I’m a firm believer that, no matter what it is, you can always find value in something.
For example, watching a Twilight movie tells you what not to do when you want to be taken seriously as a film maker or scriptwriter.
Standing from that point of view, I was watching the History Channel and thought to myself… What if the show “Ancient Aliens” wasn’t just entertainment? What if it was an access to some insight on how to run your business? What if aliens did exist and they visited our ancient ancestors?
Well less of the latter and more of the former. But you get my point.
So what could you take away?
1) Your frontliners elicit your level of credibility
Need I say more?
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how intricately connected your data is or how convincing your arguments are, when the person who represents you or your organization looks like this. Meet Tsoukalos a.k.a. “The Alien Guy” of Ancient Aliens.
I’m all for individuality and self-expression but that needs to be balanced by being responsible for how people perceive you and your organization (even Einstein had a hard time pulling off that hair).
In an ideal world people would simply just listen to what you have to say. But, in the world we live in, you are dealing with perceptions both on a conscious and unconscious level.
Protect your brand. Your frontliners, whether they are your sales force, spokespersons or even you, they speak for your cause.
If you don’t intentionally design the way people perceive your frontliners then you are destined to deal with the reactions and automatic judgments of the internal voice of your listener.
You know the one I’m talking about. The one that says, “Another beer wouldn’t hurt,” but in the morning tells you “You’re an idiot. Why is there a penis drawn on my face?”.
Let’s face it, our internal voices aren’t very forgiving or very logical.
Remove the automatic barriers that distract your listener from your message.
The other pitfall is that your audience can now hear the frontliner but the frontliner has no idea what they are talking about.
There is a gem of insight Tsoukalos can show you. Be knowledgable. If there’s one thing that he’s got going for him, there’s a wealth of information hidden behind his chestnut-colored curls.
Invest in training yourself and your frontliners, may it be in presentations, knowledge of product or FAQ’s. In SPIN, sometimes I find myself playing a make-shift Alex Trebek to make our communications seminars fun.
Be clear that the people around you can explain it just well as you can or even better.
In the simplest words possible, know your shit.
Now, let’s go beyond the surface…
2) Human beings are constantly searching for meaning
Take away the aliens, the overly used hair product and what you’ll see is a constant deep-rooted yearning of the human race for meaning and purpose in the, sometimes, mundane existence we find ourselves living in.
In the same way – your customer, your audience – they’re constantly looking for that “Why?” factor.
Simon Sinek was on to something when he said, to inspire action, it’s more about the “Why?” than the “What?” and the “How?”
Create deep value for your product or service. Get clear on your “Why?” and the “Why?” of your customers. Then back it up with solid execution of the “What?” and the “How?”.
And how do you create and solidify that value on the end of the consumer?
3) Well crafted stories are compelling
Just look at every episode of Ancient Aliens. It’s not just the facts that hook you. It’s the narrative that weaves those facts together.
There are just enough holes for people to fill in the blanks.
So what’s your story? What’s your brand narrative?
Sometimes, the greatest stories are open ended. Which leads me to…
4) There are just some things that we can’t explain
The devil will look for any reason for your project or business to fail. The optimist will look at any reason for your project or business to succeed.
Entrepreneurs, team members and project managers will try to find any explanation or reason for failure, for success or for why they hired that damn intern.
In retrospect, their will be millions of interpretations that you can create. There will be various kinds of data that you may or may not collect and they may or may not portray an accurate “causal” phenomenon or a clear connected pattern. That’s life.
In the end, it’s going to be persistence… Balance your knowledge and data with a hefty amount of faith.
Because let’s face it, when the ancient aliens come back to the Mayan and Egyptian pyramids, those ancient astronaut theorists are gonna be the guys who say… “I told you so. Now, kneel before Zod”
So maybe Ancient Aliens won’t come in and save our civilization (or destroy us, depending on your philosophical leanings). Either way, you can get some value now…
Prepare your frontliners. Know your shit. Know your “Why?”. Create meaning and value through compelling narratives and stories. And most of all, remember you can’t explain everything so have a little faith.
Field Manual is a series of instructional insight-driven posts designed for founders, entrepreneurs and changemakers.