Connecting with men

A man falls in love with you because he knows he can be himself around you.
He falls in love with you because he feels SAFE expressing his innermost, private feelings with you.
He knows that you can handle your feelings. He can sense that. And because he senses that at the most unconscious level, he starts to long for your company, for your touch, for your affection. He may not even know why he feels this way.
All he knows is that there’s something special about you that he doesn’t feel with any other woman in his life. He wants to take you in his arms and keep you forever.

This Is What Happens To A Man…

This is the “secret psychology” I mention in the subject line of this email.
I say it’s a secret because it’s little-understood by women (AND men). It’s rare either you or he will know exactly WHY he feels mesmerized by you and wants to get close to you and pursue you for something serious and long-lasting.
Many of us are wrong about why a man falls in love.
We think a man needs sex, or has to have a fabulously gorgeous woman with a great body. We think a man falls for us because we’re sweet to him, and kind, and giving. ESPECIALLY giving.
So we do things for him:
  • We cook lovely meals and offer deep, thoughtful advice on whatever troubles him. We light candles whenever he comes over. We put on our sexiest clothes and buy lacy lingerie.
  • We become exclusive with him without even a passing thought to what WE want, or whether or not he has met our needs yet for a secure, loving and committed relationship.
  • We give our bodies, our souls, our minds to him.
And STILL he tells us that he’s not sure how he feels. Or he becomes distant and moody. Or he stops calling or asking us out as often as he used to.
Or he does something very hurtful, or cheats on us, or tells us that he doesn’t believe you’re “meant” to be together.
This happens because deep down, you didn’t trigger love in his HEART. You didn’t connect on the deepest, most intimate level… his feelings.

So, How Do You Connect With A Man’s Feelings?

I’ll tell you briefly what DOESN’T connect to him.
When you tell a man about what you think about the relationship, or what you did that day, or what you think of the latest news you’ve read or the gossip at work, he listens. He participates in the conversation.
But his feelings aren’t triggered.
And so you chatter on about your life, but leave out the one part that would drop you suddenly into intimacy: Emotions.
You share everything but who you are.
You put up walls with him without even knowing you’re doing it. You decide not to tell him the sorrow you felt that morning about something. You omit admitting how the spring air made you feel alive and free when you went for a walk at lunchtime.
Or… you actually don’t even pay attention to your own emotions. You’re too busy with your to-do lists and tasks and with the chatter of everyone else around you in your life. You worry a lot. You make plans in your head for the next moment, the next day, or the weekend.
But if you were to allow yourself to FEEL what you’re feeling, and then speak from those feelings, you would make him feel safe and connected to you.

It Seems Like Such A Simple Thing…

But for so many of us, it’s such a counter-intuitive thing. It’s difficult. We’re not used to being juicy, sexy, FEELING creatures.
So many of us are programmed to be DOING, THINKING, MANAGING, WORRYING.
And these are the qualities that make a man feel nothing around you. These are the qualities that make him think of you more like a “friend” than his lover.

Change Your Vibe And Watch Him Fall

When you become a feminine, juicy, sensual FEELING creature, you become what I call a “siren” around a man. You magnetize him simply by being what you were always meant to be… an alluring woman who is soft on the outside, but strong and resilient on the inside.
In my Modern Siren program, I take you through the entire process of what it takes to embody those irresistible “siren” qualities that make a man fall helplessly in love with you.
You’ll learn what to DO – with body language and sex and your emotions – to draw him in… easily and without manipulation or being fake.
You’ll learn what to SAY – through genuine feeling messages and specific words and phrases. You’ll see or hear me coaching the women in the audience on stage to switch from the unattractive “boy energy” to the softer, more alluring “girl energy” and you’ll be amazed at the instant transformation!
You’ll actually feel that shift in their vibe, and you’ll understand how it is that a man may want to wrap himself around you and make you his precious jewel forever. It’s all right here:

From touchpoints to journeys

To maximize customer satisfaction, companies have long emphasized touchpoints. But doing so can divert attention from the more important issue: the customer’s end-to-end journey.

When most companies focus on customer experience they think about touchpoints—the individual transactions through which customers interact with parts of the business and its offerings. This is logical. It reflects organization and accountability, and is relatively easy to build into operations. Companies try to ensure that customers will be happy with the interaction when they connect with their product, customer service, sales staff, or marketing materials. But this siloed focus on individual touchpoints misses the bigger—and more important—picture: the customer’s end-to-end experience. Only by looking at the customer’s experience through his or her own eyes—along the entire journey taken—can you really begin to understand how to meaningfully improve performance.

What is a customer journey?
McKinsey director Alex Singla illustrates how a simple insurance claim provides multiple chances to build customer satisfaction.

