership resides in the followers

Leadership does not reside in senior positions. Leadership does not reside in individuals. Leadership resides in the followers.

There are times when all the right ingredients are present.  Someone is in the right place at the right time and it all comes together. As organizational consultants, our job is to help everyone in the organization to find this sweetspot.

We chose a leader as a shorthand to tell the world about ourselves

Leadership begins when people start talking to each other in what we call a bounded space. That is the workplace or a project. The people talking together look for a leader, not to tell them what to do, but to represent who and what they want as a kind of shorthand to themselves and to the world.

A leader needs to be replaced regularly because after a while they aren’t a quick summary of what we want to tell the world

The day a leader stops being representative of our collective wishes, either because s/he has stopped listening or because s/he no longer is what they want, then the relationship falls apart and force needs to be used to maintain the position of “leadership”.

Why do we allow leaders to stay too long and use force against us?

I suppose another sociological/anthropological question is when and why we allow leaders to run away with power and to use force against us.

It has long been agreed in the democratic English speaking world that the essence of good government is replacing leaders in an orderly way.  I wish we could see the same as the standard in business organizations.

The use of force against employees is a sign that the agreement is broken

The use of force against employees is a sign that something has gone wrong. Alarm bells should go off.  And HR should be on the scene in a flash trying to understand why the leader believes so little in his or her people that s/he feels the need to bully them.  Young managers often don’t trust their subordinates. A skill that is rarely talked about is the skill of believing in one’s people and seeing their strengths.

The job of HRM and work & organizational psychologists

  • Our job is to broker these agreements.
  • Our job is to coach the group during the inevitable shift in the agreement. How long should they carry on with the arrangement? When should they renegotiate?
  • Our job is to step in immediately force is used and declare a “state of emergency”!
  • Our job is to design organizational systems where leaders are replaced regularly. How long is a good time in the organization we help? How can we design the process of renegotiation and replacement of the leader?

Leaders are only a shorthand to tell the world who we are and what we want.  We need to change them regularly and we need to manage the process to produce the leaders we deserve.


What we know and don’t know about future labor markets

Are our markets efficient?

Gee, I have been so buried in writing proposals, I no longer have any idea of which day or week it is.  Rather literally.  But it is in writing proposals that we realize just how inefficient the market economy is.  All these people marketing, selling, bidding, cajoling.  Do we really increase the value of the economy this way?  Isn’t this time wasting much like the perennial security guard at every doorway in a third world country.  Doing nothing, going nowhere?  Don’t you get incensed at the waste of your time?  Let me explain further why it affects everyone.  You, me.  Our sons. Our daughters.

Flexible labor markets

You all know the concept of a “flexible labor market“, don’t you?  If not follow the link to a clearly written A level crib sheet.

Good markets

Flexible labor markets are based on the idea that a good market  “clears”.  A market is good if I can bring my tomatoes and customers come and buy them.

The price is not determined in advance. The price is allowed to change with supply (number of people selling) and demand (number of people buying).  And as we all know, at the end of the day, the price can drop significantly as sellers contemplate no sale.  Equally, the best stuff will sell at a higher price early in the morning.

Good labor markets

When we come to labor markets, the idea is that you and I, sellers of labor can go to the market and sell our goods, that is, our time and expertise.  If there is a good market, we will be bought, when we want to be bought; and buyers will find someone to buy, when they want someone to buy.

Labor markets that you and I know

Of course, labor markets are not 100% flexible.  We are blocked in by contracts.  The employer guarantees to give you work and to pay you on time.  You guarantee to do work and have to give notice if you want to change employers.

Rigid labor markets

Some labor markets are very inflexible.  I believe in the UK, 30 years ago, if we wanted to move a telephone in a student dormitory, it would be a nightmare.  Why? A telephone technician wasn’t be allowed to screw the device onto the wall.  That was the carpenter’s job.  If this story is not 100% accurate, then it was similar.

Not everything has changed

The “defined benefit” pension scheme also adds rigidity to the markets.

A defined benefit (DB) scheme means we pay in a fixed % of a our salary today for the right to draw a pension at a given age (usually 65) at 66% of our average of last three year’s salary (or similar calculation).

The importance to this calculation to what I am saying today is not the pension, much as it is on everyone’s minds, but that the 66% was based on an assumption of working for 40 years out of 60 for one employer (starting in your early twenties).

