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Remembering Right Makes Business Might
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By Anne Zink

It all started because I was frustrated. Not “gee-this-is-annoying” frustrated. No! I was “banging-my-head-against-the-desk” frustrated that my clients seemed so paralyzed. The projects at hand were simple. Create marketing messages. Design customer solutions. Create new sales presentations. All they had to do was translate product features into business impact. Just tell the customers why they should buy.

Yet nothing happened.

I sought solace in the words of the gurus. From Jack Welsh to Deepak Chopra, I read them all, to no avail. And then I stumbled on A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. In his book, Mr. Pink postulates we are transitioning from an Information Age, where analytical and technical skills are highly valued, to a Conceptual Age, where the value will shift from those skills to a whole new set of aptitudes he identifies as empathy, design, symphony, meaning and play. Everything from product design to professional services will call heavily upon these Right Brain skills.

It was like the clouds parted and a chorus of angels began singing. Suddenly it all made sense. My clients were Right Brain Phobic!

The Right Brain is typically characterized as being the artsy, touchy-feely side of our intellect. It’s considered the more emotional side of us, the feminine side, the weaker, irrational side. The side that has no role in business…well except maybe a little in marketing. It is the side that creates global connections and sees the big picture. It is the intuitive side. It’s no wonder my clients were suddenly paralyzed. For decades, they’ve been told to focus on the hard facts. Whichever is cheaper, faster and has more buttons wins! Emotion is bad for business!

Now, all of sudden they’re being told cooler, faster, cheaper isn’t the goal. Products and services need to make the customers’ lives better. It’s an obvious statement yet, salesmen still knock on our doors daily with products we can’t imagine why we’d use. Services are marketed to us incessantly that make no sense for our businesses. Just as our tolerance has waned so has our customers’.

The fact is the rules are changing. Competitive Differentiation will not come from faster and cheaper. The reasons are many and varied ranging from the ethical scandals that appear more pervasive every day, to the aging population, to terrorism and globalization.

As a small business, it’s tempting to ignore these trends; to pretend they don’t impact your business and your community. That’s a dangerous approach to the future. In his book, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman tells of the preparation of approximately 400,000 annual tax returns being outsourced to India in 2005. He also shares how McDonald’s franchisees from three states centralized their fast food drive thrus to a call center in Colorado. These are just two examples of technology driving powerful change and globalization impacting small business.

As technology continues to empower commodization and outsourcing of repeatable, routine tasks, small businesses are uniquely positioned to capitalize. But it will require tapping into the right brain to take a whole-minded approach to business.

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Anne Zink is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of AZTech Strategies LLC.
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