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Winning the Customer, Part II

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

Few would argue that children need structure. In fact, they thrive on it. Good modeling and easy directions grow security in a child’s development. Modern psychology has come full circle, shelving the idea that asking children to make their own choices is unhealthy and often dangerous to their development.

Not coincidentally, adults do well with much the same direction and structure. Buyers respond best to those who know them and their wants, needs, and buying inclinations. It makes sense; we are better able to serve them when we know who they are and what they want or need. Buyers are like all people; they want to feel included. They want to be named in some way, labeled, if you will. When identified with their preferences people respond as insiders, those who are more highly regarded and cared for.

When we join anything, as social creatures are wont to, we are more likely to participate or contribute to the group’s message when feeling included. Countless studies show that participation grows in those that believe they are an integral part of a group. In a recent study, when voters were told they were more politically active this group was 15 percent more likely to turn out to vote than the control group that was not labeled. The net: give your customers the compliment of the discernment they possess for having crossed your threshold, in whatever terms apply.

We reward consistent behavior. We hear often: “I would never do that, ” or “I would always do this.” People want to be “counted on” to be themselves. We make a promise, then work hard to keep it, or excuse it. When treated well in a restaurant we say: “We’ll be back!” It’s the sense of belonging we crave, and which is a vital gate to Maslow’s next level of hierarchal needs; namely, self-esteem. On our way to fulfillment, the highest level of need, we relish the recognition of our specialness by others. Rewards are what we seek … to feel better, to be better, in the eyes of meaningful others.

Windfalls are followed by generosity. Lucky streaks at the gaming table lead to egregious overspending, followed by rationalizations. Turning losing into gratification by claiming it’s all in fun is common in casinos. Rewards of most any kind encourage repetitive behavior.

Why then are so many businesses reluctant to discount more than 10 percent? The closer we get to “free” the more compelling is our urge to participate. Clever goods and services companies know this well. Free shipping, carte blanche returns, 2-fers, instant prizes, and others are examples of the ways that attract prospects to turn into customers. If the drinks were not free on first class flights, people would gladly pay for them. Once labeled as superior, we feel the need to live up to the label, and we do, repetitively.

I watched in amazement as a convention booth captain invited people to spin a wheel with a guarantee that they would win something. Though prizes were small in value, people lined up to spin the wheel for the “instant gratification” it held. The idea is simple: they needed to feel special, and winning always does that for us.

Make your customers winners, elite decision makers, repeat customers, and best customers, using all the things you can think of to bring them in and relate the needs of each to feel good about themselves. Walk into a jewelry store and ask the price of something in the case. More often than not, the clerk responds with: “You’ve got good taste.” Then the game is on as she moves you into categories that confirm your self-worth, even when it stretches your resources. We spend more at Christmas than at any time in the year. The reason: it makes us feel good about ourselves. The moment we anoint another as special is the moment they align with your desires for them, no matter the cost. Labels work!

January 6, 2017 |

All in All

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

We break from our series on consumer behavior to consider the opportunity in this holiday season, one that delivers us to another behavioral model. Most agree that the holiday season (around Christmas and Chanukah) has certain commendable effects on our behavior and spirit.

In the midst of all the rush and preparation to join with family and friends, prepare our homes, businesses, and streets with lights and decorations, people everywhere find welcoming others—in greeting and warmth—easier to come by. The jollity and glory of the season has no match, to be sure.

Somehow, we are able to forgive common road rage, endure long lines exacerbated by overwhelmed store clerks, interminable package delivery schedules for the cyber shopper, and the pressure that often contends with the joy in it all, until magically, the cacophony simmers in a moment when, all in all, joy returns to satisfy.

Where then in the celebration of this season is that seminal joy born? Not limited to two faith models—Jews and Christians—for many have taken up these holy celebrations, both Chanukah and Christmas focus on the meaning in rebirth. Among the Jews, Muslims, Christians and others, the idea brings hope into focus for both the faithful and all that share the gift of hope.

The Scroll of Antiochus concludes with the following words: “…After this, the sons of Israel went up to the Temple and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the dead bodies and from the defilement. And, they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure. There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days. Therefore, the sons of Ḥashmonai made this covenant and took upon themselves a solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and honour, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God wrought for them salvation from heaven. In them, it is not permitted to mourn, neither to decree a fast [on those days], and anyone who has a vow to perform, let him perform it.”