Here you can see the legacy of rigid labor markets that we haven’t sorted out, even in theory.

Why do systems like defined benefit pensions distort the labor market?

Implicit in your monthly donation of a fixed %, is that you will stay for 40 years.  If you leave before then, you will pay a heavy financial penalty.

So most people stay.  Every year, some people retire and we can replace those with 20 year olds while everyone moves up a notch.  Neat?

Yes it is, BUT

.  .  . this model doesn’t allow for radical changes in skill.  And it only works when people do retire – which they haven’t been the case with the bulge of the baby boomers.  Of course now the boomers are approaching retirement, organizations running this model will suddenly need to take on a lot of young people, some of whom will not be able to get the experience they need quickly enough to replace people who are leaving.

Equally, if you have to take people on for 40 years, as an employer you may think twice.   It is much more convenient to be able to ask someone to leave when you have no work for them or cannot afford to may them.

Why employers like a flexible labor market?

So employers like a “flexible” labor market.  They want it to be easy to ask people to leave.

What is the payoff for us?

And the payoff for us is that

  • young people are more likely to get “starter” jobs
  • we should be able to move employers more easily
  • the economy should be more vibrant with a better match of skills to changing conditions.

But what a muddle

The downside is that we haven’t thought this through.

Pensions and in the States, health insurance, are tied to employment.  So employees are unable to move.

If employers don’t provide these benefits, an underclass of employees develops.  In the trade this is aptly called the secondary labor market – cheap and disposable.

And where does this leave employees – people of working age

My biggest concern is that when a labor market is massively flexible, how do employees – that is you and me – the sellers of labour, see far enough ahead to know what to invest in?

Of course this is an issue in all business.  How do farmers know how many tomatoes to plant?  How does Warren Buffet know what stocks & shares to buy on the stock market?

They do it in three ways:

  • They form institutions – trade associations or their own firms – to do research on markets and to influence markets through lobbying and marketing.
  • They make long term contracts – e.g., agree to sell to TESCO’s at a pre-determined price
  • They get better real time information on markets.

Think of third world farmers contracting with FairTrade to sell you coffee.  They are doing it less for the price and more the stability of the contract.

Think of third world farmers who adopt mobile phones at the speed of light because they can find out prices readily in local and international markets.

What the theorists haven’t delivered

So why then do we assume

  • Employees (you and me) don’t need information on future prices to decide how much to invest in skills today?
  • Employees don’t need sane coherent contracts that allow us to complete a season.  A season may be 6 months to a year for a farmer.  Our investment in a 3 year degree is repayable over what period with what certainty?
  • Employees (you and me) shouldn’t band together to form trade associations to research and influence markets.  I know that is what unions do, sort of. I know that is what good professional associations do.

My question to you

My question today, and I hope some people can answer it, as I am a noobe in this part of the world, is

which political parties have an explicit agenda to make sure each and every person has sufficient information to make informed decisions about the investment in skill.

I don’t think governement has to make decisions about our investments for us.  But it does need to make sure there is an environment in which institutions who repesent us emerge (and do their job well).

Where does a young person in the UK and the USA find out this information?

Leave a Comment

We set goals to give ourselves control. My blogging story shows how.

2 months to go in 2009!  Are you on target to meet your goals?

One of my goals in 2009 was to increase my blog traffic.  In January, I reviewed my blog and what I had read about good blogging and bad.

As ever when we have a big push, we often achieve what we want, and learn that quite different rules apply than ones we had previously thought. This is my story of how my blogging goals shifted as I coped with the ebb and flow of 2009.

The received wisdom in blogging amount to

  • Stay at the top of people’s feed readers
    • Have an RSS feed so people can subscribe
    • Post often
  • Be found in search
    • Choose keywords for which you want to be known
    • Include them in the title and in the body of the post
  • Great content
    • Write scanable short posts
    • Show the benefits of post to the audience
  • Comment on other people’s blogs
    • Your interest in their work is your best advert
    • Your comment provides a permanent link back to your blog which humans follow and which Google counts for page rank

