Are you SWOTing or SOARing?

In reading Gary Klein’s latest book, Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights, he discusses a story based on a method called positive psychology. In a nut shell, it says that the therapist would try to make a depressed person less miserable by eliminating their misery. The problem was that when you did this you and did not replace it with a positive outcome or a positive experience it often went for naught.

Klein took it and applied it to decision making and specifically improving performance. He says that we have a tendency to look for errors versus looking for more positive outcomes. I have discussed this before many times that continuous improvement for the sake of improvement is useless. Improvements need to be tied to the market place. When we tie an improvement to the marketplace, it is more likely to be sustainable and have a positive outcome for marketing growth or customer retention.

I think of the saying that ‘I did not want to buy a drill, I wanted a hole in the wall”. We all understand this premise and are often reminded of it through the “Jobs to Be Done” metaphor. Many of us driven by technology think just because we improve something that others should adapt and do it. I go back to that hole analogy. The questions become how straight and concentric do I need the hole? From that perspective the present technology suffices and that little can be gained from improvement. At that time, we typically seek ways to reduce product cost. It becomes considered a commodity and our efforts focus on price battles or offshoring, etc.

I consider the alternative, and you may consider it to be in the Appreciative Inquiry Space. I like to think that if I relieve someone of a pain, I should associate or create a gain to the process. This may be a good or bad example but what is the outcome of that hole I just drilled? Most of the time it is a mess that I need to clean up. If I concentrated on creating a gain for my client from his viewpoint, I would not just be trying to make a more efficient hole but improving his experience by cleaning up that mess. If you so desire, you can buy a DEWALT Dust Collector Attachment. DEWALT

From a sales perspective, we struggle to understand why a customer is not purchasing our service or product. We cannot understand why they do not want to become more effective or efficient in their work. Or even buy a lower priced product than buying the same thing again. We have the solutions for them they are obvious, and we counter every issue they have. What often happens is that we solve problems but we do not give the customer the added insights needed to demonstrate the GAIN that they will have in using our product and service (Lean Salespeople are Challengers, not Problem Solvers).

Let me use Bayer aspirin, for example, consider this all fiction. I assume they lost significant market share with the introduction of Tylenol, Advil and Motrin, to name a few. Their reaction could have been and may have been to compete in the lower end of the market and with all the other generic aspirin labels. Instead, the discovery of aspirin for blood thinning and lowering risk of heart attacks enabled them to promote more than relief of a headache or pain. They were able to demonstrate a positive outcome of taking aspirin, a GAIN.

What I would encourage your organization to do is to list all the symptoms and problems you are addressing with your product or service. When doing this it is often not real exciting. List all the positive outcomes of your product and service and the excitement starts brewing. I believe it is happens the same way for the customer. When it comes to evaluating your marketplace, are you SWOTing or SOARing? Or are you just relieving a headache versus thinning blood?

Related Posts:
Overcoming Sales Resistance with SOAR
Lean Marketers concentrate on SOAR vs. SWOT
Jobs to Be Done Mindmap
CAP-Do supports Outcome Driven Innovation

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