Customer journeys include many things that happen before, during, and after the experience of a product or service. Journeys can be long, stretching across multiple channels and touchpoints, and often lasting days or weeks. Bringing a new customer on board is a classic example. Another is resolving a technical issue, upgrading a product, or helping a customer to move a service to a new home. In our research, we’ve discovered that organizations that fail to appreciate the context of these situations and manage the cross-functional, end-to-end experiences that shape the customer’s view of the business can prompt a downpour of negative consequences, from customer defection and dramatically higher call volumes to lost sales and lower employee morale. In contrast, those that provide the customer with the best experience from start to finish along the journey can expect to enhance customer satisfaction, improve sales and retention, reduce end-to-end service cost, and strengthen employee satisfaction.

This is especially true in today’s multitouchpoint, multichannel, always-on, hypercompetitive consumer markets. The explosion of potential customer interaction points—across new channels, devices, applications, and more—makes consistency of service and experience across channels nigh impossible—unless you are managing the journey, and not simply individual touchpoints. Indeed, research we conducted in 2015 involving seven EU telecom markets found that when consumers embarked on journeys that involved multiple channels their experience was materially worse than during single-channel experiences, whether those experiences were digital or not.

The trouble with touchpoints

Consider the dilemma that executives faced at one media company. Customers were leaving at an alarming rate, few new ones were available for acquiring in its market, and even the company’s best customers were getting more expensive to retain. In economic terms, a retained customer delivered significantly greater profitability than a newly acquired customer over two years. Churn, due to pricing, technology, and programming options, was an increasingly familiar problem in this hypercompetitive market. So was retention. The common methods for keeping customers were also well known but expensive—tactics like upgrade offers and discounted rate plans, or “save desks” to intercept defectors.

So the executives looked to another lever—customer experience—to see if improvements there could halt the exodus. What they found surprised them. While the company’s overall customer-satisfaction metrics were strong, focus groups revealed that a large number of customers left because of poor service and shoddy treatment over time. “How can this be?” one executive wondered. “We’ve measured customer satisfaction for years, and our call centers, field services, and website experience each score consistently over 90 percent. Our service is great!”

As company leaders probed further, however, they discovered a more complex problem. Most customers weren’t fed up with any one phone call, field visit, or other individual service interaction—in fact, most customers didn’t much care about those singular touchpoint events. What was driving them out the door was something the company wasn’t examining or managing—the customers’ cumulative experience across multiple touchpoints, multiple channels, and over time.

Take new-customer onboarding, for example, a journey that spanned about three months and involved an average of nine phone calls, a home visit from a technician, and numerous web and mail interactions. At each touchpoint, the interaction had at least a 90 percent chance of going well. But average customer satisfaction fell almost 40 percent over the course of the entire journey. The touchpoints weren’t broken—but the onboarding process as a whole was.

Many of customers’ numerous calls during the process represented attempts to clarify product information, fix problems with an order, or understand a confusing bill. Most of these service encounters were positive in a narrow sense—employees answered the questions or solved the issues as they arose—but the underlying problems were avoidable, the root causes left unaddressed, and the cumulative effect on customer experience was decidedly negative. The company’s touchpoint-oriented, metric-driven way of thinking about customer experience had a large blind spot.

Solving the problem would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but the company needed a whole new way of thinking about and managing its service operations to identify and reimagine the customer-experience journeys that mattered most.

More touchpoints, more complexity

The problem encountered by the media company is far more common than most organizations care to admit and is often difficult to spot. At the heart of the challenge is the siloed nature of service delivery and the insular cultures, behaviors, processes, and policies that flourish inside the functional groups that companies rely on to design and deliver their services. In many cases, these groups are also the keepers of the touchpoints that shape and measure how the company’s activities meet the customer’s—say, an in-store conversation with a sales rep, a visit to the company’s website, or a query to the company’s call center. Whether because of poorly aligned incentives, management inattention, or simply human nature, the functional groups that manage these touchpoints are constantly at risk of losing sight of what the customer sees (and wants)—even as the groups work hard to optimize their own contributions to the customer experience.

The media company’s sales personnel, for example, were measured and rewarded for closing new sales—not for helping customers navigate a complex menu of technology and programming options to find the lowest-price offer that met their needs. Yet frustration about complex pricing for high-end equipment, confusion about promotions, and surprise over program lineups were all frequent causes of dissatisfaction later in the process, as well as frequent sources of queries to the company’s call centers. Executives knew that each of these discrete items was a challenge—but only when they took a broader end-to-end view did it become apparent that even though each individual link in the service-delivery chain appeared healthy, the cumulative effect was quite the opposite.

