The power of rituals
An Irish brand of cider known as Magners has recently exploded in popularity in the United Kingdom. Why? The company didn’t tweak its recipe. It didn’t hire a celebrity spokesperson. It didn’t roll out some wacky new line extension, say, a Magners candy bar. So what's the secret to its sudden success? Years ago, the majority of pubs in the Irish county of Tipperary lacked fridges, so consumers took it upon themselves to cool down Magners by pouring it over ice. Turns out that making the cider colder cut its sweetness and improved its taste. From then on, bartenders served Magners from a large bottle into a pint glass, using lots of ice, and a ritual was born. This not only improved the taste of the cider, but also went so far as to redefine what consumers thought of when they thought about the brand. In time, the ritual became so linked to the cider that people began to refer to the brand as “Magnets on Ice.”
Focus is saying no to 1,000 good ideas.
Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.” The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal. The hard thing isn’t hiring great people. The hard thing is when those “great people” develop a sense of entitlement and start demanding unreasonable things. The hard thing isn’t setting up an organizational chart. The hard thing is getting people to communicate within the organization that you just designed. The hard thing isn’t dreaming big. The hard thing is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat when the dream turns into a nightmare.
The last 10% is 90% of the work.