The birth of Jesus, told about in over 300 Old Testament references, offers the same light of God in the rebirth of each by the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as told in the New Testament. In both, among many that measure the hope in rebirth, is the joy of this season, indeed its gift.

The Christmas Gift

Whose child is this, His coming could only find a manger and gather but a few men, and angels.

Whose son is He, who grew in time that none could tell; whose obscure childhood sifted mankind silently as though wine maturing.

Whose king is He, which kingdom is revealed only across a bridge of faith; with no walls to separate, and only the marriage vow to enter.

                                What manner of man is He,

                                 that would give up life to gain it,

                                 lose all to find it,

                                 separate to become one with His own,

                                 serve weakness to model strength,

                                 empower manhood through childhood,

                                change everything that is, without changing anything that was,

                                whose only desire was to honor His father,

                                whose greatest gift was His father’s greatest desire.

Human history is written in His blood, though schoolbooks barely note His name—the name above all names.

He lived, suffered, and died a man to give truth meaning and mankind its only hope.

He lives forever in the hearts of the faithful, to return as promised, to take them to His father’s house.

The great I Am!

(Over 300 hundred OT references to the Messiah were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The probability of fulfilling just 8 of them is 10 to the 17th power, or 1 in 100 quadrillion).

This is a season that gives of oneself, forgives, serves, joins and is one with others, finds its strength in yielding, its ethic in innocence, and its hope in rebirth. Were these our daily bread would we have need of another? This is the gift of the season, that which emerges from ashes and selfishness to warm a higher plain. Though we struggle with the means and ends of life, hope is the last to die, and rightly so.

 

Shadows Lament

 

I stand quietly in the shadows, glimpsing the light.

Its pull a dulling fear of discovery,

Half Verbena, the other Larkspur.

Edging closer burns my skin and the fire in my soul, how shall I avoid the one and embrace the other without bursting into flames.

Warmer now, heavy under deafening silence I stretch out screaming at the emptiness within that struggles against a distant knowing.

I am at once with and without, desperate and fearful, warm hearted and struggling against my will to skirt the pain in fulfillment, the longing master in my journey.

I shall reach out first, then strike a match in the darkness, half fearing that any light might impose, that I might melt away should I chose potential over the past.

 

Editors note: Though given to reactive behavior we must live out our potential and not our past. Little but a forgiving, creative, and proactive choice reveals that potential.

May the joy in this season be the recrudescence you seek, and its spirit be with you.

 

December 22, 2016 |

Winning the Customer, Part I

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

The short series on the principles in understanding the customer begins. The columns in this series will speak about “the customer,” his psychographic profile, the fundamental art and science of buying, and the channels and messages that satisfy his natural inclinations to find himself through the buying experience. In addressing elements of the buying experience (the human experience) that bear rethinking, and the actual results of subtle changes in approach and words that draw customers into a relatable and productive exchange with sellers, we will examine critical phrases and actions in forming a consolidated approach to winning the customer.

To succeed at winning a customer or turning a browser into a buyer may be as simple as understanding the buyer’s behavior and executing the methods that engage and convert prospects into buyers. In its essential guise, it is to discover what the customer wants, needs, or is in the habit of buying, under circumstances. This last bit of information is the fulcrum knowledge on which this conversion occurs.

In this “age of information,” there is no shortage of data to analyze consumer behavior. Psychographic data significantly aid simple demographic models by going well beyond where we live and what that says about our ability to spend. Regardless of our financial resources, it is still necessary to interrupt the customer with valuable information, engage him in useful dialogue, offer something of value, and deliver on the promise. Simple enough, perhaps, but fewer than ten percent of sellers of merchandise and services routinely follow this model of fulfillment, which is why most are just holding on in the hope that good fortune—competitors fail first and they are left alone to serve a growing market—comes their way.

Why do buyers say “Yes,” and browsers say “No”? An important reason is that buyers tend to respond more quickly and in greater numbers to offers that set parameters. We all like structure and fear the uncertainty in decision making. Setting value parameters appeals to our human nature, makes offers more relatable, and maintains our sense of accomplishment no matter the level. When a prospect feels that even a small action is a good start, they are more likely to take action. That makes them a buyer.

