When You’re Presenting Strategy – Elegance Matters

The difference between Apple and PC is, in my opinion, design. The calligraphy class that Steve Jobs attended at Reed College added the degree of elegance to Apple’s products that have enabled it to position the PC as, well, so pc. Design does matter, as much in the world of intangible strategy as in the concrete world of the desktop computer.

The outcome (or deliverable) of a strategy is usually an implementation plan, so the content of a strategy is geared to the future. The success of the strategy depends very much on the outcomes achieved after it is implemented. For that reason, a strategy can never be proven to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ during its useful life. As a case study it can prove of immense value, but then it’s an historical case study and not a strategy. Until someone invents a time machine, a strategy provides the ways and means to achieve a future objective – proof only comes with time. Mathematicians refer to Pythagoras’ Theorem as a ‘beautiful’ proof. In this case it possesses not only beauty, but also truth. As we cannot know the future, strategy cannot possess truth – it has only the beauty component that allows it to resonate with its audience. It’s elegance.

How can strategy be elegant? That’s probably a matter of opinion, but once again the field of mathematics has formalized what elegance means for them (and they don’t have the advantage of using full colour imagery, even music, in their proofs – they are restricted to numbers and letters and squiggly things that only they know the meaning of). However, luckily for us, mathematics has defined what it means by describing a proof as beautiful:

  • It uses a minimum of previous results (i.e. data)
  • It is short
  • It derives a result in a surprising way
  • It is based on new and original insights
  • It can be easily generalized to solve a family of similar problems.

I feel that the following strategy is an elegant one, although many may not agree:

My good friend Max Blumberg and I decided (sometime during the 1980′s) to visit Sun City. We were both somewhat unusual, in that we would do unusual things. Such as sitting at a street cafe calling out ‘Michelle’ to every girl who walked by. Approximately 1 in 20 girls responded with great excitement that they had been recognized. Max was gifted at playing the piano. I was tone deaf. We were a formidable team.

There was a giant parking lot outside Sun City where day visitors were instructed to park. Max confidently drove up to the gate, and informed the guard that we had come to collect our instruments from the Lucas Mangope Room. The guard stated that we were not ‘on the list’. Max refused to back down. “But how are we supposed to get our equipment?” he exclaimed with so much urgency that the problem was clear to see. The guard then stated that we could drive in, but if he did not receive our registration details from the hotel, we would be in trouble. We agreed.

I did not understand what Max was doing, but it was to become abundantly clear when he parked outside the hotel, strode to the reception desk with a confident gait, and proclaimed to the pretty girl behind the counter: “Hi, I’m in room 5142 – I’m expecting some friends to join us for lunch, would you please be a darling and phone the gate to let this registration number in?”

We had a whale of a time in the casino. And we got to stay over when we were offered a room by a young lady whose friends had not arrived. So, we weren’t day visitors after all.

What an elegant strategy.

An effective strategy uses the minimum of data, is brief, has a fresh approach, has current insights and could be understood by a ten year old. That’s elegance.

When pitching for new business, the prospective client does not want to see that you have done your homework. They want to feel it. It’s so beautiful when the presenter proceeds straight to the heart of the matter with insight and sensitivity, so that the process can move forward, as opposed to wallowing in a sea of supposition further clouded by data which is as appealing as a soggy sand-filled bathing costume.

How To Spot & Use Power To Win More Negotiations

One party was in the majority, which meant they had control of the house. The other party performed a drastic act to challenge the power of the majority party. Thus began the challenge to power in the negotiation.

Power in a negotiation is the degree that one negotiator has it and the opposing negotiator agrees with him. It’s perceptional. It’s also the degree one negotiator will go to expose and use her power to advance her position. Since power ebbs and flows in a negotiation, some negotiators have it, don’t use it, and they lose it.

The following will allow you to identify when you’re in a power position in a negotiation and how to offset the opposing negotiator’s power.

