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All You Need is a Good Five Minutes and More Tips for June

Like finding the perfect balance of failure and encouraging staff to live in a fantasy world.

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All You Need is a Good Five Minutes and More Tips for June
PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

managementAppoint an Idea Champion

Ideas are easy. Implementation is the tough part. It’s why top sports marketer Jon Spoelstra argues so fervently for appointing an “idea champion” to pursue the fruit of your brainstorming sessions. “Ideas and projects can get away from you, but if you make someone the idea champion, they’ll passionately breathe life into the idea,” he says in his book Outrageous Marketing. The person doesn’t even need to have expertise in the field — just a belief in the idea’s potential and the support to pursue it.

IN STOREChairs as Marketing Tools

When you look at a chair in your store and see an amenity for your customers, you are missing the point, says Paco Underhill, author of Why Women Buy. “It is a marketing tool,” he says, explaining that when women enter stores, they tell their husbands to sit down while they shop. The increasing number of consumers shopping in multi-generational groups means retailers also should have somewhere for the elderly relatives to sit down and relax while the younger generation browse.

CUSTOMER SERVICEThree Powerful Words

When a customer shows up with a problem or grievance the typical human instinct is to respond immediately with a solution, explanation, or a justification. But a better approach, says Amanda Ripley, author of High Conflict, is to utter three words — “Tell me more.” Not only does that give you more information about the situation, but it shows you’re listening to their problem. And often that’s all they want — to be heard. And when people feel heard, a lot of times the anger and resentment dissipate, or—even better—talking through the problem helps them come to a solution on their own.

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MANAGEMENTDial It Back

It takes both a special mindset and certain skills to build a successful company. But left unchecked, the very things that helped make your business a winner can depress your employees and harm your business. That is the message from a Fortune Small Business interview with Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful. At the top of the list is being too competitive. “Your desire to prove yourself right can come at your employees’ expense, and as a result, good people feel humiliated and eventually leave,” says Goldsmith.

GROWTHThe Right Amount of Failure

It may sound odd, but failure requires a certain “Goldilocks” balance if we are to maximize its power to generate breakthroughs and steer us toward success. Too much and you get discouraged. Too little and you don’t test the boundaries that result in innovation and course-correction. In his book Anatomy Of A Breakthrough: How To Get Unstuck When It Matters Most, NYU marketing professor Adam Alter suggests a research-based heuristic to get that balance right: The optimal failure rate to stay motivated, he says, is roughly one in five or one in six, in most situations. “If you’re failing more than every fifth or sixth attempt, you’ll get stuck in the short term. If you’re failing less than every fifth or sixth attempt, you’ll get stuck in the long term,” he says.

SALESLive in a Fantasy World

Encourage your staff (and even yourself) to loosen their grip on reality, argue marketers Rich Baker and Gary Levitt in a column at Marketingprofs. The result could be truly exceptional service. Ask them to imagine that each customer or patient is someone who would automatically merit preferential treatment — the store’s founder in disguise, for example, or their mother. “With this sort of fantasy in mind, their service should be nothing short of fantastic,” they write.

PRODUCTIVITYFive Good Minutes

Hit a brick wall with a project or even a relationship? Focus on having five good minutes, says Atomic Habits author James Clear. “You can do a lot with five good minutes. Five good minutes of exercise can reset your mood. Five good minutes of conversation can restore a relationship. Five good minutes of writing can make you feel great about the manuscript again. And so, it doesn’t take much to feel good, to get back on the path, to continue to make progress.”

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