The 5 Second Rule

In The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins shares how to stop procrastinating, eliminate worrying, and make dreams a reality.  From waking up to starting a challenging project, count down from five to one and get out of bed or start the project.  While simple, this approach redirects to what we should be doing.  If you need motivation or inspiration to take action, the five-second rule gets you moving.

Further, Robbins uses the five-second rule to compliment a co-worker or make a decision at the moment instead of waiting for the right time.  From the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, to the Fifty Shades of Grey author, the book shares they went from waiting for the right time to taking action.

Instead of focusing on how we feel, the five-second rule focuses on taking action and moving away from distraction.  Smartphones and other devices were created to make us more productive, but because they can provide a convenient distraction, they can have the opposite effect, resulting in destructive procrastination. 

As the book Mindset states, our minds and personalities are flexible.  To get the results you want in life, take action in “five, four, three, two, one.”

Magic Words

In his book, Magic Words, Tim David shares words that can dramatically increase persuasion.  Magic words are words that use more effective communicators and help motivate others to take action.  For magic words to work, they need a strong relationship and connection.

The first magic word is “yes,” and getting someone to say “yes” before your actual ask increases your odds of success.  In fact, in one study of salespeople, those that got the customer to say yes to anything a few times before they asked for the sale increased their success rate from 18 to 32%.

Our name. What’s the favorite word for any of us to hear? Want to make someone feel important? Use their name when you’re talking with them.

Another magic word is “but.” Saying but makes someone think that everything you said before the but isn’t what you mean.

If you want to get what you want, give a reason.  A Harvard professor studied how someone using a copier shared why they needed to cut in line.  60% of the time, a person successfully cut in line because she shared her “because.”

Help. It’s useful when delegating.  For most of us, “help” is a powerful word.  When someone asks for help, we’re inclined to lean in and give our best.

The last magic word is “thanks.” Many years ago, I was part of an executive coaching, Strategic Coach program.  Quarterly, I’d fly out to Chicago.  The main tenants of the program shared that for us to be successful were to be on time, to what we say, to finish what we start, and say please and thank you.

The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success

In The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, the author shares what makes a psychopath and lessons we can learn from psychopaths.

The book shares that one to two percent of the population could be considered psychopaths.  Psychopaths use charm and polish to cover up their evil side.  They are brilliant and lack emotions like guilt, fear, and shame.  Lack of fear makes them take chances and not worry about failure.  This combination makes them a functioning psychopaths where they can end up in high positions like executives and surgeons.

The book shares an example of how differently psychopaths and non-psychopaths solve a moral dilemma: A train will run into and kill five people.  You have a switch to divert the train to another track that will kill one person.  For psychopaths they don’t hesitate to throw the switch.  Non-psychopaths need time to make the decision, and if it required them to physically push one person into the train to save five lives, they wouldn’t do it.  A psychopath would.

While most of us take time to think through the potential outcomes of our actions, psychopaths don’t.  With a disdain for boredom, they act quickly.  And, once they’ve swiftly acted and had success, they’re more likely to do it again—from a business decision to murder.  Psychopaths do things that others only think about, which is why they could end up in prison or leading a business.

Psychopathy, like other mental conditions, isn’t binary.  Instead, there’s a continuum.  In this continuum, advancement can come from the moderate expression of many psychopathic qualities combined with restraint to not act immediately on every desire.

Psychopaths live in the here and now.  They’re excellent at executing without letting feelings get in the way—because they don’t have them.  Without emotion, this ability to be in the moment makes psychopaths good at high-risk fields like being a soldier or firefighter.

Along with being in the moment, psychopaths stay calm and take action versus seize up in fear when making a hard decision.  This ability to take action gives psychopaths an advantage over regular people.  So, how can an average person use psychopathic traits to their advantage?  Use meditation as a way to be in the moment and use this practice to help make decisions.  Also, like any good psychopath, understand the power of persuasion.

Blue Ocean Shift Tools

In my previous post on Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing, I shared the differences between blue and red oceans and the four principles of blue ocean strategy.  In this post, I outline blue ocean elements and tools.

The earlier post mentioned humanness.  Humanness has three elements:

  • Atomization:  Allowing people to know something is achievable by making larger, daunting tasks attainable by breaking them into smaller pieces.
  • First-hand discovery:  Every team member thinks in new ways and experiences. 
  • Fair process:  This is achieved through engagement, explanation, and clear expectations.  Engagement gets stakeholders in the decision-making process.  Explanation means sharing a deep dive on why the group is passing on some ideas.  Clear expectations mean what it sounds like; everyone understands what’s expected and the objective measure of success.