Giving perspective to the proposed action often is what it takes to get to “Yes.” For example, telling a prospect that a continuous run of six to eight ads delivers more consistent results—all other things being equal, such as the value of the offer, the perceived want or need level of the purchase, and the timing of the offer—then adding that a well-placed ad with a high-value offer will always encourage action when seen. The choice of media is always important, but whatever the audience, there are buyers among them in search of themselves in the buying process. How many have heard the comment from shoppers: “I like it, but it’s just not me.”

If a not-for-profit, don’t just ask for a donation; add the phrase, “Any gift will help.” Studies show that a 28:50 ratio results between offers without the last sentence and offers that include it. Significantly, most give no less when responding to offer #2. We can all agree that 22 extra customers make a difference.

Look for Part II of the series when we discuss customer identity models.

December 16, 2016 |

Winning the Customer

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

The following is an introduction to a short series on the principles in understanding the customer. This column has spoken often about the customer, his psychographic profiles, the fundamental art and science of buying, and the channels and messages that satisfy his natural inclinations to find himself through the buying experience. In the coming weeks I’ll be addressing a number of elements of the buying experience (the human experience) that bear rethinking, and the actual results of subtle changes in approach and words that draw customers into a relatable and productive exchange with sellers. We’ll challenge norms, and in the process give both participants the opportunity they seek. In the meanwhile, start here to prepare for a walk through the mind of consumers.

In our efforts to apply the “truths” of business, we often err by the casual use of things we think we know. It’s the cogito ergo sum of a well-worn practice that allows such license, and the kind of careless thinking that leads to misunderstanding and ultimately, failure.

One such dictum is the oft-heard statement, “The customer is always right.” In its essential meaning it suggests that customers are to be treated with respect and deference, a special anointing that allows them the unusual privilege of obvious misstatements … about you, your company, or even the industry you work in. If you have customers, as most who work do, examples come easily to mind. But armed with such miscalculations we often face the most important objective in business—to satisfy the customer’s needs—with resentment and bitterness for having suffered through the dictum above. Increasingly, distinguishing the meaning in the statement from its expression becomes important as the requirements for “knowledge workers” rely on competence and careful assessments of the marketplace.

In fact, the customer is not always right, but he is never wrong. The heuristic in this seeming nuance is, perhaps, more important than most realize. Not only must we learn well how to serve the primary purpose in business—to create and keep customers—we must learn and practice an approach to the customer that encourages an effective response. When we choose to inform and educate, to become the assistant buyer customers seek, and not push and pontificate, then the métier of our choice is more fulfilling by the achievement of our goals. The alternative is the atavism of a Paleocene order, that which separates the future of business practice from the past.

Were this focus on the choice of words only the splitting of hairs, it would hardly be worth the paper they’re on. Rather, the careful consideration of words spoken and actions taken is the atelier of the mind, that workshop where all behavior takes shape. None of us wants to hear that we are wrong, but most are happy to learn something from another who is sincere and caring. The learning urge is fundamental to the human condition.

In his new book, People-Focused Knowledge Management, Karl Wiig asserts that mental models are the foundation of knowledge, personal or enterprise. As reference models, they encode personal experiences, and those from other sources. People and enterprises use these mental models to anticipate events and deal with situations. In simple terms, thought becomes behavior, and most thought is an essential combining of emotional responses to actual experience. How we “think” about the customer is how we will “behave” toward him. And this is why millions of dollars in sales are daily slain by the jawbone of an ass.

We have heard that there are two rules for business success regarding customers. Rule one is, “The customer is never wrong.” Rule two is, “When in doubt, refer back to Rule one.” Customers can be selfish, demanding, vain, fickle, arrogant, and disloyal; much like all of us when we turn into customers. What they are in search of is themselves, those qualities in the marketplace of suppliers that most relate to their own sense of value and belonging. If they come upon it accidentally, count yourself lucky. More often, it requires careful attention to their wants, needs, and habits, and good communications skills to win them over.

