Roy's Blog

March 4, 2019

5 reasons why the most popular things are wrong

Popular ideas, popular gadgets and popular people have always been the objects of our affection; thriving industries have been built around attracting people to popularity niches — the tabloids are obvious examples of businesses targeted at people who “worship” celebrities from all walks of life and who are prepared to pay to read about their exploits regardless of their truth.

Everyone looks for what’s trendy; trendiness is cool and if you jump on the “What’s Trending” bandwagon, you get identified with the trend — YOU are cool.

But there is a dark side to popularism that rarely is talked about; popularity results in behaviour that is inconsistent with developing creative and innovative individuals and organizations — and taken to the extreme, society as a whole.

Popularity is bordering on being toxic notion; here are 5 reasons why.

Popularity fashions crowd formation

Anything popular builds a crowd. Whatever’s trending sucks people in and it’s value is measured by how many views the video gets or how many Retweets and Likes the post gets.
What individual value is created by being in a crowd? Other than sporting a Rolling Stones T-Shirt that a million other people have, what exactly does the crowd inspire in me to exercise my personal identity — the unique characteristics that make me “special”?
When you are in a crowd there is no motivation to be yourself; the “rub-off factor” from what is popular is a stimulant to share a view held by the many rather than express your own personal perspective.
Popularity grows the crowd of common thinking; it espouses the same ideas and the result is a larger herd whose members all think the same.
We don’t need more crowds formed by popularism; we desperately need stimuli that encourages individualism.

Popularity feeds sameness

Under the guise of being cool, popularity encourages people to adopt the behaviour and views of others whether it be a rock star, celebrity model or fringe ideology group.
This adoption breeds a culture of people who seek likeness; who feel more comfortable sharing someone else’s DNA rather than living their own.
A successful product idea captures the imagination of other marketers; an amazing wardrobe ensemble smites the collective adulation of young people and an innovative operating system model is a magnet for engineers regardless of the business they’re in.
Crowd members are captured by a force they must capitulate to rather than seek their own way.
Cultivating sameness has no long term value; it breeds a population of lookalikes who operate within boundaries established by others. Value for ourselves and for people around us is delivered by spirits who are different and who shine by being special.

Popularity prevents risk taking

When a person imitates what’s popular they tend to feel that their risk exposure is minimized; in fact many populist followers think they have no risk at all.
They believe any personal risk they do incur is spread out among everyone else who shares the same idea, so their share is minimal.
And even if the populist notion is a bust they can always take comfort in the fact that many others have gone down with them.
Populist conformity not only mitigates personal risk, it has an even darker downside — it mutes innovation and creativity.
Amazing thinks happen when people assume risk; conversely, mediocrity results when risk is avoided.
Ergo, behaviour which bows down to popularity and subordinates individual thought and expression results in nothing interesting at all and that’s a HUGE risk to it only the individual but also to society.

Popularity kills originality

Following a popular anything removes any incentive to look, say or do anything different from the trend. In fact while in the popular herd, stepping out and doing anything that is not a aligned with the trend isn’t even a thought — there is zero motivation to do so when you are caught up in the energy of the movement.
Crowd members fall easily into the copycat mentality and they copy everything that is associated with their popular infatuation. And they think they’re being original; doing or thinking things that people outside the popular circle don’t.
Copying is the enemy of innovation and creativity; it serves no purpose other than to #metoo someone else.
We don’t need copycats in today’s world of intense competition for everything; we need people who HATE the notion and find it repugnant because it’s an easy way out of the tough job of doing something truly original.

Popularity steals your future

The opportunity costs associated with following what is popular are higher than anyone can imagine.
While you are coveting what is popular, you are losing the precious energy and time you need to do something special; something that will define your unique signature in the world.
If you are devoted to chasing what is “in” at the moment, you need to be comfortable with the prospects of an unexciting future; one that is defined by finding someone else’s way rather than your own.
And the irony is you don’t even know the people behind the popular movement that controls you — crazy!
Successful individuals devote themselves to exploring the art of the impossible.

It’s ok to dabble in popularity; trends have a habit of embracing us, capturing our imagination and imprinting our opinions and behaviour.