The answer isn’t to replace touchpoint management and thinking. Indeed, the expertise, efficiencies, and insights that functional groups bring to bear are important, and touchpoints will continue to represent invaluable sources of insights—particularly in the fast-changing digital arena. Instead, companies need to recognize and address the fact that—at least, in most cases—they are simply not wired to naturally think about the journeys their customers take. They are wired to maximize productivity and scale economies through functional units. They are wired for transactions, not journeys.

So how should companies tackle this issue? In our experience, six actions are critical to managing customer-experience journeys (articles elsewhere in this volume explore several of these topics in depth):

  • Step back and identify the nature of the journeys customers take—from the customer’s point of view.
  • Understand how customers navigate across the touchpoints as they move through the journey.
  • Anticipate the customer’s needs, expectations, and desires during each part of the journey.
  • Build an understanding of what is working and what is not.
  • Set priorities for the most important gaps and opportunities to improve the journey.
  • Come to grips with fixing root-cause issues and redesigning the journeys for a better end-to-end experience.

The amount of time it can take to identify journeys, understand performance, and redesign the experience can vary widely from company to company. For companies seeking only to fix a few glaring problems in specific journeys, top-down problem solving can be enough. But those that want to transform the overall customer experience may need a bottom-up effort to create a detailed road map for each journey, one that describes the process from start to finish and takes into account the business impact of enhancing the journey and sequencing the initiatives to do so. For many companies, combining operational, marketing and customer, and competitive-research data to understand journeys is a first-time undertaking, and it can be a long process—sometimes lasting several months. But the reward is well worth it; creating a fact base allows management to clearly see the customer’s experience and decide which aspects to prioritize.

Journeys explained

To better see how customer journeys work, let’s look at a measurable and routine service event—say, a product query—from the point of view of both the company and the customer. The company may receive millions of phone calls with questions about its product, and it is imperative to handle each of these calls well. But when customers are asked to recall their side of the experience months later, it is highly unlikely that they would describe such calls simply as a “product question.” That’s because the call has a context, and understanding it is the key to understanding customer journeys (Exhibit 1).

Billion-dollar Ideas: Finding Tomorrow’s Growth Engines Today

To create growth in uncertain times, use this disciplined and market-focused methodology. It can help you discover and distill attractive new ideas and build a business case for implementing the best of them.

After several years of survival mode for many companies, growth is back on the agenda. But the requirements for success have changed. In today’s conditions — uncertain recovery, limited capital, and many new competitors — companies must find new ways to grow.

There’s no going back to the growth ideas that were bouncing around the organization before the global financial crisis. Executives need a robust framework to help them rapidly develop a long list of opportunities and then choose the very best ideas from it. The process must be comprehensive, efficient, rigorous, collaborative, and focused on “market-back” opportunities designed to meet customers’ needs. And it must be bold — the company must resist the temptation to do what has been done in the past.

Booz & Company has created a methodology for this, based on five lenses used for evaluating growth strategies. The five lenses — share of wallet, new regulations, technology and applications, distinctive capabilities, and business models — represent discrete and complementary ways to find and judge unconventional and unseen ideas. This approach has already been used successfully by companies in many industries and geographies.

A Process for Thinking Big and Bold

Too often, companies fail to imagine and fully explore all the potential options available to them, because they have been so intently focused on existing businesses and customers. They rely on conventional growth strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, geographic expansion, competitive pricing, and product or service line extensions. Although all these growth paths are well trodden, they also have limitations. For example, none of them are attractive when capital markets are tight and consumer demand is weak. But there are many new avenues for transformational growth that could be far more lucrative than the current strategies and that could be achieved with reasonable effort.

In seeking these avenues for growth, it pays to think big and bold. Consider how many of the largest, most iconic companies in the world — old and new — achieved their greatest growth when they entered and conquered totally new markets. For example, the Nokia Corporation, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, started out in the 1880s as a manufacturer of cables, paper, and rubber tires. It was only when Nokia began separating from its roots as an industrial conglomerate to focus on electronics, and eventually telecom, that growth took off.

The Toyota Motor Corporation started out in the textile business making threads and looms. In the 1930s, Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder’s son, then head of Toyoda Loom Works, decided to branch into automobiles, which was considered a risky business at the time. American Express Company was an express mail company before it moved into financial services. Before Nintendo Company grew into a global powerhouse in digital games, it made playing cards and ran a chain of hotels for Japanese and other Asian markets.

These examples are not meant to suggest that wild leaps into new businesses and markets are right all the time and for all companies. For every Nokia, American Express, Toyota, or Nintendo, there are scores of companies that failed to achieve their new growth aspirations. Failure can often be traced back to the ad hoc processes with which many companies determine their growth strategy. When the search for new growth ideas is too unfocused, the best opportunities do not surface, and valuable time and resources are wasted. An unfocused process can also fail to take into account a company’s existing capabilities and assets. The result is a lack of coherence: ideas that require investment in capabilities that fit well with only one part of the company’s portfolio. This can hobble a company, especially if its competitors are more coherent. An ad hoc process can lead companies to implement new ideas based on flawed or overly aggressive assumptions. It can enable executives to revive old ideas that, for good reason, never had support in the first place.