For example, I heard from someone at a recent gathering: “So, you’re a trainer. My company has a trainer already.” This, after answering his question about what Encore Prist International does. My quick answer was, “organizational development!” My second response was to ask if he had ever considered a difference between training and development. He had not, but was interested, so I obliged his curiosity. I asked how long he had been with his company, how old the company was, and the tenure of most in management. His answers all pointed to short work spans for most in the company, and a problem with turnover. I then asked what seemed most important to his employer when he was hired—his skills or habits. He pondered the question for a moment, then returned that he had not been asked at all about his habits, just a lot about what he had accomplished where he worked previously. I explained that his experience was fairly typical and that most short-term employees are let go for lack of good attitude and habits. Skills and knowledge can be taught through training, by skilled trainers, but attitude and habit journeyed longer in the making. Development, I offered, has a focus on the latter, and by the examination of right principles and practices as integral parts of the person and his values and belief system. With that, he admitted that his company had been wrestling with a turnover problem for some years, and that he had personally been looking furiously to fill slots in his department in the midst of a very competitive job market. Development, he concluded, might be just what his company needed.

Customers have three choices. They can buy from you, from another, or not at all. Most business success comes from developing customers of the “third kind,” those that drive other customers to you because they themselves feel so taken care of. Customers also have two important questions. “Why should I buy this product or service at all?” and “Why should I buy it from you?”  Know the answers to these questions, and never make the customer wrong.

December 9, 2016 |

Three Rs of Enterprise

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

Fewer than 40 percent of graduating high school seniors have mastered reading and math, making the majority of graduating classes poorly equipped for college and real-world life.  This group of students (generally) passes to the next grade—regardless of performance—and is at a serious disadvantage with a higher chance of falling behind and dropping out of college. (National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP] 2015).

Programs such as STEM that encourage girls—who usually do better than boys in most subjects—in the study of science, math, and technology helps, but the majority of U.S. graduates are disadvantaged in the workplace in comparison to many other industrialized nations.

The fallout is evident to most business and NFP (Not For Profit) organizations that must routinely choose among candidates that show promise, if not the skills already in place that are necessary to job performance. While poor language skills are among the most obvious deficiencies in job candidates, most lack the discipline of an everyday job, the resourcefulness that fuels growth and opportunity, and the basic nature in risk taking.

Perhaps, as it relates to our educational system, we are asking the wrong questions. A focus on literacy and basic academic skills fails to identify key elements of success in the marketplace, which also encourage the personal growth and development that lead to ultimate fulfillment—the highest level of personal achievement.

1. Resourcefulness

2. Respect

3. Risk

The three Rs of Enterprise may be a reasonable place to start. Simply,  Resourcefulness, Respect, and Risk may offer the opportunity to address the educational deficit noted above and present a more achievable goal for lazy students, encouraging academic participation. Clearly, 60 percent of high school graduates may be unable to outline the elements of international balance of power today in light of the Monroe Doctrine that defined an era of isolationism in America for 100 years. They would more easily be able to describe the ways they repaired a separated doorknob for mom while dad was at work, or the discovery of ingredients for a first omelet when the fridge offered limited options, or the mental calculation used to judge a skateboard stunt, or the deference paid to a disabled person in helping them. On these foundations—common to all—most any could find their way to greater understanding through an informed approach to learning. I think we call this education.

What’s taught in school? Coursework is the answer, for its focus on academics. Missing is the method common to all learning that resourcefulness, respect for the subject matter (in practical terms) and the risk that raises hands with questions, subordinating natural fears, engenders.

Also missing are the business calisthenics so vital to self-achievement. R1 is first among skills. In the end, some part of all things must be done alone—critical thinking, ideation, planning, “what if” analyses, funding, market analysis, pricing models, competitive analysis, facilities plan, staffing, training and personnel development (leadership), and growth modeling. All come into play for household management; something we all need to learn so as not to model the error in governments that practice deficit spending. If we are successful in raising a nation of people better able to find self-fulfillment, we do well to teach and practice resourcefulness. There is no substitute for this ability to find solutions when none are seemingly available.

