Proof – Fun Changes Behavior

I really like this photo for several reasons: 1. Participants were provided a choice as to whether or not to participate. 2. Participants bought into the fun and modified their behavior 3. It’s a great example of the power of fun in action.

Now, I want you to take a minute and just imagine that this escalator were inside your place of business, and for whatever the reason, your company wanted employees to use the stairs. What approach would they take? Would someone in your company brainstorm creative ways to get buy-in, or would they simply send out a compulsory memo and shut-off the escalator? Both approaches will achieve the desired result, but which approach will make employees happier?

If you are thinking – so what? who cares? what a silly waste of time and resources, think again. According to one Economic Study, Happy People are 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. At the University of Rochester, Ryan O’Loughlin’s doctoral dissertation showed the linkage between happiness and creativity. Therefore, it follows that employee happiness directly shows up on the bottom line.


G = He x Pe x Pd x E x Cs


Take a look at the above formula, it’s my employee happiness growth formula hypothesis: Growth = Happy Employees x Positive Environment x Product or Svc. Differentiated x Empathy x Customer Satisfaction. As you can see from this formula, if you assign a low to high value of 0 (we don’t do it) to 5 (we excel at it) to any one of the values, then you can quickly identify target areas for improvement. As you can quickly see, assigning a 0 to any one of the values impacts the entire chain and growth is impacted, perhaps not immediately, but I would argue that it will eventually show up in time – it always does.

Do the math, how would your company rate?

Say Hello Dolly For Sales Success

Dolly the sheep was born in 1996. As you may recall, Dolly was the world’s first successful y cloned mammal. At that time, the world was abuzz with the news, and researchers Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell and the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland took center stage. Ethicists were horrified that humans would be cloned next and laws were passed to prevent it. Shocking news indeed!

Also at this time, another movement was afoot within corporate America. For the first time, many businesses were introduced to Sales Force Automation. Sales Force Automation held the promise that sales information could now be easily captured and shared throughout the enterprise. Moreover, these new systems would enable businesses to “clone” the activities of the most successful reps to deliver consistency in the sales cycle. Many businesses seized upon this opportunity, investing millions, all with the goal of empowering their sales people to do their jobs more efficiently. Along the way, business leaders felt automating the sales force didn’t go far enough; however, and eventually Sales Force Automation was replaced with moniker Customer Relationship Management. This new and expanded frontier included all Marketing and Support functions and the concept of a 360-degree view of the customer was born.

Fast forward to 2011, and these many businesses who have spent enormous sums of money on software and services have yet to see a significant ROI on these investments. Furthermore and more regrettably, they have lost some of the very benefits they looked to achieve. Why? In a word – Management. Rather than looking at SFA/CRM as a process enabler, management heavily over-engineered these systems and overburdened users with required fields, thus limiting their access to useful functionality. As a result, these systems stopped being a tool to help salespeople work more efficiently, and instead they became time consuming, burdensome yokes on the sales reps who find them difficult to use.

In closing, cloning the activities of top performers is a great idea that deserves a second look. In my opinion, it’s time for businesses to re-examine their implementations and strip out required fields that hinder productivity, and embed workflow that advances the sales cycle. By doing so, you now have the power to unlock the ability to clone many activities of top performers, which is what these systems were originally designed to do. While it’s perhaps crazy to believe that everyone will achieve top performer results, it’s not so crazy to believe that it’s possible to systematically raise the performance of low-mid performing sales reps, if SFA/CRM systems are designed and implemented wisely – There’s no reason to be sheepish about that.

Meet The Flockers

People want to do business with people they like, know and trust. That fact, combined with the axioms that “no one wants to make a bad decision”, and “no one ever wants to feel taken”, helps to explain the growing importance of social media in businesses. Social media is merely the next evolutionary step of the Internet. Maybe I’m dating myself, but can anyone remember life before the Internet? Making a stock trade cost hundreds of dollars and a call to your broker, booking a vacation required a drive to your local travel agent, finding a phone number required the yellow pages, and looking up the meaning or spelling of a word required the dictionary. Internet Version 1 translated into wholesale disintermediation for many businesses – those that were quick to adapt thrived and those that didn’t perished. However, I think many businesses are still slow to catch on to the fact that social media will impact all businesses. How? Well, Meet the Flockers.

Internet Version 1 was about putting your business online, which often involved an e-commerce site, e-mail and brochure ware. Version 2 of the Internet is taking on an entirely new dimension – people and interaction. As humans, we all crave interaction. Yes, even the socially awkward take on an entirely new persona online. With the introduction of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linked-in, it is now easier than ever to connect with like-minded individuals forming, you guessed it “Flocks”. What’s fascinating about these Flocks is the mass influence they command when it comes to the buying process. Let’s look under the hood of the 21st century consumer- individual or business – makes a purchase decision.

Here is a typical buying process in today’s world: Step 1: Do your homework – what products or services is out there Step 2: Narrow the field based upon your subjective criteria. Step 3: Read reviews. Step 4: Ask objective parties about their likes and dislikes and their experience with the product or service. Since consumers these days are by and large more skeptical, we tend to place a higher value on Step 3 and Step 4 of the decision making process.

These crucial steps, 3 and 4, are precisely where I believe social media is re-writing the rules of engagement for business. There are now a lot more trusted sources from which to solicit information. A bad review with the wrong customer could give a business a black eye with hundreds, thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands of customers instantly. Likewise, a great review and recommendations could give rise to the next “BIG” thing. Socially speaking, since like-minded people with similar interests are “flocking” together and sharing experiences – one individual could hold sway with an entire demographic. This influence could be very good or very bad for any business.

In my view, businesses need to be a good shepherd (just keeping the theme going) to these flocks by facilitating, participating and monitoring social media interactions related to their business. Ignoring the rapidly growing influence of social media will come at a huge cost.

What do you think?