The color of a cow and the number of legs of a cat


Photo by Robyn Gallagher

Are you a three leeged purple manager?

Look at the picture. It is a cat. like many other cats. So, why was it pictured? Mind you, people take photos of their cat (or pets in general). But this a street cat, like many others. So, why did somebody felt the urge to take this photo? If you read the explanation, you discover that it was photographed because it only had three legs but could still move in great speed. in other words, it was remarkable.

I am a keen believer in many of the ideas of Seth Godin. One of them, which he writes about a lot, is that businesses need to be remarkable. He wrote a book called the purple cow. The idea is simple. If you drive in the country you see a lot of cows. You don’t even notice them. Cows are boring. But, what would happen if there was a purple cow on the side of the road. Than you would stop, you would take pictures and most importantly, you would tell your friends. Because if it is remarkable, we want to remark about it.

Today I read two stories about restaurants that use this idea in a different way. One, in Freakonomics, is about oneworldcafe, where you pay the amount you want for a dish which size is determined by you. The concept is not only remarkable, but it applies to another important human trait – we want to feel that we are treated fairly. If we feel that way, we are willing to pay more (in actual money or other valuables – time, labour etc.).

Second, in Jon Gordon’s blog, you can read a story about restaurants that give Gordon “whatever he wants“. If someone goes the extra mile for us, to the point that we feel he is doing us a sort of a favour, we feel in debt, and we are willing to pay more.

Lower costs is not the only strategy. Remarkable service is always better.

What does all of this say about our managing style. which managers do you remember? The regular ones or the ones that did remarkable things, including, matching your tasks to your abilities and asking you – what do you need in order to excel…?

So, as yourself – are you a three leeged purple manager?


One Response to “The color of a cow and the number of legs of a cat”

  1. If it isn’t broken - break it, if it is broken - ask somebody how to fix it « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] on purpose” – this is a point Godin makes all the time, especially in his book “purple cow“. In order for something to succussed, it needs to be remarkable, meaning that people will […]

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