By contrast, an effective methodology can reduce the risks associated with seeking breakout growth, maximize creative thinking, and ensure that companies direct their time and resources toward the best possible opportunities. Investment ideas stretch beyond conventional thinking; they are more comprehensive, and not limited to the obvious proposals. The process also ensures that time, resources, and management attention are deployed with care. Even the most extreme breakout growth strategies are coherently aligned with the rest of an organization’s portfolio of assets and capabilities. The assessment criteria for the “short list” of ideas is more rigorous: the process helps keep the discussion sound, unbiased, and clearly articulated. The process is a collaborative effort, tapping a broad array of executives and energizing the whole company. Projects chosen garner strong implementation support. It is also an explicitly market-focused process. The opportunities that are implemented have a strong chance of securing a first-mover advantage or another competitive advantage in the marketplace.

When a mining services company used the methodology in its quest to double revenues in three years, it identified a set of 13 opportunities, each of which had the potential to increase its annual revenue by US$1 billion. This reframed the boundaries of the business: The methodology helped executives see that although the company had a 40 percent share of a low-growth market, it actually held less than 5 percent of a much larger redefined market with numerous untapped, high-growth opportunities.

Five Lenses for Growth
The Growth Lens methodology has five lenses that can be used, separately and together, to expand a company’s perspective on growth. The goal is to challenge assumptions about the size, shape, and definition of markets through a facilitated, creative, and rigorous process of business idea generation. (See Exhibit 1.)

1. Share of Wallet

The goal of this lens is to determine how to capture a larger portion of existing customers’ spending by selling them more products and services, and a wider variety of them. The core question associated with this lens is, What other products or services do our customers buy or want that we could potentially provide?

For example, retail banks today provide a wide range of products and services beyond traditional lending, checking, and savings services; these new offerings include insurance products, retirement planning, and wealth management. The “financial supermarket” model offers one-stop shopping. When it works well, it increases a bank’s share of wallet and customer retention, and lowers sales and marketing and customer acquisition costs. These savings can be shared with customers in bundle or volume discounts.

Share-of-wallet strategies require a deep understanding of existing customers and the ability to cross-sell and raise profit margins across a full suite of financial services, which is why today’s banks are investing heavily in data mining and analytics.

Automobile manufacturers in many countries have repeatedly expanded their share of wallet by moving beyond making cars to distribution and sales. Some have gotten into sales of new and used vehicles through company-owned and franchised dealerships. Repair services and aftermarket parts sales are also a common approach. Some companies have grown their share of wallet by adding financing, leasing, insurance, navigation services, and roadside services to their business portfolios. In each case, they found and capitalized on new and profitable growth opportunities. As a result, the value captured by auto manufacturers through the sale of a new car can be relatively small, compared to the value that will be generated during the asset’s life cycle. These manufacturers have cleverly created high switching costs for customers (for example, by installing on-board computers that determine servicing intervals and must be reset by branded repairers), which protect this future upside.

The Virgin Group demonstrates a different share-of-wallet strategy. Virgin became a global conglomerate of 300 consumer companies, including airlines, mobile phone service providers, and fitness centers, by emphasizing brand recognition and customer loyalty. Virgin grows by continuously looking for new growth in a wide variety of lifestyle markets.

To be profitable, these share-of-wallet opportunities must be clearly defined, and their link to your current strategy and capabilities must be clearly understood. Consider the story of one organization, a successful construction equipment rental business whose customers were mainly local building contractors and construction tradespeople. The firm sought to extend into a “party supplies” rental business, providing tables, chairs, and utensils for social gatherings and events. Although the two businesses shared some elements, they had two very different target markets, and the new business failed. After some reflection on its share of wallet among contractors and tradespeople, the organization then successfully expanded into new businesses that served its original customers.

2. New Regulations

The regulatory lens looks for externally imposed changes in market conditions. Along with government regulation, this lens includes the influence of nongovernmental regulatory advocacy groups, and the voluntary initiatives of large companies that force competitors to follow them. The core question associated with this lens is, How can we shape or respond to the regulatory environment to create new and profitable business opportunities?

New laws are the most common stimulus for new growth ideas from this lens. For example, the emergence of regional and national emissions trading programs around the world has created a vast array of business opportunities, from energy efficiency retrofits in buildings to carbon trading. Many companies in manufacturing and services businesses are tapping into this opportunity. JPMorgan Chase & Company is an outstanding example. It found a growth opportunity in green regulations when it decided to develop its carbon credit trading capabilities to participate early on in the rapidly growing market for these credits. That market has grown from about $12 billion in 2005 to $140 billion in 2009, an 80 percent compound annual growth rate.