Respect calms the process, answers the “why” in what we do and in choosing our life’s path. Significantly, R2 models the organizational attitude in whatever place we find ourselves. Respect for the work, the staff, the process, the customer, the community, the industry, end goals, and individual choice, put all peoples, created equal under God, on an even plane to compete cooperatively. If we are better able to see another through the eyes of hope in us, we reveal the path to the most spoken urging of politics and people—coming together.

Risk Management must become an internal model, wholly respected and resource specific for the incomplete logic in all initiatives that finds optimal outcomes. It’s everyone’s job.

1.   Assessing coverage risks—cross-functional flow and cross training. What a 3rd baseman does when the shortstop attempts to field a hard grounder; or a friend does in comforting   another after tragedy; or a parent does when their fledgling child rents her first apartment with the fear she won’t be able to manage the financial burden of it.

2.   Raising the quality of customers to serve efficiency and best outcomes, driving prices down, and quality product and service up, which delivers greater profits.

3.   Staff attrition risk management—A measure of organizational reward (liking where we work and what we do), and opportunity assessments.

 

November 17, 2016 |

Dead Last

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

Everything bought is sold. It’s axiomatic that one follows the other. The gratification in the one may be more obvious than the other; buying things—not just spending money, such as on rent and utility bills—is near instant gratification for most. Even the depressed find their elixir in it. But, what of the selling of those same things? Does it too deliver such elation and inner joy?

At some point, those of us who buy must meet up with those of us who sell. Do we find strange the conclusion that we are all in both roles at times? Imagining the buyer in us is easy. He is impulsive, aware of oneself and his self-image, loosely, how he thinks others think he thinks about himself, and driven by emotion to satisfy some urge—the taste in unusual food, the feel of new shoes, the specialness in attending a Broadway production, on Broadway.

He is also receptive to being sold, though he shuns this innermost desire. We all want to feel helped by others; it elevates our specialness. When others reach out to inform and educate our choices—for our unique benefit—it raises our sense of belonging to another, an uppermost need in humans.

The seller in us is often less evident. For many it is an odious assignment. Some even claim to be so bad at it they’d never take a sales job. The receptionist might say: “I’m not in sales, but I’ll connect you to them.” In this case, she may be shirking the responsibility of all organizational stakeholders to engage the caller (sic, customer) and set him up for a successful transfer.

She might also say: “Let me help direct you to the right person. Is your interest in one of our products, or are you calling to speak with our customer service people? A little information would help me prepare them better to serve your needs before I connect you.” Good sales job, wouldn’t you agree?

Yet, most shudder to gain such heights as the postural somatic in them wages war between the heart and mind. That which sounds like sales is more politely persuasion. Perhaps, but the representation of all things, however objectively modeled, is at its root a sell. “Eat your peas,” mother would say, before the logical justification or inveigling that follows accumulates in her gushing encouragement. No less, to be convinced of a movie’s value to one who has not yet seen it is often the Leonard Maltin in us extolling its virtues.

Truly, in everyone there lies, at least beneath the surface, the desire to influence another, which motivation is found in the caldron of self-worth bubbling deep in us. It is our urge to feel liked, at the simplest level of the human psyche.

In the venerable play by Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman, lead character Willy Loman leans precipitously over the edge of believability in issuing his own version of the inner need to feel liked. “The man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want.”
 — Act 1.

Is he right? Yes and no! While it is necessary that our divining rod find its true north to salve our identity, just how much is “being liked” a sales philter? As was quickly revealed in the dialogue of Act 1, “He’s liked, but he’s not well liked.”

In fact, survey data conclude that among the top “attributes of a salesperson in the customer’s eyes,” [being liked] is dead last. This conclusion, though accurately assessed in survey data, may not tell the whole story. What matters more to customers (being sold) may indeed accumulate to the status of ‘being liked,’ though apart from the attribute of ‘being liked.’”

First among the attributes most important to customers is “knowledge of the company’s products and the business model.” It makes sense, at least to those serious about their business. Walking into a customer meeting without the prerequisite understanding of how to help, by an understanding of how his business works, is suicidal.

Next on the list of most important attributes is “knows my customers.” Of course! If we don’t know who uses his product under circumstances, what might the salesperson’s product do to help, beyond dropping a line and hook in the water with the wrong bait?

