Tis the Season

The holidays allow more people, not everyone, but many, many of us to take a break, slow down and kick back to enjoy a little seasonal cheer.

Personally, I enjoy the lull and it’s hard not to take time to reflect,or take pictures.  It’s also time during which I seek to reorganize my poor processes and sample some new approaches. After all, if I’ve learned anything lately it’s that opportunities to work smarter, better and cheaper continue to emerge.

Here’s my gift to you, a few recent observations and techniques I’m committed to adopt.

Dealing with new Technology

Perhaps you’ve seen a short video of Steve Jobs response to a snide insult. a member of his staff, unhappy about a killed project suggested Jobs didn’t know the first thing about the technology capabilities he had chosen to kill. I’ve summarized Jobs’ response into a few short questions that allow me to evaluate whether to add something new to my toolkit.

  1. Does the new tool, approach fit into a larger vision cohesively?
  2. What incredible benefits does it allow the firm to take to the customer? Remember it’s the customer’s experience that matters and if we work backward to find ways to make that possible we will succeed. Technology may be cool, but it’s only relevant when we frame it within the context of the customer experience.
  3. Better to make decisions, even if it means we make some mistakes along the way. Decisions make progress continue and deciding something is always better than standing still and/or waiting.

Here’s the clip to Jobs.


yellow 2


Did you know that when it comes to color, yellow apparently catches the eye like no other in nature.  It’s also a color that evokes, warmth, happiness and optimism.

Success follows Cognitive Change

It’s not just Advertising and sales that spend enormous effort to get people to do something different, or act on new information. We all do. Though less repetitive,  Government policy makers, Clergy, Teachers, parents and even our friends use persuasion techniques that are quite similar to advertising.

Learning, like breathing, tends to happen continuously though much less consciously.  New information, when it matches what we value and believe turns out to be very easy to accept. The rest of the information in our midst gets dismissed or overlooked, until the presenter of that information takes the time to make a plan and help others learn what they have already come to know and accept.

The mechanics of learning turn out to be easily understood and applied without much intention.  First, allow me to define learning: the recognition of change in knowledge. It’s the change , akin to a discovery, that turns something we didn’t know into something known.  Learning works like understanding, though there are lots of things you come to know without understanding them.  You know how to walk without understanding exactly how your muscles coordinate the movement, right?

Learning Mechanics I’ve coined into a shorthand, aka the GIST. Guts, Inspection, Story and Turn are facets that make new information matter and thus make learning possible. These facets make new stuff stick in our thoughts and knowing last. The GIST technique makes others not just notice, but makes the audience more likely to act on the message.

G-Guts, We believe what we feel, messages that make us feel come from a credible source, in a preferred channel. Feeling it? then it’s cognitive–deeper attention awareness and attention–its the deciding lever.

I-Interrogation, focus on evidence facts that challenge assumptions or beliefs. Help them reconsider, see what else may be possible, true, right.

S-Story–make it easy to understand, skip the nice to know and be focused direct with what matters.  YEP, how you tell them information matters.

T-Turns what we learn into what we know. Sign of engagement, effort made

[note: the GIST was inspired by research conducted by CEB in 2014.]

Don’t settle for breaking through the clutter, sure frequency of your message will make a dent, but if you want the message to stick and their new learning to last try this sequence.

  1. Trigger an emotional response (gut).
  2. Offer credibly sourced information framed in context of stuff someone already feels important (inspection).
  3. Make it easy to understand by sharing a simple story. Then, you’ll get
  4. Turn in attitude, action or behavior you desire.

The way we believe, think and thus expect works, affects what we see, hear, feel, and respond.  A prior experience sets a baseline. The greater the frequency of the experience the more refined and validated it becomes.  Habits are formed and developed though the organic basis may be shared with others.  Remember, people observe and then based on their confidence mimic or mirror what they see others do.



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