Tag Archives: Dan Heath

Do You Need to Make Decisions More Effectively and Efficiently?

We have an excellent workshop to help you and your organization make better decisions.  The title of our program reflects the tone very well – “DARE TO BE DECISIVE.”

The workshop is based upon the best-selling book by Dan and Skip Heath entitled Decisive:  How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Crown, 2013).  Many people may be aware of what the book says about doing this, but yet, have never participated in any activities to transform those principles into practice.

This highly affordable program contains summaries of the key points from their book, along with numerous practical activities that will enhance your ability to make strong decisions more effectively and efficiently.

Randy Mayeux is the lead facilitator, and he presented the original synopsis of the book several years ago.

The on-site workshop lasts just three hours, and we have facilitated this for several companies and non-profit organizations.  The facilitation fee allows  you to bring as many participants as you wish, and the only other fee is for per-person materials.  We are happy to provide you with references from participants who have already completed this.

For more information and details, simply send an e-Mail with any questions you might have to:  .  Or, you can call at (972) 601-1537. 

We look forward to working with you to be more decisive!







Amazon’s Secret – Make it Easy; Make it Fast; Make it Insanely Convenient

I am a convert.  As I have written before, I now buy most of my books (all that are available digitally) on Amazon’s Kindle App for my iPad.  I get my protein bars though Amazon.  I get my ink for my printer from Amazon.  And a whole lot more.  And my experience on Amazon has made me a more energetic, frequent on-line shopper from other outlets (stores).  And, with my Amazon Prime purchase, I get practically everything in two days.

And it is about to get faster.

I have written before about our growing desire/demand for no hassles! (quoting Frank Luntz):  We Really Don’t Like Hassles — So, our Agenda: Create “Hassle Free”.  And after I presented Switch:  How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, a participant at our First Friday Book Synopsis said to me:  “Here’s what that book said.  You’ve got to make the change convenient – you’ve got to make everything convenient.”

Well, Amazon is about to really up the bar on the convenience competition for customers.

We first learned this from Netflix.  Their business became more convenient (more convenient than the many, many minutes it took to drive to the local Blockbuster, and browse the shelves).  Netflix took off when it became highly likely that you could get your DVD in the mail the day after you ordered it.   Convenience! – the day after!  (Blockbuster is now bankrupt, by the way).  And now, of course, on Netflix you can watch your movie or TV show immediately, streamed onto your computer or your iPad or your iPhone or your Apple TV.

Amazon Fulfillment Center

Well, today, Slate.com reminds us that Amazon has matched the Netflix convenience model on practically everything.  They are on the verge of providing same-day delivery for most of the country.  SAME-DAY DELIVERY FOR THE WIN!  This truly is the win in the Super Bowl of the convenience league.  As usual, it is the Slate writer Farhad Manjoo who makes this so understandable in his article I Want It Today:  How Amazon’s ambitious new push for same-day delivery will destroy local retail.

Mr. Manjoo describes how Amazon has quietly been making many of its deliveries, promised to Amazon Prime customers in two days, in just one day.  A convenience surprise!  Now, it is about to raise the bar even higher.  Partly prompted by the loss of their “no sales tax” advantage (we started paying Amazon our sales taxes in Texas this month), Amazon is getting ready to do provide “fulfillment” even faster.

From the article:

If Amazon can send me stuff overnight for free without a distribution center nearby, it’s not hard to guess what it can do once it has lots of warehouses within driving distance of my house. Instead of surprising me by getting something to me the next day, I suspect that, over the next few years, next-day service will become its default shipping method on most of its items. Meanwhile it will offer same-day service as a cheap upgrade. For $5 extra, you can have that laptop waiting for you when you get home from work. Wouldn’t you take that deal?
I bet you would. Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn’t look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you’d always go with the “instant gratification” of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn’t really “instant”—it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that’s even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?

So, here is the lesson for your business.  Make it easy.  Make it fast.  Make it insanely convenient.  This is the level of customer service that we will all come to expect.

Amazon will force us all to make it easier, make it faster, make it even more insanely convenient.  And if we fall too far behind, well…  we will be left behind.