The list of the “top ten attributes” rounds out with “delivering on the promise,” “knowing one’s own product,” and “knowing the marketing and promotional science” well. In the end, as Willy noted, “A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man.”

 

November 10, 2016 |

Election Day

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

 

 

You are not voting for Donald Trump! True or false?  Actually, the answer is the same for everyone. All initiatives, no less political, are fueled by three things:

•                What’s important to accomplish for our constituencies?

•                What’s the capital in it, or what’s to be gained?

•                Can we reasonably accomplish it (them)?

This is where all presidential initiatives begin (committees and advisors) and why the person in office is simply a sum of all those around him. A vote for either candidate should be a vote for America and not the delusion of glory in his choosing.

The president must be a good manager, one who takes advice (direction), forms consensus and redirects it to the functional bodies that approve and implement it. All decisions must be a consensus of views (to be successful) that finalize the direction or timing of them. Effective oversight is necessary to a good manager. The office of the president is little more than this and the voice of assurance to the population.

If we have lined up behind one candidate or another it ought to be because s/he is unusually gifted at managing the process of governing and the resources available to achieve consensus goals. Absent this ideal (very few presidents have equaled the expectations of their goals), “we the people” rely on the extraordinary wisdom and gifted practice of the Democratic Republic that formed 229-years and 45-days ago. It works… when the electorate—federal, state, and local—have us (not they) in mind, and who have measured the cost of a selfless devotion to the service of others.

Leaders, of all organizations, are the servants of the house. To see their purpose differently is to dishonor those they serve and cripple the machinery built around them. Sadly, most leaders (and organizations) will not achieve their stated goals. Roughly 53 percent of CEOs are in this category; perhaps why over 70 percent are always looking for the next stop. Similarly, most believe their boards are not as involved in the company as much as they are needed.

It is even more so for the largest organization in the land. With over 3 million employees, governing the nation may be the biggest job in the land. This is not to say it is the hardest, or one with the greatest constraints. Despite threats not to fund “the government,” no candidate or president has thought this to be anything more than the annoyance of a two-party system. In itself, this notion ought to convince citizens of the dysfunctional workings of a practice that often serves itself.

If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.

African Proverb

There are very few words in the founding documents of the United States: 1,333, 4,504, and 797 in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights respectively. That is roughly 6,000 words to form a nation, an expression quite simple and with clear meaning to have made so difficult and confounding the governing of it. I have written over 600 columns totaling over 491 thousand words to say what I want to say, hardly the spare essence of meaning for which I had hoped.

These are not the comments of surrender, nor intended to incite revolution, at least not the kind so common the world over that force changes in the ruling party. A quick review of presidential polls reveals the general view of flawed candidates, certainly less than the “high-minded hoped-fors” in the electoral stream. In fact, founding father and president John Adams wrote, “… A democracy requires continuous revolution…”

Top executives, including elected officials, are narrowly focused on short-term gains, poorly educated in innovation models, risk averse, control oriented, often excel at only one function (R&D, sales, finance, marketing, etc.), poor networkers, and too far from the action (Booz Allen Hamilton). Few presidents have been better endowed, which is likely why state governors are the most elected presidential candidates, including four of the last six.

Just as it is unlikely that CEOs will risk their jobs for long-term results, it is equally so for United States presidents, where personal legacy may be a prime motivation (consider the building [as in Egyptian temples] of presidential libraries after their term in office). “Obamacare” is a lonely T-Shirt.

If a great society is no more a society of givers than a society of takers but a society of makers, then a vote for America is the only one we should cast. That our two-party system has delivered questionable candidates, by the metrics above, we do well to elect the best manager, and not experience at governing. In four decades of business, having started five companies, and many divisions and subsidiaries, I conclude that a fresh perspective is more capable than time-in-grade or industry experience. Lou Gerstner pulled IBM out of the doldrums in the 90s with little more than CEO credentials, though with little understanding of IBM’s products or technologies. Perspective is what informed his success, and by his own admission, the help of many others. He noted, “No institution will go through fundamental change unless it believes it is in deep trouble and needs to do something different to survive.” Exactly!

Donald Trump is a successful candidate for exactly this reason. America has awakened to Gerstner’s words, and the extolling of John Adams’s “revolution.”

November 8, 2016 |
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