Mental perspective of power:

Since power is perceptional it can be difficult to identify. If one negotiator is better at bluffing per what he’ll accept or reject, he can convey power while in reality, he’s in a much less powerful position than his exploits might indicate. To understand that negotiator’s potential power moves, understand the mindset he possesses and to what degree he’s willing to act powerful. Thus, knowing his mindset will give you insight into the amount of push-back you have to apply before he’ll back down. Having such insight and testing him will also give you insight into how he might perceive the power you wheel.

Timing your use of power:

When assessing when to use power, consider where you are in the negotiation. If you’re in the beginning, you might be more cautious about making a power move than if you were near the end and had to advance your position quickly. On the other hand, based on your strategy, you might make a power move early to set the tone and send a signal of the type of negotiation style you were going to engage in.

Thus, the timing of when you’ll display power and to what degree you’ll do so depends on what has occurred prior to your implementation of a power play, where you expect to be after you make it, and what emotional state you’ll leave the other negotiator in.

Per making a power move more powerful, if appropriate, don’t give any warning or advance notice prior to implementing it. The more of a surprise (I didn’t see that coming) you make such a move the greater will be its impact. After you execute a power move, measure its effectiveness to determine the degree you have more or less power.

Observe body language:

By observing the body language of the opposing negotiator when you make a power move, you’ll gain insight into his mindset, how impactful your power play was and how he might attempt to recover.

If you observe him taking deep breaths (that took the air out of me), rubbing his eye(s) (I didn’t see that coming), scratching at his forehead (I’ve got to think about this), leaning away from you/the table (I need to get away from this), all such gestures will telegraph the impact that your power display had on him. You’ll also be able to note the ups and downs of his mood.

As you can see, there are many aspects to consider when determining how, when, and why to use and display power in a negotiation. The better you become at detecting when you versus the other negotiator is in a power position, even if it’s when either of you are bluffing, the greater insight you’ll have per when to use power and to what degree to apply it. Such insight will lead you to more successful negotiation outcomes… and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

What’s the Best Way to Present Live Bait?

So what is the best way to present live bait? The best way to present live bait is really pretty simple. The best way is the natural way. You want your bait to appear to be as normal as possible. For example, if you’re fishing in your favorite stream, you want is to seem to the fish that the worm that you’re using for bait has just crawled out from under an underwater rock and is now tumbling naturally with the current. Or if you’re lake fishing, you want the bait to appear as natural as is possible. The more natural your bait looks, the better results you will have.

What you want to avoid is the ever popular “worm ball”. This is where a fisherperson takes a worm and hooks it over and over on a hook that’s much too large, thus creating the “worm ball”. Although small fish may fall for this, large ones won’t. I see all too much of the dreaded “worm ball” on our rivers and streams. It’s just not necessary, not to mention not productive and completely unnecessary.

A person should employ a “gang hook”, especially when fishing with the good old American worm. A gang hook is simply two small hooks tied in tandem. With some research, their fairly easy to tie yourself, or you could purchase them from someone like JRWfishing.com, either way they’re the perfect way to present a worm that looks as natural as is possible to look while still having hooks in it.

So what if you’re fishing with live bait, but not worms? The exact same principles mentioned above apply. You want the bait to look as natural as is possible. If it’s a minnow, you want it to look like a wounded minnow. If you’re using a leach, you still want it to look like a leach when it’s the water. The same goes for a crawfish, for example. You’re going to catch more fish, the more natural your bait looks. It’s that simple. Hook size is also very important with most freshwater fish in North America. And most people use hooks for live bait that are entirely too large.

For example I’ve hooked and subsequently landed many rainbow trout that measured from 18 inches to 23 inches on size 10 hooks! For those of you who don’t know, that’s a small hook. Most people would look at a size 10 hook and say, “what are you going fishing for, minnows?” But when you employ fishing equipment such as gang hooks, that’s the size hook that should be used for much of your freshwater fishing. When a worm is rigged on a gang hook using size 10 hooks, the hooks are barely detectable, and that’s what you’re looking for. If you use gang hooks, you will catch more fish, there’s no doubt about it.