A combination of pressure from NGOs and accelerating green consumerism has inspired market leaders such as Walmart and Procter & Gamble Company to become market leaders in environmental sustainability. Both Walmart and P&G impose strict sustainability requirements on their suppliers. The large buying volume and market power of companies like these change industry standards and affect consumer goods companies in many markets. For example, when Walmart decided it would sell only concentrated laundry detergents to use less shelf space, increase logistics efficiencies, and lower costs, the move precipitated a shift that affected every detergent manufacturer.

Companies can proactively shape the regulatory environment, too, by influencing government actions and industry operating standards. When they do this and successfully shift the playing field to their advantage, they can prosper. For instance, the Xerox Corporation’s competitors played an influential role in the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s decision to force Xerox to license the patents that had enabled it to monopolize the plain-paper copier business in the 1970s. This opened the market to low-cost Japanese competitors, such as Canon and Toshiba, and high-end copier companies, such as IBM and Kodak.

3. Technology and Applications

The technology and applications lens looks for ways to apply existing products and technologies to gain entry into new markets. The core question associated with this lens is, Where could we use existing products or technologies to create customer value in a different market?

Stanley Black & Decker Inc. has successfully applied its electric motor technology, originally developed for home power tools, to a vast array of other products, including toothbrushes, to expand its markets and capture new growth. The Kimberly-Clark Corporation has used its technology in paper manufacturing to create an expanded portfolio of “adjacent” products that rely on the same or similar technologies (feminine hygiene pads, diapers for children, paper towels, and floor cleaning products). Today, all are important drivers of growth. (See Exhibit 2.)

The power of this lens derives from the fact that the products and technologies that will generate the new growth are already in hand. Often the company already has a competitive advantage and recognition in the market by virtue of its existing products — many of which are proprietary. All that is necessary is to deploy them in new ways.

Church & Dwight Company, the household products manufacturer that owns the Arm & Hammer brand, broke out of its bicarbonate-of-soda cleaning niche when it tapped into the consumer demand for nontoxic products and started promoting baking soda as an odor-eating air freshener. Today, Arm & Hammer–branded products include baking soda–based toothpaste, laundry detergent, underarm deodorant, and kitty litter freshener. General Electric Company’s Ecomagination initiatives are similarly capturing a variety of new revenue streams and profits by meeting green demand for products with lower carbon and toxic footprints in both industrial and consumer markets.

4. Distinctive Capabilities

In their book The Essential Advantage: How to Win with a Capabilities-Driven Strategy (Harvard Business Press, 2010), Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi argue that every successful company relies on a group of three to six mutually reinforcing distinctive capabilities, that enable it to create and execute corporate strategies that competitors cannot easily meet or beat. For example, Walmart’s capabilities — which include aggressive vendor management, point-of-sale data analytics, superior logistics, and rigorous working capital management — have enabled it to pursue a low-price/high-volume strategy that no other retailer has matched. The core question associated with this lens is, How can we use our own distinctive capabilities to create new offerings for our existing markets or enter new markets?

Distinctive capabilities are those that have been invested in and refined, so that they provide an extraordinary competence that other companies cannot master. This sets them apart from “table stakes”: capabilities that are required to do business, such as facilities management and tax management, but which do not necessarily distinguish the business. One example of a company that built its expansion around distinctive capabilities was an explosives manufacturer with a hard-to-replicate proficiency in carrying dangerous products long distances to remote mining sites. The firm extended its business operations to carrying hazardous waste for a much larger set of customers.

Similarly, a rail construction firm that had developed a unique capability in overhead wiring redefined its market several times by competing in the electricity transmission and distribution market. A building company with a well-honed project management capability, enabling it to complete jobs on time and on budget, extended that capability into a business managing sporting events. The company’s leaders saw that managing Formula 1 auto races requires extensive track preparation, installation of safety fencing, and construction of temporary stands within tight time frames. All these needs are similar to those of construction project management.

Looking through the capability lens, one can often conceive of chains of successful products that open new markets and win new customers. One of Apple Inc.’s key capabilities is its ability to achieve seamless integration of diverse functionalities in its digital devices. This skill led to the iPod, the iPhone, and most recently the iPad — a chain of products that has driven Apple’s growth to new heights and taken the company far beyond its roots in desktop computing.

5. Business Models

The business model lens focuses on how modifications or format shifts in a company’s business model can fundamentally alter the established customer value proposition in a company’s favor. This can enable your company to increase its margins, offer products at a lower price point than your competitors, or gain market share. The core question associated with this lens is, How could we change the way we serve our customers to increase both our profitability and customer value?

