Adonis Diaries

Archive for February 19th, 2012

Is “emotional labor” an intellectual risk? What you were hoping for again?

This post is an attempt of merging three short posts of Seth Godin within a guiding direction and a single message: Godin’s posts sound modular to me. I realized that if I select three posts of Seth Godin at random, I can discover a unifying message in them. Here is an example, with a few rearrangement and editing; sentences in parenthesis are mine:

You have to make promises to customers to earn their attention for a first trial:  That is the easiest task. The ability to delight and surprise is at the core of every beloved brand for teenagers (a product, a new politician, a new service, a new facility…)  Now, what did you do to deliver on your promises?

You have promised a lot of  “satisfaction” for a product or a service: Have you invested time and detailed efforts to delivering even more than what you promised?

Dissatisfaction occurs when salespeople and marketers tend to try to amplify the first part (what you’re promised) while neglecting the second. Over hyped and shady promises will undercut successes, if you don’t mean to deliver for the long run. Promise a lot but deliver even more.

Research shows that what people remember is far more important than what they experience, (though only experiencing the product is what make a brand a success story).

What’s remembered are:

1. the peak of the experience (bad or good) and,

2. the last part of the experience.

The easiest way to amplify customer satisfaction is more likely to under promise.  The next phase is to increase the positive peak and make sure it happens near the end of the experience you provide. Easy to say, but rarely done.

Written on a tomb in Westminster Abbey

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change

So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country,

But it too seemed unmovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt,

I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me,

But alas, they would have none of it.

And now I realize as I lie on my death-bed, if I had only changed myself first,

Then by example I might have changed my family,

From their inspiration and encouragement I would have been able to better my country,

And who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

It is easy to get behind a cause, it is easy to watch Fox or MSNBC and regurgitate the talking points we hear from the “experts”.

Personal change is hard, it takes real work. But people notice it.

Seth Godin wrote:

“Excitement about goals is often diminished by our fear of failure or the drudgery of work.

If you’re short on passion, it might be because your goals are too small or the fear is too big.

Do a job for a long time and achieve what you set out to achieve, and suddenly, the dream job becomes a trudge instead. The job hasn’t changed–your dreams have.

Mostly, it’s about our fear. Fear is the dream killer, the silent voice that pushes us to lose our passion in a vain attempt to seek safety.

While you can work hard to dream smaller dreams, I think it’s better to embrace the fear and find bigger goals instead.

(I say: “Find the right size of your dream: Tailor-make the trade-off between you capacity to sustain a dream and the power of  your fear in the prospect of failure”)

In this  world you get paid for showing up, paid for hours spent, paid for working. You are pushed to believe that it’s clearly an advantage to have a team that spends more time (working) than the competition. One way to get ahead as a freelancer or a factory worker was simply to put in more hours.

After all, it is the hours spent effectively working that made you more productive, if we define productivity as output per dollar spent. Sounds like this kind of work-life balance challenge is a new artefact that doesn’t hold to brave people.

But people have discovered that after hour 24, there are no more hours left. Suddenly, you can’t get ahead by out-working the other guy, because both of you are already working “the hardest possible”.

Just in time, the economy is now rewarding art and innovation and guts. It’s rewarding brilliant ideas executed with singular direction by aligned teams on behalf of truly motivated customers. None of which is measured on the clock.

Work/life balance is a silly trade-off, just as work/food balance or work/breathing balance is. It’s not really up to you after a point.

Instead of sneaking around the edges, it might pay to cut your hours in half and steadfastly take the intellectual risks and do the emotional labor you’re capable of.

(I think that engaging in “emotional labor” carries an intellectual risk to it: It is accepting that emotions are other forms of defining intelligence).




February 2012

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