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The Cheshire Press ... Here's our newest
book of poetry: Tacking Lessons, by Nancy Miller.
In her new poetry collection, poet, memoirist
and musician Nancy Bailey Miller takes the reader with her
into the tricky waters she navigates like the gifted verbal
sailor she is: dreams, memory, family history, shifting relationships,
the familiar seen as with the fresh eyes of the traveler,
the unfamiliar tamed and rendered ours, new places and situations
explored by a mind blessed by restlessness and keen powers
Purchase a copy from the cheshire
press website today.
This is the 67th issue of The Better Mousetrap.
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TO DO WHEN SOLUTIONS BECOME PART OF THE PROBLEM.
Acme Mousetrap Company had a problem: the
company wasn't selling as many mousetraps as they once had.
Everybody was worried.|
Folks who met at the water cooler
spoke about it.
"The problem is," they
said, "that we need a bigger sales force."
To some employees, the situation
was stated in these terms: "The problem is we need to wrap
the product in something exciting—offer a promotional
come-on or something. Promise a handsome give-away."
"The problem" insisted
other folks, "is that our order entry system stinks. We
need to upgrade and we need to do it fast."
"The problem is poor sales
training" asserted others. "Our sales force isn't
trained in the best techniques for selling mousetraps."
Part of the trouble, which nobody
at the Acme Mousetrap Company could see, was that people were
confusing problem solutions with problem symptoms.
When this happens solutions become
part of the problem.
The Acme Mousetrap Company needed
to spend some time defining the actual problem symptom. And
the first step in that direction is to turn problem solution
statements like "lack of sales training" into problem
symptom phrases like "sagging sales figures."
Let's say that the management
at Acme concurred with the diagnosis of lack of sales training
and so they sent their sales staff to a week-long training session
that included role playing, product debugging and telephone
etiquette. If Acme's problem actually turned out to be weak
spring mechanisms on the traps, however, or non-competitive
pricing, then any problem addressed on the sales level alone,
was money misdirected.
When people too glibly diagnose—and
that is what's happening when statements are made that begin
"the problem is..." —then the actual problem
symptom is endangered of being eclipsed.
When Acme's management got its
people to use problem symptom phrases (e.g. "falling sales
volume") instead of problem solution phrases ("lack
of sales training"), more effective options for locating
the trouble became possible.
Problem symptom statements open
wider avenues, allowing diagnosticians to trace falling sales
volume along all paths. Poor sales training might be
just one of those paths. Others might include materials troubles
(weak spring mechanisms), cost issues (pricing too high), competition
(the other guys advertised on the Super Bowl and now everyone
is beating a path to their door), and technology impact
(someone has built a better mousetrap).
Beware the quick fix. Sometimes
identifying it may do more harm than good.
CARE OF THE LITTLE THINGS.
Statler's hotels weren't luxury hotels. They weren't in the
league with the Waldorf Astoria or the Ritz and E.M. didn't
want them to be. He figured he could make his hotels very
attractive, pack them with people—and make a handsome
profit—if he offered his customers something extra.
So Statler promised a bath in
every room. (He was able to carry out the remarkable plumbing
achievement by building the baths back-to-back and installing
the plumbing pipes in the same vertical shafts that carried
heating. This design is still known as the Statler Plumbing
Statler built his hotels between
1901 and 1920 and he offered telephones, and later radios,
in every room. He installed circulating ice water too and
put in full length mirrors and closets instead of clothes
pegs. Every Statler room offered free morning newspapers,
well stocked writing desks and little sewing kits.
No detail of convenience was
too small to escape E.M. Statler's notice. He ordered keyholes
to be placed above the doorknobs instead of below
to enable guests who might have imbibed one cocktail too many
to more easily unlock a room door.
Statler gave a lot of thought
to his customers' needs and reasoned that what they wanted
was comfort, consistency and above all privacy. So that's
what he gave them. Customer service was paramount with E.M.
Statler and that famous tribute to the customer is his too.
"The customer," reads the motto on the hotel stationary
in 1907, "is always right."
IN A BRAND NAME?
and Rudi Dassler formed Dassler Bros.
Shoes in Germany in 1925 during the Weimar Republic.
After World War II, Rudi broke off to form his own shoe
company called Puma.
Dassler formed a competing company named after himself:
ABCs OF BUSINESS-PART VI.
A Modern Glossary for Workplace Survival
Down is the art of getting subordinates to
do what you want. Nobody cares that you didn't do the work.
You managed it. That's all that counts, especially to other
Up is the art of getting your superiors to
do what you want. Those at the top are no less in need of
good management than those in the lower branches of the corporate
tree. The problem: There's nobody around to manage them unless
their subordinates do it.
are essentially odious. Try to have as few as possible, but
never miss one you should be at. If it isn't your meeting,
you will have to contend with several challenges.
in the Wall Street Journal
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you are going to burn your bridges you'd better
be a damn good swimmer"
any decision carries long-term and short-term consequences,
and the two are diametrically opposed."
is more important than knowledge."
a better mouse-trap and the world will beat a path to your
Ralph Waldo Emerson
can build it but they don't have to come. Let your
market know the product is there.
BETTER MOUSE-TRAP helps you do it. To do it even better
call The Cheshire Group at
978 475-1478 or visit us at: