In business we are trained to be analytical. We respect data, targets, percentages, market shares and ratios. MBA students analyse case studies with detailed spreadsheets. We frame problems in terms of metrics and numbers. For example we might ask:
- How can we increase sales by 10%?
- How can we double brand awareness in our target market?
- How can we reduce the time to develop new products from 10 months to 6 months?
- How can we improve productivity in the workplace?
- How can we reduce attrition rates for our key technical staff?
These are all good questions which start from an analytical and factual standpoint and will generate analytical thoughts and ideas. But we have to remember that our staff and our customers are people. And people are driven by feelings more than by numbers. So a fruitful avenue of approach is to replace logic with emotion and reframe each question. Instead we might now ask:
- How can we make our customers much happier with our products and services?
- How can we get people to smile when they hear our brand name?
- How can we reduce the frustrations people feel in new product approvals and progress delays?
- How can we get rid of the things that annoy and irritate our people at work?
- How can we make our technical staff feel proud and happy to work here?
By starting from a more personal and emotional level we are likely to come up with more and different ideas. Anything we can do to make our customers or people feel delighted with us or proud of us is worth exploring. Any idea which stops our customers or people feeling angry, frustrated, disappointed or sad is also worth exploring.
At your next management meeting, for a change, focus on feelings and emotions rather than data and logic. It will get you thinking in new ways. It will lead you to novel and productive ideas.