Monday, July 25, 2011

Seeing is believing... and birds might fly!

The reason I am putting this video from TED up this week is because I believe that this is a brilliant and effective example where actions speak louder than words. How many times have you tried to make a persuasive argument only to have it knocked back.

Typically a successful argument, suggestion etc requires persuading the audience that "perceiving is believing". However this is clearly not the same as "seeing is believing", which I find to be far more successful when trying to get various parties on side. 

To illustrate my point I often refer to the example John Kotter describes in his book The Heart of Change. John describes a process he calls See, Feel and Change using the "Gloves on the Boardroom Table" illustration.

"A large organization had an inefficient purchasing process, and one mid-level executive believed that money was constantly being wasted with each of the organization's factories handling their own purchases. He thought there could be tremendous savings from consolidating the procurement effort. He put together a "business case" for change but it went nowhere. His boss said that senior executives didn't feel it was truly a big problem, especially with so many other daily challenges taking up their time. So the manager had an idea: he collected the 424 different kinds of work gloves the factories collectively purchased and tagged each one with its different price and supplier. He carted the gloves in and dumped them on the boardroom table before a senior executive team meeting. He first showed the pile to his boss, who was taken aback by this powerful visual display of the waste inherent in having dozens of different factories negotiate different deals for the items they needed! The boss showed the CEO, who scrapped the meeting agenda to talk about procurement because what he was looking at was so memorable, so compelling, and so real. It galvanized the executives to action. Ultimately, they overhauled their procurement process and saved a great deal of money."

And now for the TED video (below). Just imagine for one second that the speaker was doing the presentation WITHOUT the bird and only had visuals on a PowerPoint (or other like medium) to get across his invention. Would you be left with the same WOW factor as you get when you "see and believe". 


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