Five tools implement a blue ocean shift:

  • Pioneer-migrator-settler map:  This tool assesses how an organization’s offering fits in the overall market.  It breaks customers into three groups: pioneers—customers who love your product, settlers—customers who view your product about the same as your competitors, migrators—customers in the middle.  Draw a rectangle with three sections.  On the bottom, list your settlers.  In the middle, list migrators.  At the top, list the pioneers.  Next, draw circles that represent the revenue each offering generates.  Bigger circle = more revenue.  Where is the bulk of your business?  How can you make pioneers larger and flip migrators to pioneers?
  • Strategy canvas:  The strategy canvas rates your offering against your top competitor.  To create a strategy canvas, put the top ten to 12 competitive factors on the x-axis.  On the y axis, make a scale of one (bad) to five (best).  Take one of your offerings and rate each for each factor.  Draw a line through your and your competitor’s data points.  How do you stack up?  Do the curves roughly match?  If so, it’s a red ocean.  If you’re consistently below, they have the better offering.
  • Buyer utility map:  This is a six-by-six table.  Label the columns purchase, delivery, use, supplements, maintenance, and disposal.  These columns represent the buyer’s life cycle.  Label the rows customer productivity, simplicity, convenience, risk reduction, fun/image, and environmental friendliness.  Answer questions like:  What’s the convenience of purchasing your product?  Where are there opportunities for innovation?  What are areas that are pain points?  How environmentally friendly is it for a customer to dispose of your product?
  • Six paths framework:  This tool generates ideas.  The first path questions why a buyer chooses one option over another.  For example, why do some investors use a self-service website instead of using a financial planner?  The second path looks at your specific industry.  For example, why does a buyer choose one offering over another?  Is it cost, convenience, or something else?  Path three evaluates the chain of buyers.  Who is involved with the buying decision?  Is it the ultimate end user?  Who are the ignored people in the buying process that you could target?  Path five asks how this purchase fits in the big picture.  Is this a stand-alone purchase or part of something bigger?  Path five encourages comparing emotion and functionality as it relates to the buying process and production.  Path six looks at things outside your control that could impact your organization (think weather for a farmer).
  • The six paths framework identifies opportunities.  The authors give us a final tool with the four actions framework to break them down into activities.
  • The four actions framework looks for opportunities.  What is something taken for granted to eliminate?  The book shares a hotel chain called CitizenM, where they got rid of the front desk and replaced it with a self-serve kiosk.  What is something to reduce?  Back to the hotel example, they reduced the room size realizing most travelers don’t hang out in their room.  Where can industry standards be raised?  At CitizenM, this meant soundproof walls and high-quality beds.  Where are there opportunities to create?  At CitizenM, ambassadors replace front-desk workers and are available throughout the hotel to help guests, and because all rooms are the same, they used prefabricated rooms.

The last step shared by the authors is a blue ocean fair.  Invite top leaders to the fair.  At the fair, start with a recap of your current red ocean.  Share why a shift makes sense.  Next, come presentations on new blue oceans.  Each blue ocean idea should have a tagline.  Each presentation should include a strategy canvas and the four actions framework.

When presentations finish, it’s time for the fair.  A station represents each blue ocean idea.  Stations have posters or product prototypes.  Blue ocean working group members can be at their respective stations.  The fair concludes with top leaders voting on the ultimate idea.

Blue ocean away!

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing

I’ve just finished Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing.  It has a lot of info.  So I’m breaking it into a couple of posts.  Here’s a recap of the first half of the book:

  • Red oceans are hyper-crowded and competitive, and blue is entirely new markets or models.
  • The two primary red ocean strategies are value-driven by giving exceptional service or low cost.  The blue ocean strategy focuses on unserved markets.
  • Beyond looking at unserved markets, a blue ocean approach uses “humanness” to engage employees to make the change and tools to turn a blue ocean idea into an offering.  Humanness is recognizing people’s fears and needs for a purpose. 
  • Blue ocean uses non-disruptive creation where a market isn’t destroyed or replaced but is a net new market
  • To illustrate the four pillars of a blue ocean strategy, the authors share the story of Comic Relief.  First, Comic Relief took an entirely new approach to fundraise and avoided previous typical fundraising approaches like galas.  Second, blue ocean approaches don’t try to beat competitors; instead, they have new competition through creating a new market.  In the Comic Relief example, they used “Red Nose Days,” where money was raised through small donations, not significant events.  Third, a blue ocean approach looks for a new market.  Comic Relief meant focusing on everyday people buying red noses instead of wealthy donors at galas.  Fourth, they empathized with people’s concerns and shared their role in making it all happen.

I’ll cover the key elements and tools to make a Blue Ocean shift in the next post.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes