Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

Walking Around the Mountain

A friend sent me a list of quotes he thought I might find interesting.  While they were interesting, I also found at the bottom of the page a small print, two-line saying that really spiked my interest.  The two lines were not really a part of the list of quotes.  It was just a saying that the person sending the quotes always puts at the bottom of his emails.  The two lines were as follows:
When You Change the Way You Look at Things,
    The Things You Look at Change
As a researcher, I have always felt that in order to understand anything, you had to look at it from different perspectives.  It is something I firmly believe and a concept I have always pushed.  Even my Springboard Class at the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) insisted that our graduation picture not be just one photograph but three taken from different angles.  In 1980 when I left the Paper Division to take over management of the Package Soap HPT Group, the people in the Paper Group gave me as a parting gift, a framed picture of the group.  The picture was a little unusual.  If you looked at it from the front, you saw the faces of the group.  If you turned it around, however, you saw a picture of the same group from the rear.  The pint of view does make a difference.

How often do we get out from behind our desks and look at the world from a different perspective?  How are our products being shipped, stored in the warehouses, handled in the back rooms of the stores, displayed on the store shelves, and handled by the consumer?  In the home, where is the product stored and how is it used?  All of these points of activity affect how the product performs and how the user sees the product.  All of these points are physical interactions of our product and the environment.

Beyond the physical, we have the psychological environment.  It is not just the consumer's thoughts, images and experiences that we should be concerned with.  We should be aware of how the thinking of the buyers, store managers and stock clerks affect our business.  For instance, in the early 1980s, I set up a program within P&G to study the P&G image and the effects of the image among major store change managers.  The major portion of the program involved P&G Sales Management participating in two-on-one discussions with store managers.  The store managers were told that we were consultants who were in the process of developing a program to be used in training corporate managers how to effectively deal with the retail trade.  The discussions were eye opening to say the least for the P&G Managers.  In many respects, the comments were very uncomplimentary for P&G while in some cases they were complimentary.  One of the immediate steps that the P&G Managers could take to improve their relationship with the trade, related to their damage product exchange policy.

By mutual agreement it was decided that the report of the program was not to reach Corporate Management.  Without this agreement, I dod not think we would have ever completed this very successful program.  We went into the program with the expressed purpose of identifying problems, which we did in spades.

It was all about looking at all sides of the issue with all the different eyes involved while removing the barriers to full cooperation.

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