Getting the Basics Right (Like Communication, and Team Building) – It is Still, and Always, Hard To Do

Getting the steps right is proving brutally hard, even if you know them.
Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto


This week, I am presenting synopses of Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath and Tribal Leadership:  Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization, both to law enforcement professionals.  (And my colleague Karl Krayer is presenting another book on communication at the same gathering).


Because, these professionals, like so many others in practically every arena, deal with these two problems:

#1 – how to build, and maintain, effective teams.

#2 – how to communicate, clearly and effectively, to everyone on the team (and to those outside the team).

The more I speak, the more I listen, the more I “consult,” the more I realize this challenge.  It is not a new challenge, it is not a modern challenge.  It is an old challenge.

We don’t get the basics right.

Team building, communication – these are basics.  And after countless books and training seminars on both, we still have unclear communication and ineffective, dysfunctional teams.

My counsel to you – keep working on both of these.  Pay attention to your team members.  Pay careful attention to your spoken and written communications.  Do you listen, and encourage, and include, and support each one of your team members?  Are your e-mails clear – do you put your sentences together effectively?  Do you speak clearly?

Build Teams.  Communicate clearly and effectively.  These are two of the basics we just have to get right.

The Ebook, The Myth of the Garage, by the Heath Brothers – For Free!

by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

News Flash:  You can get a free copy of The Myth of the Garage by Chip Heath and Dan Heath from the Kindle Store at Amazon.


This is really interesting.

And I like it.  And not just because it is free.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I like reading on the Kindle App on my iPad.  The features – a search button, a click which takes you to the Table of Contents, the highlighting feature, the fact that you can view all of your highlights (and with a little work, can copy and paste them into a Word document) — are all just wonderful, and genuinely useful to a serious book reader.  The Kindle app is a great tool.

And reading on the iPad, in a “book format,” is so much easier that clicking through to essay after essay on the web.  For example, wouldn’t it be great to have all of Malcolm Gladwell’s essays (most of which are archived at his web site, Gladwell.com), in one ebook?  Yes, it would.

Now the future has just arrived in the first such volume (that I know about — there could be others).

Chip and Dan Heath are terrific authors.  The brothers Heath wrote Made to Stick, and Switch, both of which I have presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  They also have written a number of essays for the magazine Fast Company.  I have not read most of these.

But I’ve read a bunch of them now.  Because they are compiled, all together, in a free ebook available through the Kindle store.

And, yes, some of these essays are terrific.

The Heath brothers, with terrific essays, all on one place, in an easy-to-read-and-highlight ebook.  Is this heaven?

(By the way, this one was free, but there is a real market for these.  I would gladly pay a Kindle price for all of the Gladwell essays, or the Gawande essays, or so many others, to have them in one volume).

Order it now for your Kindle, or your Kindle app.  “Buy” it (for free) here.


Here’s a quick take on The Myth of the Garage, that I found here.

From Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, comes The Myth of the Garage: And Other Minor Surprises, a collection of the authors’ best columns for Fast Company magazine – 16 pieces in all, plus a previously unpublished piece entitled “The Future Fails Again.”

In Myth, the Heath brothers tackle some of the most (and least) important issues in the modern business world:

  • Why you should never buy another mutual fund (“The Horror of Mutual Funds”)
  • Why your gut may be more ethical than your brain (“In Defense of Feelings”)
  • How to communicate with numbers in a way that changes decisions (“The Gripping Statistic”)
  • Why the “Next Big Thing” often isn’t (“The Future Fails Again”)
  • Why you may someday pay $300 for a pair of socks (“The Inevitability of $300 Socks”)
  • And 12 others . . .

Punchy, entertaining, and full of unexpected insights, the collection is the perfect companion for a short flight.

Second Life, Google+ and the Very Rough Road to Successful New (or Sort-Of-New) Endeavors

On Slate.com today, there is a post mortem on Second Life, and a pre-mortem on the “doomed” Google+.  The authors are the Heath Brothers (the Second Life piece: Why Second Life Failed), and Farhad Manjoo (the Google+ take down: Google+ Is Dead).  So, what do we learn?  (By the way, I am a big fan of both the Heath brothers and Farhad Manjoo).

Regarding Second Life, the Heath Brothers say that it is simply a product with no actual job to do.  And for a product to succeed, you need an actual job to do.