But at the end of the day, popular things should be treated as a temporal aberration — a fling that doesn’t detract you from your ultimate goal of creating your own personal and unique value for the world.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 3.4.19 at 03:16 am by Roy Osing
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February 25, 2019

5 courageous demands to make of your leader

To move beyond your current role requires a personal development plan; it’s not likely that serendipity will play a significant role in advancing our careers.
It’s all about positioning yourself to take advantage of either an opportunity that comes up or one that you create because of proactive moves you make.

Step up and demand

Either way, there are a few key things you should discuss with your leader to enable you to capitalize on your potential and prepare you for further career success.
After all, they are supposed to be there to help you get both your performance and developmental needs met, so be courageous and tell them what they are even if they don’t ask.

Most leaders don’t ask “How can I help?”, they just expect you to do the job without their intervention.
But don’t play that game. It’s your career and life and you have every right to tell your boss what you need to improve your performance and to prepare you to make even greater contributions to the organization.


Ask your leader:

To give you more work

To delegate more tasks to do within your current role.
Tell them that you have the capacity to take on more (even if you are not sure you have) and are prepared to do so.

I’m sure there is a project on the shelf not being actioned that interests you or a deliverable you think should be worked on that would help the organization; show initiative ask if you can take it on even if you put yourself at risk in the process.

My personal style was always to define the job I was in by expanding the scope of deliverables I produced. I rarely accepted the boundaries of the role I was given because I considered them too restrictive.
Most people need defined boundaries for them to do their job; I never did.

In a marketing product manager role, for example, I asked to assume the task of defining and implementing the customer service support requirements necessary to sustain a product in the field. In the process, I not only was able to deliver a high performing product that met its sales targets, I also learned a great deal about the service world which prepared me for a career path in operations.


To define your line of sight

Effective execution of the strategic game plan of the organization requires that each function and individual know exactly what their role is; the game plan must be translated in very granulated form down to what each person needs to do in their job to ensure the plan is implemented the way it was intended.

For example, if the game plan was to beat the competition by outperforming them on serving customers, everyone needs to understand what they need to do to help the organization deliver miraculous service moments.
When line of sight is foggy and people don’t know their role, they invent what they think it should be and dysfunction sets in. There is no consistency in what people do and results are all over the map.

So, ask your boss to sit down with you and map what the game plan of the organization specifically means to YOU. What do you need to do differently? Agreement on this is critical to ensure performance expectations are the same between boss and employee and to move the game plan forward.

To make introductions for you

Career success depends heavily on the network of people you know; not just the number of them but their quality in terms of their relevance to your chosen career path.
It’s cool to be introduced to a VP Finance but it would be even more cool if you were headed to a marketing role to meet a few VPs of Marketing.

In addition, see if you can get introduced to people who you have something in common with. Do your homework and ask for introductions to specific people.
But don’t expect your leader to commit to you and provide you with quality referrals immediately. They need to get to know you and trust your capabilities. This takes time so be prepared to make the investment and that you deliver beyond their expectations.

What new stuff you should learn

Career growth requires constant learning and leaders are an excellent source of advice on how to fill your knowledge gaps.
They see your performance and should be the best people to offer suggestions to help you improve.
In addition, they have experience that you don’t and can refer you to learning sources based on what worked for them.

Their involvement in the organization’s strategic game plan also enables them to have an accurate perspective on what skills and competencies are needed to add the value that spells success in the marketplace.
Take your lead from the new knowledge what they suggest you acquire.

Side step

To help prepare you for a lateral move

Success isn’t just about moving up. Rarely do people look back on their journey with a record of only promotions.
In my experience the most valuable moves I made involved accepting a lateral position to a different department. This gave me a broader perspective on what the organization needed to succeed and was a brilliant source of learning.

When promotions did present themselves, I received more serious consideration because of the more diversified experience.
So ask your boss to find a niche lateral move that would complement your long term career goals and pester her until you get it.

Don’t expect your leader to do the right thing for your career. If you don’t put YOU in front of them they will likely have other priorities.