Companies usually shift their business models only when sustained periods of poor industry returns force them to rethink the way they do business. For example, when Fuji Xerox Company was facing closure in Australia because the cost of importing parts from Japan made it uncompetitive, it changed its business model. Instead of importing parts, it began remanufacturing components recovered from its installed base of copiers. Not only did this enable the business to return to profitability, but the new model was also adopted internationally by Xerox and won global environmental awards.

The business model lens should not be reserved for crises, however. A significant source of its power is in business model innovations that surprise competitors and customers and rewrite the rules of competition for whole industries. When Dell Inc. perfected a direct-to-customer distribution model that blindsided the computer industry’s major players, it got a huge boost to its competitive position and its profitability. Southwest Airlines Company’s short-haul, point-to-point model allowed it to successfully compete at a lower price range than traditional hub-and-spoke carriers with high fixed costs.

Making a Better Choice

Every lens has its own value, and companies should use each one exhaustively before moving on to the next one. Often different lenses generate similar ideas. That’s OK. The point is to let the methodology be a “looking glass experience,” which alters perceptions, expands horizons, and redefines market boundaries.

Companies that use the five growth lenses typically generate long lists of potential growth opportunities. You may have more than 100 ideas by the time you’re done. But lists alone are of little value. You need to be able to quickly evaluate the ideas you have generated and set priorities before selecting the very best ideas for implementation. This winnowing process can involve any or all of three concurrent techniques: the use of an iterative filtering framework, facilitated workshops, and a fact-based assessment of your ideas.

  • An iterative filtering framework, in a series of efficient steps, eliminates the least attractive opportunities so you can pay more attention to the most promising ones. First, evaluate the full list with a group of “pass/fail” criteria, ideally defined in advance: a minimum threshold for revenue, a maximum length of time to profitability, acceptable margins, and a sufficient level of incumbent domination in the sector. Typically, more than two-thirds of your opportunities will fall off the list.

    Then evaluate the remaining ideas in greater detail, with a team of senior executives who have a strategic view. Your ideas must pass muster in terms of market attractiveness and the company’s competitive capabilities. Selection criteria should generally include the amount of investment required, the market growth rate, competitive advantage, and your ability to enter the market. Expert facilitation can minimize the politics and power plays that are common when executives become enamored of certain projects. Facilitators ensure all credible ideas are heard and keep the process on track.

    By the third filtering stage, you may have fewer than 20 opportunities to look at. Prepare a mini business case for each idea, incorporating details of the market, target customer segments, products, value proposition, competitors, distribution, economics, and risks. Using these cases, your senior executive team should evaluate the ideas and choose the top five.

    In the final stage of filtering, create detailed business cases for the remaining opportunities, including high-level implementation plans, growth pathways, risk-mitigating actions, financial expectations, and business partners. The executive team can then pick the opportunities and allocate investment funds.

  • Facilitated workshops are often used for brainstorming new ideas, but they can also be used to explore these ideas in more detail with a broader group — a cross-section of people from several divisions and most staff levels. Use these workshops to expand and think through those ideas that are good but underdeveloped. The sessions can also set a strong foundation for implementation, because they generate cross-boundary ownership.

    When a leading Australian construction company used the growth lens methodology, it held a series of ideation workshops attended by more than 40 staff members from different levels and departments throughout the company. (It also interviewed a number of key clients and mapped the best growth strategies among a global set of construction companies.) More than 100 growth opportunities were identified in three facilitated workshops, each conducted in a half day. The most attractive opportunity, which surfaced using the capabilities lens, was an untapped $700 million high-margin market related to climate change that is now being pursued by the company.

  • A fact-based assessment, with appropriate information and skillful analysis incorporated into the process, can be vital to the credibility of your opportunity development process. You can accomplish this in several ways. Draw on a global network of experts to identify best practices and analogous situations. Conduct a global market scan, looking at best practices used by companies that are in the same industry and facing similar growth challenges. Or involve industry- and sector-specific experts who can provide the facts needed to evaluate an opportunity that lies outside your current businesses.

    Experts may also be needed to provide information on the latest developments in new technologies, customer needs and trends, the regulatory arena, and business models. Skills are needed to rapidly and objectively build and examine business cases using unambiguous quantitative evidence. Here, capabilities and experience in corporate strategy, due diligence, business development, research, and financial modeling are required.

New Horizons for New Growth

Identifying the next billion-dollar market opportunity today to create a powerful engine of future growth may require you to tap into all your organization’s creativity. Many of your staff may agree at first with economist and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Schelling, who said, “One thing a person cannot do, no matter how rigorous his analysis or heroic his imagination, is to draw up a list of things that would never occur to him.” But as illogical as it may sound, this is exactly what companies must strive to do if they are to succeed in low- and no-growth economies. You can’t do it simply by sitting down and thinking through the problem; you’ll need a process to guide you to the kinds of ideas that are inconceivable at first, but necessary for your business’s long-term growth


This post from LinkedIn Influencer Adam Grant originally appeared on LinkedIn.

