The Olympics are starting soon, so let’s think about the training of elite athletes.
One common advice from athletes is that they visualize the future. They see themselves winning the gold, scoring the goal, or landing the jump.
Visualizing your own success is important. But even more important is to write it down, preferably on the specific date in a calendar. This way, you can now work backwards from your future goal, and understand all the specific steps you need to take starting from today.
Knowing exactly what you want, and what you need to do to get it, will put you on the path to success.
Pilots have been using “pre-flight” checklists for decades. Even highly experienced pilots will still defer to checklists because the checklist is more reliable than your memory.
Seeing the success of checklists for pilots, surgeons have recently taken to using checklists as well. And the results are staggering.
According to one study, the simple use of checklists cut patient mortality rates nearly in half.
Can you incorporate checklists into your business?
If you deal with people, sometimes what’s mathematically won’t be seen as being better overall.
Think of this question: how can you make a 3 hour train ride better?
A mathematical solution might be to spend a lot of money to make the trip a few minutes shorter.
A people solution might be to spend a fraction of that money to give people a more beautiful experience by using prettier cushions, cleaning up the graffiti, and maybe installing some charging outlets.
Think of it with respect to a restaurant. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a machine that makes your coffee a few seconds faster. Or you can have fresh flowers delivered once or twice a week.
People prefer beauty and comfort more than speed and power.
People are unlikely to change default settings. So make sure the defaults are optimized for them.
There are good ways and bad ways of doing this. “Click here to NOT receive our weekly spam letter” is a bad way of doing this. It will be effective in the short run, but because people generally don’t like spam, your customers will hate you in the long run.
“Click here to NOT contribute to your retirement plan” is better, because people generally will be happy to have more money for their retirement.
Grocery stores do this with the familiar “Paper or plastic?” The default assumption is you are getting a bag. You have to opt-out of the bag otherwise.
You can’t be tempted by something you can’t see. That’s why cakes and other desserts are displayed under bright lights.
So if you offer an option but keep it hidden, even very crudely, you will find people will do that thing less.
Google moved the candy in their New York office cafeteria from out in the open to opaque jars. Within seven weeks, Googlers had avoided 3.1 million calories of M&M’s alone.
So what unneccsary temptations can you hide this week? And what good things will you shine a bright light on?
Big red buttons work.
They catch the eye and are alluring.
If you need someone to pay attention to something, use a big red button.
If you’re struggling to get walk in visitors to your business, use colors to your advantage.
Pay attention to the colors that surround your business. If you’re street level in an urban jungle, everything is probably shades of gray. If you’re in a suburban environment, there are probably more colors around you.
What you want to do is to put something that will seem somewhat out of place. You don’t have to be over the top; subtle can work. In a hard and grey environment, a red or pink pillow will pop out. In a cheery suburban strip mall, a lot of black will probably catch people’s eyes.