You must take ownership of your own fate; tell them what you need.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.25.19 at 02:15 am by Roy Osing
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February 18, 2019

5 effective ways to make service delightful and personal

Many organizations aspire to provide intimate customer experiences; personalized service tuned in to what THAT specific customer wants at THAT specific time.

The essence of the strategy is to deliver memorable — WOW! —
experiences that will delight customers and enhance their loyalty. It’s the warm caring treatment intended to make the customer’s skin all goosebumpy.

Personal touch

The logic behind the personalization theme is that while providing a standard level of service to everyone will satisfy some people, it won’t appeal to all because everyone has slightly different needs.
But if service is individualized to reflect the unique characteristics of each customer, mass moments of delight can be created and customer loyalty will increase.

Personalized service is impossible

The reality is, however, personalized service is an impossible dream; it cannot be delivered because of “the noise” that surrounds service delivery in every organization. The noise is represented by all of the activities going on in an organization; they constitute the context within which personalization must be practised.

The noise consists of:
— repair and service delivery activity
— advertising messages
lengthy call center hold times
— social media conversations
— customer complaints
— internal cost management concerns
— new leadership directives
— product quality issues
— differing business unit priorities
— supply challenges

There is too much noise


With this confluence of activity happening every moment of every day, is it any wonder that the art of creating a memorable personal experience for a customer gets lost?

Personalized service experiences don’t stand a chance when there is this cloud of activity in conflict with this purpose:
— customers wait 45 minutes to get a call center rep who does their best to provide caring service buts it’s ruined by the noise of the wait;
— customers are told their individual needs are important but the product breaks down after it has been used only a few times;
— employees are told that responding to each customer is the strategy yet service costs are cut to meet quarterly financial targets and there are insufficient numbers of employees to serve customers;
— social media conversations are replete with service criticism at the same time as the organization declares its intent to provide stellar personal service;
— sales solutions can’t be provided because of supply chain problems;
— a sensitive engagement with a service rep is followed by a disastrous installation that requires multiple attempts to get it right;
— a special deal is provided to a customer but the bill is sent out with errors.

All of these noise factors work in unison to discredit the personal service mantra, it’s not a believable proposition in the face of proof points that counter and undermine it.

A holistic view is required

Polite customer service reps and amazing fulfillment self serving technology won’t bring personalization to life; it’s a bigger challenge than that.

All the currency built up by a rep handing the customer in an amazing way is quickly lost, for example, when the product ordered is lost or the promised delivery date is missed.

And the caring attitude of a rep doesn’t really count for much when the customer has been sitting in the call queue for the better part of an hour.

To really provide a personal service experience requires a holistic view of all service components operating across the organization. They must all work efficiently on their own and work together in harmony to serve the same purpose.

If one link in the service chain breaks down personal service is a non starter.

It’s a cultural issue


In the long term, the culture of an organization must be morphed to delivering the personal service experience.
Leadership must declare it to be the prime objective of the organization; a strategy must be put in place to make it happen.

These 5 actions should drive cultural change to personalization

— define the operations functions that the customer views as key in fulfilling the personal service promise and make sure they operate with maximum efficiency and minimal errors.
If call center wait times is critical to them, apply resources to avoid their displeasure when the reach a rep.

— insource the functions that drive the personal experience, outsource only those that have no influence on it.

— re-vector your performance management process to prioritize those deliverables and behaviours that are key to the personal service mission; pay handsomely when someone is a champion of the cause.

— set measurable objectives for the key operations processes that control how the customer feels about the way they are treated and hold management accountable to achieve them. If, for example, keeping promises for product delivery is important, set targets and measure performance.

— ask the customer “Did you enjoy your personal service experience with us?” as the key lead question to monitor if the new culture is making way.
You will quickly find out if customers found their experience with you personal at all and what your organization needs to do to make it more memorable.

A personal service experience equals the sum of the experiences a customer has with each touch point they engage with in your organization.

It’s not about just the service rep, delivery technician, receptionist, repair person, website, advertising message and bill individually.

It’s about all of them, and unless they all work together in the spirit of personalization you can forget about the ideal and claim something else as your end game.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.18.19 at 04:38 am by Roy Osing
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February 11, 2019

What happens when your voice lacks passion?

