Uncovering the Why Behind the Buy; The Art of Sensemaking

mad scientistNever send a statistician to do an anthropologist’s job.

Big Business is learning that all the big data at their fingertips still can’t uncover the essence of WHY people will buy and buy again. Turns out, you have to talk to and observe people, in order to gain that magic insight.

An article in the fall 2017 edition of Harvard Business Review (HBR.org) by Christian Maadsberg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen, titled An Anthropologist Walks into a Bar…, talks about how organizations like Lego re-discovered their core business by doing something truly radical….really getting to know their customer. They engaged in a discovery process called Sensemaking.

Sensemaking; is the art of merging the hard and soft sciences to dig deeper into what motivates human behavior. It is the study of how people experience life. Smart companies use this information to inform strategy, product development and corporate culture.

The article outlines the 5 Steps to Sensemaking:

  1. Reframe the Problem; Stop labeling it a Problem and start thinking of it as a Phenomenon to be studied. Switch your perspective from Inside Out (how the business perceives the problem) to Outside In (Understanding how your customer ACTUALLY interfaces with your product or service.)
  2. Collect the Data; Ah, but here’s the magic formula – you must approach the data collection process without a pre-conceived hypothesis. Enter the process with zero assumptions about what you might find. The goal here is raw, personal, real-time data.
  3. Look for Patterns; Now Peel the Onion, go beyond the outer layer of observable behavior and start to analyze the data for patterns and themes, to unearth the underlying causes behind customer behavior. The real WHY.
  4. Create Key Insights; Look for gaps between your assumptions and your customer’s actual behavior. Ask questions like “What are we missing? “How can we look at this differently? And What if?”
  5. Build the Business Impact; Now, translate insight into initiative. Create an innovative strategy to bring to market the solutions for your customer’s newly uncovered needs and desires.

I am personally very excited to see a high-touch approach like Sensemaking being used by business as an avenue for understanding human behavior. 

I have always studied and observed human behavior, my own and others. As a comedian and humorist for over 30 years, my self-appointed job-description has always been; “To keep an eye on humanity and report back.”

I think of myself as a social anthropologist with a punchline…using humor to help spotlight the funny in the foibles of human behavior and inspiring positive change.

Comedians ask the same questions as all great innovators: “What if? What’s missing? Why do we do this? Is there a better way?” You could say, that we use humor to achieve sense-making.

And now, a parting piece of wisdom from one of the all-time, great social scientists, Star Treks’ Dr. Spock:

Logic is only the beginning of wisdom.”

For more information on Sensemaking go to HBR.org or pick up a copy of the Harvard Business Review; The Leader’s Guide to Problem-Solving at your newsstand.

Karyn Ruth White is a Success Humorist, Social Anthropologist, Comedian, Author and Keynote Speaker.   Visit her at www.karynruth.com, info@karynruth.com

Leave It Better Than You Found It

littering-3Between political pundits and power leaf blowers, there sure is A LOT of hot air blowing this month.

Tomorrow we elect a new president. I know who I am voting for and why, do you?

I am amazed at how many people seem to look to leaders to “fix” the problems in their own lives.  Sure, great leadership is an asset, but the ultimate responsibility for your life and your happiness lies in your hands alone.

There is a little old man who walks in the same park I walk in.  He always has a white plastic bag in his hands and he stops to pick up litter as he walks.  I love that he has taken it upon himself to better his immediate environment.  My prayer for him is that he doesn’t let his anger toward the litterers eat him up inside.

When I see him, I am reminded of the power of individual initiative. If each person on the planet just decided to do the best they could in their own realm of influence, the world would transform.

Instead of cranking up your leaf blower and blowing leaves off of your lawn into the street and making them someone else’s problem, instead of leaving a shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot and creating chaos for the rest of us– we could decide to become a more mindful people.  We could think about our actions and the consequences they create, and we could exercise our freedom to make a grander choice.

Never, ever, ever underestimate the power of personal accountability as a change agent for peace and progress.

The boy scouts have a great mantra- “Leave it better than you found it.”  This applies to camping, living and voting.

