The Big Secret

o_i-ve-got-a-secret-50-s-game-show-ca441 . Nothing works 100% of the time. A machine can have a motor replaced but a sales manager can’t have a personality transplant. Maybe a new story about who he is and why customers need him will mean he sells more, but maybe it won’t.  Successes of 70% or higher are good. Expect more and you kill good ideas as heartlessly as killing imperfect children.

2 . Tiny details can deliver great power and huge gestures can mean nothing. One plus one doesn’t equal two anymore.

3 . Since the situation, emotional state, and time context are unpredictable the outcome is always unpredictable.

Use the New Rules Sparingly

Objective thinking is still important so decisions involving people need two sequential conversations using numbers logic and people logic (emotional connection to product/decisions) UNDERSTAND, the two results may create mutually exclusive conclusions. That’s why you get paid the big bucks – find the balance. But don’t hug the numbers and belittle the emotions. When you want to tell a story:

1 . Embrace risk. Creativity means deviation from the norm. Any story that deeply taps into emotions that change behavior are outside the lines. Relax. It won’t work 20 to 30% of the time, but you aren’t locked in.

2 . All stories are specific. Yes, there are archetypes: hero, warrior princess, mother and child, voyage home, humble savior. But humble savior is nothing like the movie, “The Matrix.” To make a story produce emotion you have to be specific. It is hellish to abandon the safety of generalization for one story in order to stimulate details of sound, image, taste, touch, and smell. But generalities can’t create goosebumps or passion or desire.

3 . Once you step off into uncertainly, your only sense of balance comes from tracking the response of your audience, customers, or employees. It is the most intense listening you’ve ever done. When we crave certainty we use objective measurements against pre-stated goals as a defense against real connection and true communication. If you want better communication anywhere in your life, uncertainty is a great place to start.

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