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Make Explaining Your New Profit Growth Route Your Top Priority

Jan 29, 2008
A major U.S. television network decided to run local celebrity events to encourage viewing of its flagging soap operas (daytime serial dramas). Normally, hundreds of people will show up at such free events. Fans will meet new actors and actresses in the series. Based on these personal contacts, fans will watch a given soap opera more often and encourage their friends to do the same.

Since most people would like to meet such celebrities, it's a no brainer to gather a crowd. The challenge is to handle the crowd. Each actor and actress needs to have people nearby to keep the crowd friendly and under control.

Imagine the surprise of the network executives when only 30 people attended the first event . . . and the second . . . and the third. Red-faced managers postponed the remaining events after realizing that no one had publicized the events except for a few casual remarks made by performers at earlier events. Why? No one was in charge of publicity for these upcoming events!

The persistence of bad information can make the challenge of communicating well even greater. A season ticket holder for the Miami Dolphins routinely sat in traffic for hours to get into the stadium parking lot. Only after three years did he learn that there was a direct exit off the Florida Turnpike that would put him into a parking spot in just a few minutes. He had just been following the parking signs, of which there were quite a few, but none that indicated what the best route was.

By comparison, travel across the Hudson River on the two-level George Washington Bridge in or out of New York City and you should be able to do better. When you near the bridge's on ramps, you will see adjustable, lit signs that describe the traffic conditions on both the upper and lower roadways. If there is construction underway on one level and not on the other, you'll know that too. During those times when your choice makes a difference in your crossing time, you should almost always be able to make the right decision . . . if someone in your car can read English reasonably well.

Leaving the bridge in New Jersey, though, that clarity is soon lost. Each sign beyond the bridge contains references to at least four route numbers along with various place names. Unless you know New Jersey well, you will soon be scratching your head to figure out how to get onto the right road. The roads also wind unexpectedly and have quickly looming off-ramps that are hard to see in advance. Faced with this overabundance of information, many travelers coming from New York are totally perplexed and end up where they don't want to go.

What's the problem? There's no one in charge of making your trip from Manhattan onto the road of your choice in New Jersey a simple process. Putting signs on the bridge that included diagrams of the road choices ahead would help greatly. But is New York likely to take on that responsibility once its citizens and visitors are on their way to leave the Empire State? Clearly, no.

Similar hand-off problems involving multiple departments in an organization create the same kinds of unnecessary confusion. Anyone who has ever wanted an exception to their company's human resources policies knows this. You find yourself talking to your boss, your unit's human resources manager, bookkeepers, lawyers, and insurance managers, and they all tell you the same thing: Go see someone else.

Eventually, your request goes to the head of human resources who tells you firmly that no exceptions will be made. Naturally, your blood boils when you learn three years later that the company has put in a new policy that would have accommodated your earlier request . . . with no intention of going back and fixing the prior problem for you.

This lack of responsiveness shows the tendency of group functioning to alternate between the unappealing dimensions of apathy and inertia. Pity the poor person who needs some help!

Are you ready to explain your next profit-expanding initiative?

How well will your communication be received and understand? Check it out!
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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