The world needs people to believe in. People who stir our emotions. People who have a perspective that resonates with us and compels us to act.


There are many people who speak passionately but their words have no consequence; they float “like feathers in the wind”, hoping to land on a receptive ear.

These words tend to promulgate from theoretical doctrine, political ideology and social cause; their purpose: influence an audience and imprint a specific message on each member of it.

These words are pushed, blurted and forced with the hope of commanding and proliferating a narrow biased point of view.

A voice without passion:

Is self serving

It speaks with the left brain in control, carefully articulating the message intended to advance their specific agenda — it’s a one-way street leading to THEIR destination not yours.

I have often heard certain people described as having a hidden agenda when they speak; the type of person that conveys distrust with their words.
It’s a feeling they stir in others.
You can’t put your finger on exactly what bothers you about what they say, you just feel you’re not hearing their true story.

But a voice with passion puts everything out there for everyone to hear and decide whether or not to buy in; the passionate voice wears who they are on their sleeve; the truth is obvious.

Relies on logic

Tries to influence through logic. It’s conviction is that if the audience understands the words, a change in behaviour will likely follow.
Appealing to the intellect has its flaws. I may understand someone’s point of view on a subject but don’t act on it because my gut doesn’t compel me to do it.

My experience as a leader is that intellectualizing rarely, on its own, doesn’t result in action. It’s gets a nod which says “I got it!”, but it doesn’t move the feet.

A new strategic plan, for example, may be viewed as the right thing to do to meet the competitive challenges of the day, but unless it lights fires in people, nothing actually happens.

To get stuff done you have to have a healthy mix of understanding and agreement fuelled with emotion and passion.


Does not convince

Is ineffective in convincing others to listen and follow them. Dis-passionate voices are ineffective in expanding their narrative to those around them because those receiving the message don’t buy what is being said.

The message isn’t believable, not necessarily because the content is inaccurate or false, but because it’s not being communicated with feeling.

A voice with passion, on the other hand, can fall short on the facts of a particular issue, but still convince others. The raw power of emotion can overcome most incomplete thoughts.

Induces sleep

A voice with no passion puts us to sleep. It doesn’t cut through the clutter of the barrage of messages that plummet us every hour of every day. It has no clean signature that subliminally forces us to sit up and take notice.

A presenter on any topic must find a way to make their words compelling and interesting so people take notice. If you’re discussing your views on eliminating bureaucracy in your organization, for example, you might want to talk about cutting the “CRAP” slowing things done instead of reducing red tape.

A voice with passion uses words that helps create one’s persona that is characterized as exciting, vibrant, innovative and interesting; attributes that everyone can identify with.


Lacks conviction

Bland words suggest a lack of speaker conviction; saying the words but not feeling and believing the words.
If I don’t believe that you personally identify with your own words (because of the lacklustre way you deliver them), why should I buy in?

How many times have you sat in an audience and listened to someone read their script in a perfectly monotonous way and have concluded that the speaker is a non-believer of their own message?

It happens more often than not.

The passionate voice easily convinces the listener that the communicator is all in with their content.
The emotional context of any communication is critical in being perceived as one who owns their material completely.

Is never criticized

A dispassionate voice will likely never get criticized, whereas someone who speaks loudly from the heart can attract labels like: intense, excessive, angry, aggressive and overly opinionated.

The thing is, what do you want: words that land on you but make no difference to the way you think and feel about something, or words that jolt you to think about a different perspective because of their sheer energy and apparent outrageousness?

Moderate words play to the crowd with a herd mentality and are soon forgotten.

Bland insipid words may not be taken the wrong way but they’ll never be unforgettable.

The passionate voice lives in a different world; it very often creates controversy around its words. It has the “ability” to take an issue and either upset others or make them euphoric by its emotional energy; it’s rare to leave them with a “take it or leave it” conclusion.

The voice without passion rarely changes the world.

It might be accurate but never compelling to produce action; non-controversial but never outrageous to stir emotions.

Change is created by people who believe in a new something and get excited by its possibilities.

Voices who are able to push people in this direction exude the passion required to overcome the inertia that’s in the way.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.11.19 at 03:53 am by Roy Osing
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