I love America (faults and all), and I will do my part, and more, to keep her great. Even if it means walking those five extra steps to put away my shopping cart…because…hey, that’s just the kind of patriot I am.

Karyn Ruth White is a thought-laugher in the exciting field of Human Potential.  She calls herself a Success Humorist (a job title she made up.) She energizes Conferences around the U.S. with her hilariously poignant Keynote talks. She is an author, a comedian, a proud American and the owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise helping people to live and work from their greatness  Visit her on-line at karynruth.com or email her at info@karynruth.com.

Boz-No

clown-362155_1280Here is yet another sighting of a sinister clown. By the way, this isn’t me, it is a scary clip-art clown that I (and you) will be having nightmares about for the next week.

If you follow the news, sinister clowns are popping up all over.

Sinister clown sightings have been reported in Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

How must all this hoopla be affecting the good clowns; the volunteer clowns, the hospital clowns, the Patch Adams’ clowns, Ronald McDonald?

I read recently that McDonald’s is giving Ronald a little vacation until all the sawdust settles around this scary clown phenomenon.

Here’s a newsflash:

Clowns have always been a little bit scary. They have also always been a bit mystical, whimsical and fun.

Like people…I guess whether or not you like them…all depends on the clown.

If you nose around a little, you’ll start to notice that the word “clown” is frequently used with a tinge of negativity.

Some examples:

“You kids stop clowning around.

Some clown at the bar wants to buy you a drink. 

So I’m on the freeway going 70, and this Bozo swerves and cuts me off.”

I once got a call from a meeting planner who wanted me to come and do a Stand-Up Comedy Show for a group of clowns.  I said: “They’re clowns, why do they need a comedian?”

I’ll never forget her response:

“Karyn Ruth, these are the angriest people I’ve ever met.”

I said: “So let’s review, you’re asking me if I want to perform comedy for a room full of angry clowns? That’s a big BOZ-NO.”

The clown I like to focus on is my inner-clown.

I love to be goofy, because it wakes people up, it reminds me and others not to take it all so seriously and it makes life more fun. I don’t need a clown nose, white face paint or baggy pants to access my inner-clown at any moment.

I once had a dental appointment to have a crown removed. I was NOT looking forward to it. So I decided to access my inner-clown and have some fun with it. I walked into the dental office wearing a jeweled gold crown on my head. There was one very nervous-looking woman sitting in the waiting area. I regally waltzed up to the counter and said:

“Good Morning, my name is Karyn Ruth White and I am here to have a crown removed.” The receptionist laughed so hard she actually fell out of her chair.  The woman in the waiting room did NOT see the humor, which made it even funnier for me. It worked to lighten the mood in the office, calm my nerves and the surgery ended up going really well. By the way, that crown is still used as a prop in my dentist’s office. That’s right, when it comes to fun, the Queen is willing to abdicate her crown.

This Halloween, I invite you to tap into your own inner-clown. Have fun, dress up, step outside of your comfort zone, but when the costumes come off, don’t wait until next year to conjure up the fun.  I invite you to commit to carry your inner-clown around with you- at the ready – all year round.

Karyn Ruth White is a thought-laugher in the exciting field of Human Potential.  She calls herself a Success Humorist (a job title she made up.) She energizes Conferences around the U.S. with her hilariously poignant Keynote talks. She is an author, a comedian and the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise helping people to live and work (and clown around) from their greatness.  Visit her on-line at karynruth.com or email her at info@karynruth.com

A NAY A DAY

no-1532789_1280How freeing would it feel if you were no longer paralyzed by the thought of someone saying NO to you? Wow, imagine that. 

Imagine if you could get to the point where NO, no longer stopped you in your tracks.  Better still, what if you could get to the point where you actually welcomed the possibility of hearing NO, as a gauge for growth?

Some experts believe that if you aren’t hearing NO at least once a day, then you’re not trying hard enough.  I love this concept.

I love the idea of actively pushing the boundaries every day until you get a NO. 