These are the blogging rules I would add

  • Comments
    • Cut out the elaborate logins with Disqus etc.  People will leave comments if you let them do it quickly
    • Have an RSS for comments as well the post and have it next to the submit button
  • Take search seriously
    • Alexa rankings will tell you what percentage of your traffic is from search
    • Mine is low – less than 10%.  Obviously I could improve that.
  • Great content
    • Write for yourself.  The pros do write great magazine pieces.  Write normally and develop your own style.
    • Alexa rankings also tell you the bounce rates, the number of pages each visitor reads and the time spent on site.  I have a very low bounce rate (below 25%), high number of pages (above 5) and high time on site (more than 5 minutes).
    • Google Analytics also gives these numbers.  I use which doesn’t allow a link to Google Analytics
  • Get recommendations
    • Your real goal on the internet is to get people to recommend you.
    • Visiting your site is a recommendation.
    • Commenting on your site is a recommendation.
    • Commenting on other people’s sites is a recommendation (even though it is made by you!)
    • Also Stumble your post and use tags from their basic list of categories.  You will get 50-100 hits from your own recommendation.  Among those visitors some will give a thumbs up.  Your traffic and your chances of another thumbs up goes up exponentially with each thumbs up.

My Results for 2009

I started well in 2009 driving up my traffic upwards each month to 5 000 hits a month which was my modest goal.  Then I got busy on other things and my blog suffered.  In September, I got back to blogging and began to blog more than once a day to catch up.  I also started to use Stumbleupon better.

I probably won’t make 60 000 for the year, but better still, I’ve discovered the art of getting 10K a month.  Such is the result of making a big effort. We learn.

And our goals change accordingly.  Ultimately we set goals to give ourselves control.

In what areas of your life are you in more control than you were last year?



Enhanced by Zemanta

The psychology of forward movement – kept real

Imagining goals doesn’t quite cut it

It’s a fact.  Our brains don’t distinguish very much between imagining something and doing it!  Mentally rehearse your perfect golf swing and your real one gets better.  Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?  Pity it doesn’t work with losing weight.

The trick is to imagine fully enough.  We have to be able to imagine something in its entirety and reasonably accurately.  We must have no objections or leave anything out!

That’s the rub.  By the time you can imagine something completely, or be totally confident that it will work, you have done it already, and probably often!

Using our brain’s confusion to our advantage but keeping it real

We want to capitalize on the inability of our brains to distinguish fact from fiction but we also want to keep it real.  We want to use our imagination to get us going, but bear in mind that we still have to do whatever it is that we do.  We still have to stumble and fall, and get ourselves up again.  (In fact, stumbling and falling and getting up again must be part of the story that we imagine – we need that skill of error recovery too!)

The ravine exercise

I’ve been using David Whyte’s story of walking alone in Nepal and coming to a ravine with a rickety bridge.  He couldn’t cross it and he couldn’t double back because he had insufficient supplies.  Panic!

We often find ourselves in similar predicaments.  We look at what we want – the other side of the ravine.  And we look at the bridge.  It’s too rickety to walk on.  The gap between where we are now and where we want to be feels too big.  We can’t help ourselves.  Our attention is drawn to the gap.   We stare at the ravine and the long drop down – and  we can think of nothing else.

The current advice is to do what you would do if you are on the edge of the ravine:  check your pockets, see what you have to help you, make sure you are safe.  Get your feet back on the ground. Then funnily, you find a way out of your predicament.  Or, at least survive until the rescue party arrives.

This metaphor works – but it is still hard to do.  The ravine draws our attention no matter how hard we try not to look at it.

The fast forward exercise

I’ve been trying out another mental trick but I haven’t tested it fully.  Would you try it too and let me know how it works?

Think of yourself as you are now, warts and all.  Now play yourself forward 10 years.  Don’t change a thing.  Just make yourself older and fatter!

You probably won’t like the image all that much. And you will be motivated to take the next step.  List the first thing to change and do it right now.

Do you do it?  Of course keep a record too.  In a few weeks, you’ll look back and be surprised at how much you have got done.

I’d also like to know how much effort it took and whether you got a lot done attending to little things.  The extra chocolate biscuit.  The internet banking that is not done.  Whatever!

The psychology of forward movement

The psychology is simple.  We keep our feet firmly on the ground rooted in now.  We imagine what we can imagine – what we understand – and roll it forward with obvious changes – slower, greyer, not as good looking.

Then do what has to be be done now.  It is so much easier!

At least, I hope it is.  Do tell me!


