Tag Archives: switch

For brands who care about you, actions speak louder than words

“For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently.” – From the book Switch: How to change things when change is hard.

I was watching the above video from Trendwatching’s from earlier this year and it got me thinking about which brands I love and which I think care about me. Personally I can’t say that any brand really cares about me but I can tell you which one’s I love and they probably don’t even know I do: Amazon, Apple, Jordan, Nike, Evernote, Firefox, Porsche, Heineken, Jack Daniels, Antivir, Dropbox among others.

The universal truth is that no brand really cares about YOU, they care about your buying power. With such a dominant assumption (rule) why is it that businesses don’t choose to break it?

It’s hard? It can’t be done?

The Customer IS their business

There’s a crazy (in a good way!) company called Zappos that is Delivering Happiness 24/7 for 365 days a year to it’s customers and is proving that the rule can be broken. Zappos has proven that making people happy as a was of doing business is a competitive advantage by essentially deciding to act differently than every other business by .

They’ve made it clear that the customer IS their business. It’s such a powerful idea that Zappos decided to turn it into an online management consulting business to spread their gospel further (everyone will be better off). To deliver happiness requires a shift in mindset, to question the dominant assumption that business is all about profit. It requires that you do a little ‘shaking up’ and decide to act differently, to go above and beyond the normal.  They broke the pattern!

So what’s to learn about the great Zappos?

A way of showing that you care is by acting human with customers by being aware of what’s happening in their world. For example earlier this year because they would much rather have customers come back and eat than have ‘give more money away’. I later found out that this business was aware of Zappos and was implementing some out of ordinary tactics which I clearly can tell because almost everyone I’ve taken there to eat have made some remark about their attention to the customer.

Another way is by creating permanent mechanisms that reinforce the human aspect such as Zappos customer service oriented culture and their ability to go beyond the normal such as sending flowers to customers, thank you notes, etc to customers. It also must be mentioned that these mechanisms were not planned beforehand, they were just a natural evolution of the powerful ‘awe the customer’ culture they have (listen to ).

On the flipside Zappos is also a Happy place to work at, which only reinforces how they treat their customers. So here then is the new formula: Happy employees + Happy customers = profitable business

Which brands do you love and also care about you?

To create change don’t be afraid to shake things up and take charge

“For things to change, somebody somewhere has to start acting differently.” – From the book Switch: How to change things when change is hard.


If you want your team to do things differently just send them an email right?

Just merely saying ‘let’s be different’, ‘let’s innovate’ in an email is not going to cut it. If you don’t like the present situation and see no end in sight, don’t wait for your boss to give you permission to do things differently. You already have the tools, all you have to do is take off your ‘it’s not my job hat’ and do something about it.

There are rahrah! people who will try to pump people up and then go and hide in their caves thinking they’ve just inspired even the company mascot and that all will be taken care of, and then there are the quiet ones who just make things happen. Which one are you?

Take an opposite approach to everyone else’s behavior and make it your responsibility to fight ‘sameness’, you’ll piss people off but that’s what it takes to do things differently.



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IBM: Early failure is a necessary investment in innovation

I’m reading Switch: How to change things when change is hard by the Heath brothers and in one of the middle chapters called Grow your people there’s a very important lesson on the topic of the fear of failure when provoking change. Here are some thoughts:

Since everything is hard before it is easy, in order to create change we have to be able to move people to a different set of behaviors and most of the time this is where the problem exists because people fear situations that are unknown. To keep people motivated in the long road to change, you need to create the expectation of failure.

According to the Heath brothers learning from failure begins with having the right mindset. A person with a is more likely to view failure as learning as opposed to one who has a fixed mindset and prefers routine tasks, therefore we must work to cultivate a growth mindset in your organization.

I think this where it all starts because as humans we’ve been programmed to think that ‘failure is wrong’ when really and so we’re taught to ignore the middle part of the process where all the learning takes place. The middle is the journey, where the ups and downs happen and you need the will to break through.

As the Economist recently mentioned, the key to the success to any change initiative is that first:


Leaders of organizations should allow their innovators to be scientists and tell our teams we don’t expect 100 percent success in early experiments. The important thing is to learn from failed experiments early in the process and use those lessons to map out a path to success.


For the purpose of credibility here’s a story from the book that I think is worth highlighting:

*Failing is often the best way to learn and because of that early failure is a kind of necessary investment. A famous story about IBM makes the point well. In the 1960’s, an executive at IBM made a decision that ended up losing the company $10 million. The CEO of IBM, Tom Watson, summoned the offending executive to his office at corporate headquarters. The journalist Paul B. Carroll described what happened next:


As the executive cowered, Watson asked, “Do you know why I’ve asked you here?”

The man replied, “I assume I’m here so you can fire me.”

Watson looked surprised.

“Fire you?” he asked. “Of course not. I just spent $10 million educating you.”


I’m almost finished reading the book and will post any other thoughts I think are worth mentioning.

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