Megan McArdle in her book The Up Side of Down; Why Failing Well is the Key to Success, offers this advice in the August 2016 issue of Success Magazine; “ Failure feels bad precisely because it’s the way your brain says, ‘HEY DON’T DO THAT ANYMORE.’ ”

I think the block for most of us is that we see getting a NO as some sort of a failure.  Sure it may be a disappointment or an inconvenience, but we don’t have to frame it as a failure. And we do NOT have to take it personally.

What if…going forward…you invited opportunities to hear NO? What if you made a game of it?  The challenge: To get at least one NO every day.

Experts call this “Exposure Therapy” (no trench coat required). The more you expose yourself to NO, the less power it has to block you. Check out the website RejectionTherapy.com for more information. It was created by Jason Comely who says: “The underlying philosophy of Rejection Therapy is sort of Zen; It’s about not being attached to the outcome.”

By continuing to exercise the NO muscle, we become more and more acclimated to the fact that NO is a natural part of life and not inherently a failure.

In my 30 years as a Comedian, Success Humorist, Speaker and Author, I have learned to celebrate the No’s, as well as the Yes’s.

You have to learn to get past NO, if you are going to accomplish anything of value on this planet. So suck it up, grow a spine and get out there and get your share of NO’s.

Go beyond not fearing NO, actually make friends with the word NO. Invite it to tea. Seek out a “Nay a Day.” When you no longer fear NO — anything becomes possible.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from artist Brian Andreas;

“In my dream, the angel shrugged and said if we fail this time it will be a failure of imagination and then she placed the world gently in the palm of my hand.” 

brianandreas.com

www.storypeople.com

Karyn Ruth White is a Success Humorist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Comedian. She is the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, a company helping people work and live with more joy and less stress. Karyn Ruth is a woman who prides herself on not taking NO for a final answer. Visit www.karynruth.com, info@karynruth.com.

 

FINE is a Four Letter Word

cash register 2I was recently eating at a local deli. I was having a light snack and catching up on my reading.  I was reading UnMarketing by Scott Stratten, an excellent book on engaging with your customers and treating people well in business.  I was reading about a coffee shop that seemed to be using their social media platform as a way to alienate customers, rather than using it as a tool to engage.

As I am reading this, a patron of the deli walked to the front to pay her check at the register.  I was within earshot of the cashier desk.

The cashier asked…“How was everything?” The patron grumbled that her salad didn’t seem fresh, and that normally when she eats here the lettuce is greener.  The cashier never even looked up from her register, never even gave the customer the courtesy of eye contact as she sing-songed a syrupy sweet, “Sorry about that,” took the money and let the dazed and dismissed customer walk out the door. My guess, for the last time.

Un-friggin-believable!!! I was SO unimpressed with this response that I vowed not to give this deli any future business myself.

Here’s the moral: EVERY COMPLAINT IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE.

Every “less than enthusiastic” response from a customer should be immediately followed up by this question: “How can we make it right for you today?”

Why bother asking the customer, “How was everything?”, if you aren’t going to actually listen and use that information to engage and grow your business?

When you ask your customer, “How was everything?” and the answer comes back, “Fine,” remember FINE IS A FOUR LETTER WORD. People say “FINE” when they are so apathetic about your service or product that they can’t even muster the energy to complain. “FINE” is your cue to jump into action and become a detective.  Your mission is to find out what is “Behind the FINE” and create a delighted, loyal customer.

Back to the Deli…here is how the conversation should have gone:

“How was everything today?”

 “The lettuce was a little wilted, it’s usually so fresh and green.” 

“Well, we can’t have that, can we?  Let me extend my personal apologies. How can we make it right for you today?” (Said while looking the customer in the eye.)

Let the customer respond. Oftentimes, your customers will tell you exactly what will make them happy.

Be ready to extend the offer of a gift certificate for their next visit, or a free dessert of their choice to take with them. It only takes a little extra love to make the customer happy. As your customer, I can forgive your occasional shortcomings if I know you actually care about me.

It is much easier (and cheaper) to keep the current customer satisfied than it is to find (and keep) and new one.

I need to go, I’m off to find a new deli.

Karyn Ruth White is a Success Humorist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Comedian. She is the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping people serve one another with love, laughter and respect. Visit www.karynruth.com, info@karynruth.com.