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Week of 6/5/23


“What is Your (Real) Objective?”

In my freshman year of college, in American history class, we discussed the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, fought during the American Civil War. Our professor stated that the North won that battle. I asked him how he came to that conclusion. He stated the “consensus” was that the North won because they had fewer casualties. I countered that the Northern objective was to invade Georgia to capture Atlanta. Continuing, I shared that the Southern objective was to drive the Northern army out of Georgia. After the battle, the Northern army retreated out of Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I asked my professor which side achieved their “real” objective

Success in any endeavor, requires clearly identifying your “real” objective. It must be written and specific. It must be measurable. The objective must be achievable and realistic. And, you must have a timeline in which to complete it.

While managing an automobile dealership, we set an objective to sell 48 units during a Labor Day weekend. We had all our sales and support personnel scheduled and available. We adjusted our processes, ensuring that we could handle the increased flow of business, providing both quality of service, while selling the maximum number of cars. To have enough vehicles, we kept all our trade-ins during the 30 days prior to the sale. And, we promoted quantity, quality, and easy financing. On Sunday before Labor Day, we held a “Silent Sale” (we were closed). Customers were invited to drive through our display and write down the sale price of the vehicle they wanted. On Labor Day Monday, they came in early to buy their desired unit at the special sale price. We sold 54 units.

Because everyone bought into the “real” objective, the event was terrific. We executed the 4 Ps: People, Processes, Products, and Promotion. We coordinated sales and support staffs making the process of buying and financing easy and fun. We had the right vehicles available all during the event. Plus, we supported these efforts with well-timed media and messaging.

Final thought: prior to my challenging my professor, I had read 50+ documents on Civil War battles and objectives. Having done my research, I was able to understand the battle better than my teacher. In any endeavor, do your research to be sure you set well-informed, “real” objectives.

“What is Your (Real) Objective?”

That is today’s Morning Minute.

Morning Minute 6/9/23 "Unintended Consequences?"


“Unintended Consequences?”

Have you ever completed a project that worked exactly as you designed it?

However, that project created either another problem or a new opportunity?

How about a decision you made that created either a new opportunity or a new problem?

These are “Unintended Consequences.” These may be positive or negative.

In 1968, Spencer Silver was tasked with developing a newer, stronger adhesive. However, it was not very strong. It did work on paper, allowing it to be removed without damaging the paper. In 1973, Silver tried using this to develop a reusable bulletin board. That failed also. Later on, one of his coworkers needed a paper bookmark that could be moveable without tearing the page. This positive unintended consequence was what we now know as the Post-it-Note…made by 3M.

During WW1 in Europe, the Germans wanted to stop fighting on 2 fronts. In order to end the fighting in the east, a large sum of money was sent to a Russian exile living in Switzerland. That person was to create a worker’s uprising to make Russia quit fighting. Their investment in Vladimir Lenin paid off when Russia dropped out of the war. The negative unintended consequence was the creation of Russian communism which has, to date, been responsible for over 150 million deaths around the world.

Understand that every decision we make may create both positive AND negative results. That requires us to thoroughly research the subject, so we may anticipate ALL the possible consequences. Here are some examples:

·         A team member continues to violate your team rules. However, you have decided that there will be no consequences because she is the star player on the team. While her great performance continues, her teammates begin violating team rules. The unintended consequences are lack of respect for you, lower team morale, and poorer team results. 

·         A very successful beverage company changes their marketing strategy to appeal to a market segment that they have not captured. The unintended consequence was the alienation of their core customers and an 80% reduction in sales.

In order to create successful outcomes for any project, do your research. What exactly is your desired outcome? Who will be affected? What is the best or worst that can happen? What people, processes, products, and/or promotions are required for success? Does your intended outcome outweigh any unintended negative consequences?   

Then make your decision and monitor the results.

That is today’s Morning Minute.