This won't hurt (much): Why reality is your ally, not your enemy




Negative feedback.

Angry customers.

An unhappy child or spouse.

It's tempting to ignore reality when it appears negative. That's a mistake.

Example: Recall United Airlines after a passenger was dragged off its Chicago plane? The airline offered a corporate-speak 'apology'.

That only made its public relations problem worse. It took three attempts for United to recognize public anger, to face reality.


Big Sky Clarity: Choices exist; reality is healthy when you check your blind spot

Point: United had choices. It just had employees who stuck with the manual - this passenger must go, we can't admit fault - instead of asking: Can we see and accept reality and chart a new course? 

Smarter move: In the 1980s, Coca-Cola dropped its century-old cola formula and replaced it with New Coke. But  much of the public reacted badly. They had an almost an owner-like feeling for the classic drink. After all, it had been sold in classic soda shops and advertised in the Saturday Evening Post for a century. Messing with it was like scrubbing Coca-Cola from history.  

Coke came to a crossroads: It could have dug in. Coke could have insisted pre-launch surveys showed the public liked the new flavour, that consumers would come round.

Instead, Coke re-thought its strategy. It re-labelled and re-launched its "old" formula as...Coca-Cola Classic.

Result: Two brands, Classic and New. Sales increased. So did market share and profit. Coke recognized reality. It profited from it.

Lesson: Reality is not our enemy. When we account for our blind spot or pay attention to the yield sign (it's there to redirect us, not harm us) we enlist reality as we should - as an ally, as a guide to help us move ahead. 


This keynote's reality check process: Feedback and course corrections

This keynote is helpful if your potential audience members are reality-avoiders, linear thinkers or bright but a bit too focused on the status quo.

Using business examples, a tale or two and hiking analogies, this keynote helps an audience ponder when it is wise to stop, survey the landscape and re-think the plan.

The benefit? People who won't obsess over what they thought  might work and will instead embrace course correction and deliver great results.