“What is Your
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
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
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
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.
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,
That is today’s
MORNING MINUTE: 6/09/23
Have you ever completed a project that worked exactly as you
However, that project created either another problem or a new
How about a decision you made that created either a new opportunity
or a new problem?
These are “Unintended Consequences.” These may be positive
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:
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
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
Then make your decision and monitor the results.
That is today’s Morning Minute.