If you do the math, becoming an entrepreneur is insane. The odds of success are tiny; failure is almost guaranteed. To make the leap, you have to be fearless.

Or so I thought.

I spent the past three years working on a book, “Originals,” about the people who champion new ideas to drive creativity and change in the world.

Along the way, I hunted down some of the most original entrepreneurs of our time, sitting down with tech icons ranging from Larry Page and Elon Musk to Jack Dorsey and Mark Cuban. When I asked them to take me back to the early days, they caught me off guard.

They all felt the same fear of failure that the rest of us do. They just responded to it differently.

When most of us fear failure, we walk away from our boldest ideas. Instead of being original, we play it safe, selling conventional products and familiar services. But great entrepreneurs have a different response to the fear of failure. Yes, they’re afraid of failing, but they’re even more afraid of failing to try.

In work and in life, there are two kinds of failure: actions and inactions. You can fail by starting a company that goes out of business or by not starting a company at all. By getting left at the altar or by never proposing marriage. Most people predict that it’s the actions they’ll regret more. We cringe at the anguish of declaring bankruptcy or getting rejected by the love of our lives. But we are dead wrong.

When people reflect on their biggest regrets, they wish they could redo the inactions, not the actions. “In the long run, people of every age and in every walk of life seem to regret not having done things much more than they regret things they did,” psychologists Tom Gilovich and Vicki Medvec summarize, “which is why the most popular regrets include not going to college, not grasping profitable business opportunities, and not spending enough time with family and friends.”

Ultimately, what we regret is not failure, but the failure to act. Knowing that is what propels people to become original. Leonardo da Vinci wrote repeatedly in his notebook, “Tell me if anything was ever done.” He might have been afraid to fail, but he was more afraid that he would fail to accomplish anything of significance. That propelled him to keep painting, inventing, and designing to become the ultimate Renaissance Man.

Da Vinci didn’t answer my request for an interview. But the entrepreneurs I met consistently told me they weren’t afraid of failing, but of failing to   matter. And that meant they had to make an effort, to take a shot at bringing their new ideas into the world.

Originals learn to see failure not as a sign that their ideas are doomed, but as a necessary step toward success. We learn more from failure than success: for example, evidence shows that space shuttles are more likely to make it to orbit after botched launches. A failure signals a gap in knowledge or a poor strategy, and motivates us to go back to the drawing board and get it right. Without failure, complacency can creep in. At NASA, the Challenger disaster happened after 24 successful space flights, which led to overconfidence. “In their own minds,” physicist Richard Feynman reflected, “They could do no wrong.”

With original ideas, failure is inevitable, because it’s impossible to predict how technologies will evolve and tastes will change. Mark Cuban passed on Uber. In the early days of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin tried to sell their search engine for less then $2 million, but their potential buyer turned them down.

Publishers rejected Harry Potter because it was too long for a children’s book. Executives passed on Seinfeld for having incomplete plot lines and unlikable characters. Pay a visit to Jerry Seinfeld’s bathroom, and you might find a memo hanging on the wall that calls the pilot episode of Seinfeld “weak” and says “”No segment of the audience was eager to watch the show again.”

Throughout history, the great originals have been the ones who failed the most, because they were the ones who tried the most. Most of Thomas Edison’s 1,093 patents went nowhere; Picasso had to produce over 20,000 pieces of art to make a few masterpieces. We see the same trend with entrepreneurs.

Before Uber, Travis Kalanick’s first startup declared bankruptcy. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a reporter. Steve Jobs flopped with the Apple Lisa and got forced out of his own company before making his triumphant return — and even after the iPod succeeded, he made a bad bet on the Segway personal transporter. And with all of Richard Branson’s success in airlines, trains, music, and mobile, he has also presided over the failure of Virgin cola, cars, and wedding dresses.

So take it from this group of elite failures. If at first you don’t succeed, you’ll know you’re aiming high enough.

The Age of Hospitality Tech is Coming

Hospitality tech is coming, and it’s going to change how we use technology in our everyday lives.

Sometimes, it feels like technology is running us and not the other way around. We walk around on a beautiful day, heads buried in our smartphones. Friendly elevator chatter is replaced by tapping fingers, small talk at restaurants has made way for YouTube videos, and any free cognitive space we have is eaten by a relentless whir of notifications, pings and refreshed news feeds.

Our screens are becoming the lens by which we interpret the world and are heavily influencing the design of our offline, tech-enabled services.

Simply put, our tech fascinates us, but it takes away something from our offline, real world experiences.