Enhanced by Zemanta

What happened to that “everything is waiting for me” feeling?

Lost: can’t see the opportunity

When I was young, I loved career choices.  The world was my oyster.  Choices were everywhere, and I was in command.

Some people aren’t so lucky.  They don’t feel like that.  Our somehow they’ve gone through a bad patch and they feel lost. As I have got older, that has happened to me a few times.

What can we do about that?  How can we get back that omnipotent feeling that “everything is waiting for you”?

There seem to be three key things to remember.

1. Look after your emotional health

Negative feelings feed on themselves.  When we are feeling down, lost or confused, we like to wallow.  This doesn’t make us bad or inadequate.  It is quite normal to want to wallow.  Physiologically, we are primed to focus on threat, and our worry captures 100% of our attention.

The corporate poet, David Whyte, talks of arriving at a ravine in Nepal and being scared witless by the sight of a rickety bridge.  Many decisions in life are just like this.  We arrive at a ravine.  We can see clearly that we want to be on the other side.  We are least wise enough not rush onto the bridge, but we are paralyzed with fear.  All our attention goes onto the ravine and onto the rickety bridge, instead of working out our options.

The funny thing is that we hang on to bad feelings, as if they are the bridge itself.  Yet this is the time to get a grip.  At the side of the ravine, we check our pockets and rucksack -knife (check), water (check), food (check), etc. etc.

In ordinary life we have to take the time out to exercise, clean the house, and think about what is going exactly as we want it to.  We must, we must, we must (!) sit down each night, write a short summary of the day, and then answer this question:

Why did I do so well?

I can assure you that you won’t want to do this.  You will want to worry and tell me how badly everything is going.  Just do it! and you will surprise yourself by what has gone well.

It is also more.  It takes our attention off the equivalent of the ravine and the long drop down. It focuses our mind on

  • What we can do
  • What we can do well
  • What delights us and
  • what the world finds delightful about us!

2. Start before you are ready

When we feel lost, we often feel very tired too. The idea of starting anything feels too much.  And anyway, if we haven’t sorted out our emotional health (#1), then we are enjoying our panic attack far too much to give it up.

But if you don’t intend to spend the rest of your life weeping and wailing and gnashing you teeth, you will have to begin to move out of the anxiety, before your are ready.

The way we do this is to focus in what we have at hand.  At the edge of the ravine, that is your water, your food, your map, your radio, etc.

In ordinary life, I look for what you love.  What brings the light to your eyes?  I can give you a magazine and ask you to flick through and point to a picture which represent what you want out of life. You’ll have done it in 1-2 minutes.

Or, I can ask you about when you have experienced flow – that feeling of total engagement where characteristically you don’t notice time, but you do notice being growled at when you were late for your next appointment!  That’s flow.  When do you feel flow?  When do you feel totally engaged doing something you just love to do?

Then we deal with the next thought that pops into your head which is  “I can’t”.  I have kids and a mortgage.  I can’t be an artist – I owe it to my parents to make a good living.  I have a student loan to pay off.  I don’t have the skills.  You are looking at the ravine again!  Hold the image of what you want to be, that makes your heart speed up slightly, that makes your eyes light up (you can’t see them can you, but I can). Hold that image.  Don’t let it go.

Now we aren’t going to do anything reckless.  We are simply going to look around our immediate circumstances for things relevant to getting to the other side.  So we take stock.  As we took stock of our map, our compass, etc. at the side of the ravine.  And we do sensible things.  If we were at the side of a ravine and had a radio, we would call in and say where we are.  If we are tired out, we’d work out if it is feasible to eat and sleep.  We secure everything we need to go to where we want to be.  At worst, we may retreat.

But we keep our eyes on what brings us alive?

3. Marshall resources and support

And now for the humdinger, are you the only person in the world who wants you to be on the other side?  Are you Rambo all of a sudden?

As soon as you have yourself secure and have established the all important “time out”, ask yourself who else benefits from you being on the other side of the ravine.  Who else will benefit?  Who else will be delighted?  Who else will enjoy getting you across (however you are going to do it – we’ll leave that bridge alone!).  These questions might make you feel anxious again.  That’s OK. That’s only because this project is something you really want to do and you are about to make it happen.

