Random thoughts

The following 10 random thoughts were inspired by my job talking with lots and lots of average and not so average Australians via focus groups, one-on-one interviews, surveys, analysis of data, recordings, observations and working with a great cross section of corporate and government leaders.

1. The consistent theme emerging across our research studies is TRUST. Irrespective of Corporate, Government, Entertainment, Service, FMCG or B2B. Trust is the fundamental. Be this products trusted as the best with similarly trusted service, and therefore able to demand a premium price. Or, politicians failing to build trust and confidence. Or, businesses simply delivering on promises and displaying empathy when dealing with inevitable problems to build trust. Or, large corporate and government leaders failing to gain the trust of workers. Authenticity is all the rage, but without trust all is lost.

2. While I’m no UX expert I spend a load of time speaking to and researching real customers and users in relation to their experiences online and offline. And, consistently the user (or customer) experience is fundamentally flawed. This is often from replicating the category wrongs, but more so from ignoring actual users when modelling the user experience.

3. What kills a business? (1) Lack of clear value (beyond price), which leads to a (2) lack of customers, which leads to a (3) declining cash, which creates a perceived need to further (4) cut value to customers and a loop back to (1).

4. I like the below visual illustrating ‘mudita’ – meaning sympathetic or unselfish joy, or joy in the good fortune of others. Be this leaders seeking to increase the happiness of their followers. Or, enterprises with thriving cultures bringing happiness to the lives of their team and customers. Much better than sinking into envy and pity, wishing to have what the others have or lamenting the luck you’re dealt. Celebrating the success of others, and giving more than taking sounds good to me (More here).

5. Corporate and government often wish to communicate to the community that they care. You can’t fake care. People can see through fake. Best strategy is to actually truly care, then communicate what they are doing with sincerity and absent of ego.

6. Much discussion around ‘innovation’ is actually skewed towards 1) cost reduction, process efficiencies and more about lean manufacturing rather than 2) making better products / services for people and exploring new markets and models. While 1 is critical, alone it is more so sustaining a business, than considering 1 and 2 is a likely path to growth.

7. Those saying it is ‘OK to fail’ typically mean it is ‘OK for others to fail’ but lack any empathy, understanding, sincerity and conviction. While I totally agree it’s “OK to fail,” my problem with most people saying this is they have a comfy safety net. Failing REALLY sucks if you truly fail. Massive ramifications – personally and professionally. You don’t want to repeat that. So, one learns + succeeds (hopefully). Failing is only OK if one learns, re-calibrates and ultimately succeeds.

8. Biggest ‘fail’ for corporate and government is inaction, then wrong action. Biggest failure of SME is cashflow, then revenue growth. In accepting ‘failure’ strategic agility is critical : 1) Fail fast – and move on; 2) Learn quickly – and evolve.

9. The role of a leader is empowering their tribe to achieve a dream. Yet, more critically is maintaining enthusiasm through the nightmares.

10. We are obsessed with ideas. Which is fantastic, yet it is important to not forget that most ideas are rather crap. Only the rare few ideas are good, and very rare few are great. And, very few of even the great ideas become reality. They typically go no further than a head, or a piece of paper, before we move on to the next good or great, but likely crap, idea. For the idea economy to succeed we need more ‘ACTIONED’ IDEAS, especially overly simple and small ideas which may appear as crap ideas. Yet have much more potential than the next perfect IDEA that never becomes reality.

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