Enlightened Conflict

angry strategizing

August 11th, 2016

if you are not angry you are not paying attention

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“It’s time we stop worrying, and get angry you know?

But not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds.”

 

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Tupac Shakur

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This is hardly worth fighting for

But it’s the little petty shit that I can’t ignore

When my fist hits your face and your face hits the floor

 

It’ll be a long time coming

But you got the message now

‘Cause I was never going

You’re the one that’s going down

 

One of us is going down

I’m not running,

It’s a little different now

‘Cause one of us is going

One of us is going down

 

—————-

Sick Puppies

<You’re Going Down>

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Well.

 

The Olympics is reminding us of a topic which is not discussed often enough in business … angry competition. I call it angry strategizing.

angry strategy yell think business

 

 

Yeah.

 

The Olympics has reminded me about competing angry.

 

While the Olympics are supposed to be about the love of competition and a better world through sports competition … it is actually about determining the best in the world. And that, my friends, is not about love it is about the rage of competition.

And while I will surely give a nod to respect shown to other great competitors and the aftermath camaraderie that can only be had among the best in the world who have competed the hardest and recognize greatness around them at the Olympics, and how they do so even in loss, I must point out that the Olympic best carry a certain rage into their competitiveness.

 

It may not be the traditional version of anger but it is most certainly a version of anger.

 

And it drives them to compete with the intent to beat the shit out of whomever they are competing against and be the best they can be so they can actually be the best.

 

I say all that because I don’t believe enough business people strategize with some anger. Anger that … well … there are some stupid ideas out there …

 

some stupid opinions

 

some stupid attitudes

 

competitors say and do stupid things

 

and certainly there is a stupid acceptance of mediocrity.

 

I know that I have sat in a meeting room with some business partners and looked around at the competition and what they were doing and saying and … angry sign window republicanwell … got angry.

 

And got angry enough t want and do something about it.

 

 

Being angry in business. and, no, I am not talking about being some anger management candidate but I mean planning angry … developing a strategy thinking with some anger about the status quo … maybe even having some anger toward conventional thinking and certainly some anger against whomever you are competing <but you can still respect the ones who deserve the respect while doing so> is effective and leads to effective business strategy to create real distinction in the marketplace.

 

To be clear.

 

Anger, to me, is much more useful than disdain.

 

Disdain breeds some arrogance and certainly diminishes the capabilities of the competition as you think about competing against them. In your scoffing at them it suggests that it is … is … well … just not worth even thinking about.

 

Anger, on the other hand, suggests you are facing what is straight on … in its face … and taking it head on. Anger guides you not toward some flimsy white space but directly into the fray …  directly toward the space you want in a market <whether it is already occupied or not> and take it.

 

Or, as Admiral Nelson once said, “you can do no wrong by putting yourself as close to the enemy as possible.”

 

 

And you know what?

 

In business strategy that is smart.

 

So that is why I call this the angry business strategy.

 

Certainly … there is only one real way to win … and that is without cheating.

Anger almost forces you to not only recognize that there is no virtue to be found in taking a shortcut <although shortcuts never really exist anyway> … but that there is no long cut or shortcut but rather simply getting up and going … and competing to win.

 

I am sure someone will point out that it may simply be you look around and get aggravated by what you see and decide to do something about it.

 

But I think if you have the team, and you have the product or service and you actually have the means to make your mark in the business world … then … well … it is okay if you look around at the competition and the competitive business world and get a little pissed … not just aggravated.

 

You get a little angry …

This is stupid … there is a better way.

 

This is crazy … I have a better product.

 

This is nuts … I can’t believe people believe that shit.

 

Your anger puts an edge on what you decide to say and do.

 

Far too often we sit around and have pot after pot of strong coffee and have intellectual discussions on how to smartly effectively compete. We worry through some fairly random details, talk about being the best and then go ahead and be anything but the best.

 

So … you know what?

 

If you are better and have a better offering and are truly worth a shit and want people to know you are worth a shit … well then … there is no real intellectual challenge.

 

You get on with getting on.

 

You just get competitively angry and stand in the middle of the field and say “here I am, and I am not going down.”

 

strategy think anger angry business ideas filterI am not suggesting being stupid about competing.

 

Nor am I suggesting bludgeoning the industry and competitors with some dull edged hammer.

 

But I am suggesting the anger puts some attitude into your strategy and tactics.

 

It puts a sharper edge into your sense of competitive purpose.

 

And here is what I know.

 

If it isn’t blind anger but rather competitive anger … you won’t tiptoe into your messaging and go to market strategy. You will stride in with some swagger, some confidence and clearly some strong purposeful messaging.