So, let’s marshal help and resources.  If we were at a ravine, it might be helicopter rescue (do it in style?).  It might be a long trek around. You might be able to walk down and through some shallow water and up. In the morning light, you might realize you can reinforce the bridge. Who knows?  Start bringing together what you need and a plan will emerge.

Once you start to methodically and systematically work on the problem, the universe will conspire to help you.

This can’t be true, I hear you say.  This must be nonsense.  Well not in my experience!  Read on!

Damn the universe, it makes life so easy!

When I first noticed the universe helping me, I did feel nuts.  I felt superstitious and I didn’t like the feeling.  How can this be?  But it happened.  The universe kept helping me.  When I knew what I wanted, and moved towards it, it came towards me.  This doesn’t work if I am dithering.  If I start one thing and I am still doodling or daydreaming about something else, I don’t get any help at all.  I must be totally confident about my priorities and have ‘left all other worlds behind’.

I would get moving on a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) and the phone would ring.  There it would be.  How could the other person know I wanted that?  It was freaky and just too easy!

Eventually I decided three things.

  • The world is a munificent place.  Stuff probably comes down my phone all day long, but I don’t notice when I don’t want it!
  • I have good judgement!  My sense of what is right or wrong is good.  I know which ravines are worth crossing and which ravines other people want to cross with me.

But sometimes I go through a bad patch when I am indecisive.  I dither.  Do I want to cross; do I not?  I am not ready to make a decision.    In part this is good judgment.  I don’t rush ahead before I know what I want.  But the reality is,  I am also frozen in fear.  Time to take “time-out” to de-clutter my emotional self and figure out what is going on. I know with a small investment, my head will clear.  I will keep my dreams clear, focus on what I have in hand, and be on my way again soon.

Everything is waiting for you

In poet, David Whyte’s words: everything is waiting for you, it really is (and would like you to hurry up!)

It is just that you have come to a ravine in your path.  You want to get to the other side.  You know you need to be there and you are rightly terrified by the rickety bridge and the long drop down.

The most important thing to do is to acknowledge your fear.  Don’t pretend you aren’t scared.  If you do you will either be paralyzed or you will be reckless.  Take yourself in hand, remember your goal  and focus your attention this minute on what you have in hand.

  • First, attend to your safety and the safety of everyone with your.  Take stock of my situation (maps, compass, radio, food, etc. if you were at a ravine), get yourself fed, watered and tell other people to where you are.  When your are physically able to think, focus your attention on what you want!
  • Then thoroughly enjoy exploring your options.  Bring in help if your need it and invite people to be part of the adventure if they want to be (which they probably do!)

Remember the three steps

1.  Keep yourself emotionally healthy: ask yourself daily – why did I do so well?

2.  Start before you are ready – tick off everything around you that is useful for pursuing your dream

3.  Welcome support – list everyone who will be enjoy watching and helping you pursue your quest

And do it for g…  sake.  It’s funny how the toughest of people are so bad at this.  Do it.  Whinging is annoying.

One Comment

Friday Week’s Review: 10 minutes of your life in this creative agency!

Oh the coolest of Friday lunchtime games:  join this creative agency and plot your direction with a red flag, give yourself a sugar-fix (once) and block the opposition with an umbrella (once).

Then evade Creative Directors of various characters and particularly avoid bulldozers which will demolish your work and make you stay all weekend to redo it!

Interactive salaryman!

Leave a Comment

Who is the largest social media team that you know? How long have they worked together?

Academia and practice in social media – two different worlds?

Not many people I know in the social media world went to the Oxford Social Media Convention in September.   Actually, no one I knew went.It didn’t really market itself to social media practitioners yet it was replete with examples of social media work in both the USA and UK.

The essential character or soul of social media

My conversation with James Kemp from Nominet Trust and with Matthew Hindman, author of The Myth of Digital Democracy got me thinking about the professionalism of social media practice.

I like the ‘hacking’ atmosphere of social media. The hands-on try-it-out ethos is its history and its style. And for many of us, it is also its essence.

Would professionalism be counter to our ethos?

But I’ve begun to wonder – are we ready for more?

Are we ready to manage ourselves as professional units? Could we retain an ‘A’ team like quality – flexible, inventive, supportive and with specialized roles?

Who would be Faceman – smooth talking marketer? Who is B. A. Baracus, the man who can solve any technical problem? Who is Vin, the guy who can land a plan anywhere even though he is nuts? And who would be Hannibal? Who would strategize and adjust our prioities as the plan meets the enemy?