What job is it (Second Life) designed to do? Most successful innovations perform a clear duty. When we craved on-the-go access to our music collections, we hired the iPod. When we needed quick and effective searches, we hired Google. And looking ahead, it’s easy to see the job that Square will perform: giving people an easy, inexpensive way to collect money in the offline world.
But what “job” did Second Life perform? It was like a job candidate with a fascinating résumé—fluent in Finnish, with stints in spelunking and trapeze—but no actual labor skills.  

Regarding Google+, Manjoo says that it simply was not, and still is not, “cool” enough (my word).

by failing to offer people a reason to keep coming back to the site every day, Google+ made a bad first impression. And in the social-networking business, a bad first impression spells death.
…a social network needs a critical mass of people to be successful—the more people it attracts, the more people it attracts.
…Google+, by contrast, never managed to translate its initial surge into lasting enthusiasm. And for that reason, it’s surely doomed.

I don’t know a lot about the people behind Second Life, but, regarding Google+, it is safe to say that Google is a true behemoth.  But even Google can not guarantee success against another behemoth, one that people are happy with already (Facebook).

So, what are the lessons?  Here are a few:  a “cool” idea must still serve a purpose by doing a job that people want/need to be able to do.  And, it’s good to remember that to succeed with a new idea is always a tough assignment.  And, if you are truly one-of-a-kind, a less-than-stellar first impression might be survivable, but when you are competing against an established giant, a bad first impression is probably insurmountable.

These two examples fit in the overall history of innovation and “new, new things.”  Netscape gave us our first browser, but did not endure.  MySpace gave us our first “Facebook,” but has disappeared in the rear-view mirror.  Palm Pilot was a wonder, but my iPhone does everything my Palm Pilot did, only better, and without a stylus.  (No stylus! – Steve Jobs insisted).

{By the way, I still have my Palm Pilot.  Do you know what I do with it?  When I am utterly exhausted, too tired to read, but not quite ready to fall asleep, I pull it out and play Solitaire.   I connect with my iPhone, I play Solitaire on my Palm Pilot.  That pretty much says it all…}

The world would be worse off if the Google+ and the Second Life efforts had not been attempted.  We need a lot of new ideas, a lot of new products, a lot of “copycats,” to help us choose the best and lasting products that fill our lives.  Remember, when the automobile was ramping up, there were a lot of car company hopefuls.  Only the best survived.

But, once you “make it,” you’d better keep tweaking and making it even better.  Because, in a garage somewhere, someone is hard at work to put you out of business.

We Eat What We’ve Always Eaten – Subtle Change vs. Massive Innovation; Maybe it Depends on the Industry

We are what we eat, so they say.  And, here’s the really interesting/surprising/not-so-surprising news.  We eat what we have been eating, over the very long haul.  Here are a number of excerpts regarding the 25th anniversary of the study of what we eat, from Sylvia Rector (Detroit Free Press): Trendy though we think we are, pop, burgers and fries still No. 1.

As founder and director of the NPD Group’s annual Eating Patterns in America study, Harry Balzer probably knows more about what we eat than anyone else in the country.
So when Chicago-based NPD announced that this was the study’s 25th anniversary, I called Balzer to find out what he considered the biggest changes in our eating habits in the past quarter century.
“In the long run,” he says, “the top three foods we ordered in 1978, when I first started — were (in order) carbonated soft drinks, french fries and hamburgers.
“And yesterday, the top three foods we ordered at restaurants were carbonated soft drinks, hamburgers and french fries. … We’ve changed so much!” he joked.

What we eat: Pop, Burgers, and Fries

So, where is the change?  Primarily, it is found not in the “what,” but in the “where.”  We get our “staples” from different places. Again, from the article:

We still order all those burgers and fries, but new players keep arriving to sell them. The fastest-growing restaurant chain in America, Balzer says, is Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which didn’t open its first store until 1986.
As he puts it, “It’s not whether you’ll eat pizza or not eat pizza, but about what brand of pizza you’ll eat.”
We’re so predictable, he adds, “I already know that in 2020, the things we’ll order most in restaurants will be soft drinks, hamburgers and fries,” even though he can’t say now where we’ll buy them.

The column concludes with this, which is reminiscent of findings in Switch:  How To Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath:

The force of habit is indeed strong — something to remember if you, like me, are planning to change the way you eat in the new year.