Conventional wisdom holds that when you have a major goal to achieve, you should inform the whole world, as that sort of public declaration will keep you accountable. Yet repeated psychological tests have shown that this is not what actually happens. Instead, when you tell someone your plans and they praise your ambition or intent, the result is the creation of a “social reality” where the mind is tricked into feeling like it’s already done some of the hard work. And then because you’ve felt that glow of social approval, you’re actually less motivated to put in the necessary effort. A better approach, said business author Derek Sivers in a recent TED Talk, is to keep your mouth shut. If you find you really need to tell someone, state it in a way that lends you no easy satisfaction, such as, “I want to run this marathon, so I will need to train five times a week, and kick my ass if I don’t, OK?”
Set Mood Music
Pandora look out. Soundtrack Your Brand, a music-streaming startup charges businesses $50 a month per location, for which they get access to a library of 200,000 to 300,000 tracks. More interesting are the analytics the company is working on, which include correlating data on what is played with sales — so that businesses find the right combination of music to get customers in a mood to buy more.
In an interview with the The Economist, Harvard Business School professor Clay Christenson (founder of disruption theory) lamented the traditional “siloed” structure of academia which he says stymies innovation. “Almost always great new ideas don’t emerge from within a single person or function, but at the intersection of functions or people that have never met before,” he said. What’s that mean for you? Join a hot-air ballooning club. Buy a skateboard. Go to South Korea. Anything to broaden your experience and your chance of having a serendipitous encounter.
A Na'Vi Welcome
Visit the website (njvision.com) of Dr. Dawn Arnold in Union, NJ, and within the first minute an avatar — a video of a friendly-looking woman — pops up to welcome you to the site and ask you to take a quick survey. The avatar was added during a site rebuild about a year ago, and office manager Tuli Santiago says it has been a big help in enabling the clinic to find out where prospective patients were coming from, as well as give them a heads-up on patient issues. “It’s been working really well. I have been getting more hits than I thought I would and it’s been really positive,” Santiago said, adding that she uses the feedback from patients for online testimonials as well.
Salespeople love to keep score. So why not indulge their competitive nature with stat sheets à la the NFL. Post weekly reports showing total yards gained (dollar sales), touchdowns (sales closed), conversions (add-ons), turnovers, fumbles and so on. Offer small prizes to keep it fun and lighthearted. Too much rivalry can undercut cooperation.
Think Toastmasters is for people who are good at public speaking? No way! Many of them are terrible, which is probably the best thing about the club. For a few bucks a month you can join and polish your oratory skills in a friendly, non-intimidating environment. The clubs are everywhere (toastmasters.org/find), so go visit a few to see which one you’d feel most comfortable in and get to work on your introductory speech. How you spent the summer of ‘73 is a popular topic.
Rent a Masterpiece
Your optical is more than a retail outlet, it can also be a gallery for human creativity. So why not ramp up the ambience with some serious artwork? A number of major art museums have rental programs. The Artists Gallery at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, for example, charges about $350 to rent a $5,000 painting for three months. Photos are even cheaper. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, and Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin all have rental programs, as do many community galleries that support local artists.
You’re probably on the lookout for staff right now. As you do, keep in mind this simple reminder from Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: “When in doubt, keep looking.”
Worth 1,000 Words
Having an event you want photographed? Newspaper photographers are hungry for moonlighting jobs. Call your local newspaper’s photo department; someone’s likely to jump at the chance to earn extra cash. And don’t forget, news outlets (including INVISION!) need high-resolution photos to include in their coverage of you. Make sure the final images are at least 300dpi for maximum usage potential.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 edition of INVISION.