I sometimes get the impression that we all want to be in charge of everything and at the same time, work exclusively on parts we love.

We can’t really do both.

How can we build strong teams of social media specialists?

But if we are to build up teams and have the professional strength of working together, what would the first step?

No one discussed the formation of social media firms at the Oxford Social Media Convention.  I want to discuss the formation of social media firms.

Maybe we can have a session at the Social Media Mafia unconference in London on December 17?

Leave a Comment

Wanna be a positive manager of the 21st century? Lose the idea of a gap.

If you are interested in contemporary management or what is called positive management, or positive psychology, or positive organizational scholarship, and if you have had any training at all in “old school” management, there is an important habit of thought that you will have to give up.

Gap or deficit models have had their day

Almost all ‘old school’ management, and ‘old school’ psychology, works on a ‘gap model’.

Take “training” for example.  A manager decides someone isn’t doing what they should.  The manager asks whether they have done the task before or not.  If not, they are sent off for training.

The idea is that training will help the employee bridge the gap – between where they are know and where they should be.

Obvious, hey?

Well, we are going to kick that idea into touch.  Gap models and deficit models have been trashed.

What is the alternative to gap or deficit thinking?

But how can we define what to do if we can’t say where there is a gap?

Let’s take the greatest change champion of our time: Barack Obama.  How does Barack Obama propose change without saying there is a gap?

In January 2008, quite early on in the campaign, Barack Obama gave what I think of as his deficit speech.  It uses the word ‘deficit’ a lot.

Isn’t that a gap?  No, not really.  Because Obama talks about our deficit.  Not someone elses.  He talks about what we will do. Not what other people are going to do. And he talks about processes that we do and do well and will do more of.

The guiding rule in positive organizational scholarship is to talk about “the good and the true, the better and the possible” and DO MORE OF IT.

If you are new to positive management, begin with this speech

If you are new to positive management and still trying to get your head around thinking about change and forward movement without defining a gap, begin with this speech. It is a good example of contemporary positive thought.

Leave a Comment

For an inspiring 20 minutes: JK Rowling @ a Harvard commencement

Just in case you don’t know, JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter books. She was also invited to address a Harvard graduation day (they call it commencement on that side of the Atlantic.)

JK Rowling tells her life story and she is very very funny. She also illustrates positive psychology. You will be inspired

One and two: Twenty minutes together.

Leave a Comment

3rd of secret social media that is being kept from you

Save the cost of the carpets

And the 3rd well-kept secret of social media is that it saves us the cost of wearing out the carpets.

In short, the story goes like this. Social media attracts more ‘window-shoppers’. The window-shoppers hopefully include surprise visits from people outside our target market. We have more people wearing out the carpets and not buying anything. They are also people who are different from our typical customers. To extend the analogy, let’s say they bring mud in on their boots too.

So is social media a good thing. If we have more people who look-see but who don’t buy, do we want them? Aren’t carpets rather expensive?

Yes they are. But in the virtual world, carpets are fairly cheap. But that is not the real point.  In the virtual world, if you are smart, people make carpets for each other.

Let your customers weave the carpet

In a conventional company, we’d be most unhappy if people came to our shop just to party with their friends. That’s because they are using facilities that cost us money. We figure it is cheaper to advertise “off the premises” in magazines and TV than in the shop itself.

In social media, hosting a party costs as lot less. Sometimes it costs us almost nothing per person because the first person invites the second and the second the third, etc.

Let your management report reflect the carpet weaving operation

It is so obvious to anyone in social media but our reports don’t always make this clear.

  • Attracting window-shoppers has negligible cost.
  • If we are smart, we looking out for unusual newcomers. We are using the window-shoppers to help us understand how our market morphs and mutates. We are in business when we understand our market as it is, not how we want it to be.
  • And if we are really smart, our ‘window’ morphs and mutates with the market so people see what they want to see and find what they want to find.

That’s what our reports and metrics should be reflecting.

  • The cost per visitor
  • The changing nature of the market
  • The way we are responding spontaneously to changes in the market and those of our goods and service that our window-shoppers find attractive.

Now, I told you the secrets for free. I’d be happy to know what you think of them!

Leave a Comment