 

I think … no … I know more businesses would do better to attack their business meeting angry business strategystrategy with some anger.

 

Get a little pissed about perceptions, attitudes and mediocrity.

 

Get pissed that people are accepting less than the best and less than real truth.

 

Get pissed at yourself if you are in a position where you don’t believe enough in yourself and your offering to be able to get pissed.

 

Yeah.

 

I do believe more businesses should strategize with some anger.

As Tupac said … not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds.

fluff and fold (aesthetics and value)

May 24th, 2016

trust just fluffy duck

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“Aesthetics is the shop window, ultimately, if there’s nothing in that shop, it has no longevity, do you know what I mean?”

 

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Geri Halliwell

 

———————-

 

 

Well.

 

 

Of all people in the world I never thought I would read ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell <Ginger Spice?> saying something relevant to business … and actually use it to write something.

Laundry_Bath_Comps

Anyone who has ever worked with me has heard me use the “fluff and fold” reference.

 

Fluff is the aesthetics.

 

Fold is the value.

 

Fluff is puffery.

 

Fold is the substance.

 

Look.

 

We like the aesthetics. Maybe even love it, adore it and bond with it.

But without the fold … the value and functionality … we end up disappointed in the aesthetics … and will inevitably move on to the next thing to adore.

 

And while I have never articulated this thought like Geri did I have tried to say it over and over … and over again in meeting after meeting after … well … meeting.

 

I do know it is one of the most consistent discussions in business positioning, selling and marketing. and it will continue to do so because there is a natural tension between “fluffers” and “folders.”

 

While the most strident of each wish it would be 100% at the exclusion of their kindred enemy … most of fall into a natural 80/20 versus 20/80 Pareto rule.

 

A fluffer understands that substance is necessary … just maybe as a period at the end of the interesting fluff.

 

And the folder grudgingly accepts that aesthetics are necessary … just maybe as a “once upon a time” entrée to the main story of substance.

 

It really doesn’t matter which side you fall on in this discussion the debate revolves around the same issues time and time again:pooh full of fluff

 

  • If they are not interested <sometimes confused with ‘entertained’> they will not pay attention

 

  • Everybody is stressed for time and if you don’t engage them in the first 10 seconds you have lost them <hyperbole statement at best>

 

  • People are tired of bullshit and just want you to cut to the chase <flawed logic because this assumes substance sell itself>

 

But regardless of how often all of us fall into this tired argument … here is where most trains go off the tracks.

 

Suffice it to say … businesses get mesmerized by aesthetics.

 

If I hear one more quote about “first impressions count” or “they have to like you before they can enter into a brand dialogue” or … well … any of the semi-intellectual strategic crap that flippantly gets tossed around like the newest office toy sitting on the conference room table … I will puke.

 

In the simplistic dialogues that take place you inevitably find people debating what is more important when it isn’t a matter of importance … it is a matter of balance.

 

And, yet, while I sense we all know that balance is the answer we seem to consistently slide down the slippery slope of fluff under the guise of “the substance is complex and we need to simplify!”

 

Huh?

 

Everyone wants ‘the one thing.’

 

Everyone wants ‘the formula.’

election they are all nuts vote

 

Nuts.

That is what I say to that.

Nuts.

 

 

Substance is substance. I am not suggesting you have to serve it up in some complex unpalatable way but … well … substance, more often than not, is not simple. And if we try and simplify substance too much, uh oh, it becomes … uhm … fluff.

 

In the end.

 

You cannot just have fluff.

 

You cannot just have fold.

 

You have to have both in some form or fashion.

 

And more often than not there is no formula … but … I have to tell ya … if you can balance your fluff and fold in a quasi-50/50 split <maybe 40% fluff & 60% fold> you have a very good chance of delivering relevant information in a palatable way.

 

Oh. That word may get me in trouble … “palatable.

 

Look.

 

I am clearly in the substance <fold> camp.

While I enjoy the fluff I find that it maddeningly takes up an excessive amount of energy and focus away from fluff and fold colorsubstance <fold> which is inevitably what represents the effectiveness of whatever idea you are sharing.

 

But I have also learned, and have the scars to show, that ideas … even great bigly ideas … do not explain themselves, do not sell themselves and are often not attractive in their black & whiteness. And I have learned that, while starkness has its time & place businesses <and people in general> engage with things that have a more rich & royal hue.

 

I imagine all us business folk should remember the famous words of that ex-Spice Girl Geri:

 

Aesthetics matter … but … if there is nothing in that shop … well … there is no longevity … is there?

 

 

 

Enlightened Conflict