A Design Problem in Online to Offline Services

As software has eaten the world and service value chains are transformed by technology the supposition is that we want to do more through our phones and less through person-to-person interaction.

While an engaging waiter is great while dining at New York’s finest restaurant, it also feels pretty convenient to order dinner through Postmates or Seamless to avoid talking to a human being altogether (never mind they are still powering the delivery).

Restaurants at JFK airport have responded to the ‘press a button for service’ trend by allowing travelers to interact with an iPad — and only an iPad — to order a pre-flight coffee. And to a busy traveler, one less conversation probably feels like a welcome relief.

But follow this design logic into the future and you come across automated checkouts, holographic concierges, arms-length Airbnb checkins, and driverless cars. We may soon be left wondering: Where did all the people go?

Technology’s central design principle has been to take humans out of the picture.

The problem with taking humans out of the equation is that it is fundamentally at odds with the concept of service hospitality, which is wholly concerned with how we can harness the power of human empathy and intuition.

In many ways we simply haven’t gotten around to building hospitality into our tech. Right now, our apps are focused on services as transactions and the ways to make them more efficient. However, real service is defined as a relationship, not a one-way transaction.

True service is a relationship, not a transaction. — Tweet this

So mimicking the current tech interface in service design sucks. It pulls our attention away from experiencing things richly in real life and eliminates an opportunity to have a more thoughtful, interactive relationship with the things we do and buy. In my opinion, most tech-enabled services today are punctuated by clumsy interruptions and flat interaction points. They fail to take your holistic experience into account. (And no, a cookie with my dry cleaning doesn’t fix it).

The Age of Hospitality Tech

If we fired our current services and demanded a more holistic hospitality experience a lot would change.

Hospitality-driven technology would likely take us to a place where the interface is the lack of one. A service experience is a series of informed and reinforcing interactions over time.

The future of technology in hospitality would still utilize powerful data, but place it in the hands of well-trained, empathetic people who could use it in context. Context is a powerful thing that turns facts from a CRM into clues a human or system can use to anticipate, be flexible, and help steward a cohesive experience.

Hospitality tech is coming, and it’s going to rock. It’s also not easy. Service companies have to deliver on consistent, high quality fulfillment before they earn trust — the basis of any relationship. In a world of moving parts this is much harder than it looks. As a founder of a services company, I know there is a lot to do. We need unit economics that work. We need a product people want and understand. We have to add value to all the players in the value chain. We have to build and grow. And all the while deal with the daily CX issues that happen in any service company. With all that going on, it’s easy to see why enduring, cohesive customer relationships become a nice to have.

Or is it? What if you started with trust? Hello Alfred, the company I started withJessica Beck, is selling a relationship with a brand and a dedicated person you can trust to help you get things done.

We want to be the de facto operating system for your home life. We do that by aggregating on-demand and local services and then delivering them cohesively, past your door each week at the hands of dedicated ‘Alfred Client Managers’. We employ a blend of technology and human intuition.

So as the founder of a hospitality brand we think about it this way: we are striving to build an operating system that anticipates our clients’ needs and delivers against them at the highest level of service possible, evolving processes and logistics, accordingly. We start with the relationship.

We pride ourselves in having an interface that feels like you are communicating with an intuitive, warm human that cares about you — but that the execution of requests is aided through optimization and automation on our tech platform.

We are not the only service company that aims to revive hospitality. Companies like Pana, a virtual travel agent, aims to fix travel UX by bringing people, their nuanced opinions and expertise back into travel bookings. Then there is ALICE, a hospitality software company, which is creating communication and workflow management tools to improve hospitality in hotels for their guests. Or Olo, which has pioneered digital restaurant ordering, providing customers with better and faster personal service as an invisible interface that also improves operational efficiency.

The role of services tech going forward could be hidden, and focused on inspiring more delightful moments with greater frequency. The anticipatory actions that differentiate a five-star resort from the rest could come to be in everyday occurrences. With the right interplay between data and a well-trained human, anticipatory interactions won’t be one-offs, but rather the new service standard.

The allure of high-tech making it’s way into the service industry is great, but it probably wont be sleek UI and an invisible back end alone that make an excellent experience, but people putting technology to its highest use. The future of consumer tech is putting humans back in the computing loop and connecting the offline and online worlds in ways we have never seen.


Marcela Sapone (@mssapone) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hello Alfred, the home operating system that pairs you with a dedicated butler. Alfred is behind the scenes making sure that when you get home, it’s the home you want. She was named one of Goldman Sachs most intriguing entrepreneurs, the callout for Consumer Tech in Forbes 30 under 30 and the 2014 winner of TechCrunch Disrupt SF. Marcela holds an MBA from Harvard Business School with distinction.