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Why bother with this appalling invoice right now?

It’s the “so what?” I’ve been grappling with.

The “so what?” of what I do. Of who I am.

I mean, I can tell you people are lazy, scared and overwhelmed, but to what end? What do you do with that?

My plan today is to talk you through a seemingly vapid example of a business communication and then more specifically address our Covid-19 infected world.

The worst invoice I have ever seen

When I talk about people being lazy, I mean we generally like the path of...

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Living in a snow globe that has been violently shaken

It’s difficult to know what to write today.

It feels like we’re living in a snow globe that has been violently shaken. While things will eventually settle, we are in the midst of being rattled to our core by COVID-19.

So, this is a collection of things I’ve been reflecting on. 

We’re all connected

As a global pandemic, we’re all in it. We can’t look away and pretend it’s someone else’s issue. It became tangibly personal as soon as our...

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Lazy tax is lazy business

It’s been called a “loyalty tax”; the practice of charging existing customers more than new customers, penalising them for their longevity. But what we’re really talking about is a “lazy tax”, and that is lazy business.

Lazy tax trades on our tendency as humans to leave things as they are. It’s our preference to set and forget because we’ve got more interesting or important things to think about. It plays out most strongly in ‘low...

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Recipe culture is ruining business

behaviour change recipe Feb 05, 2020

I have a frosty relationship with cooking. It’s not something I find relaxing. It’s not something I like to spend time on. It’s not something in which I have confidence.

This has meant being bound to recipes. I stick to the process and trust the outcome will be okay.

But there’s a difference between following a recipe and knowing how to cook.

Recipe-culture is infecting business

Recipe-culture is infecting - and ruining - business.

  • On LinkedIn, for example, people are...
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When the desire to change fades

Uncategorized Jan 21, 2020

Right now you are probably feeling like you want things to be different. Maybe a little different, maybe a lot. Maybe at home, maybe at work.

That’s a precious feeling because it can motivate you to seek change.

And now is a perfect time because of the “fresh-start effect”. Researchers Dai, Milkman and Riis (2014, PDF) found students were more likely to adopt new behaviours at the start of a week, month or semester. Such temporal landmarks can help us delineate...

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The fastest way to make your priority someone else’s too

 

A perennial challenge in business is making your priority someone else’s priority too. You know the drill. You have a project that you are under pressure to complete, but it relies heavily on input from other people. Problem is, they have projects they are under pressure to complete and don’t want to divert time, energy or effort to your patch.

Here’s how to go about it.

  1. Minimise effort
  2. Maximise relevance

Minimising effort

Minimising effort means stripping back what you...

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Adding is easy. Subtraction is hard.

On how technology has changed the craft of writing, author Neil Gaiman remarked;

“Typing is not work. Choosing is work.”

Since moving from typewriters to computers, he noted, the average word count has blown out from 3-6,000 per article to 9,000 because "it’s not hard to include two ways of saying something”.

I can’t shake this insight because it says so much about how we behave. At work. At home.

When writers drafted in longhand, it was painstaking to...

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Deciding isn't enough

 

This is a chunky read, but you should find it interesting if:

  • you are sick of people telling you to just "decide" - like that's all there is
  • you've been as perplexed as I have about why deciding something doesn't guarantee we'll do it

OK. Here we go.

This all started with tweet from For The Interested. It linked to a 2016 article by Josh Spector which talked about the role of intention in productivity. To master our schedules and inboxes, Josh suggests, we need to “decide what...

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More information isn't the answer

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2019

Nobody gets fired for buying an IBM, so the saying goes. No one gets fired running information campaigns or suggesting more training, either. But maybe they should.

 

In my workshops I ask participants to design a solution to overcome apathy. In other words, how will you engage your customers? Why should they bother to do what you ask?

 

This is a big chunk of the behavioural influence puzzle, because to get people to take action you need to make them sufficiently interested.

...

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The scourge of shitty emails

Do you write annoying emails? Do you receive them? Poorly written emails irritate both the recipient, who resents the interruption, and the sender, who gets frustrated by a lack of response.

So how to get them right? I’m about to take you through five real-life examples that illustrate traps to avoid and how to better engage your intended reader.

I’ve redacted the details of the sender because in no way is this intended to criticise them personally....

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