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Change What Needs Changing...Not What's Easy

Change What Needs Changing...Not What's Easy

Find a real problem. Don't beat around bush. Before we build a better mousetrap, we need to find out if there are any mice out there.

Gurpreet Singh
Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.
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A few years ago, British Rail had a real fall-off in business. Looking for marketing answers, they went searching for a new ad agency — one that could deliver an ad campaign that would bring their customers back. When the British Rail executives went to the offices of a prominent London ad agency to discuss their needs, they were met by a very rude receptionist, who insisted that they wait. Finally, an unkempt person led them to a conference room — a dirty, scruffy room cluttered with plates of stale food. The executives were again left to wait.

A few agency people drifted in and out of the room, basically ignoring the executives who grew impatient by the minute. When the execs tried to ask what was going on, the agency people brushed them off and went about their work. Eventually, the execs had enough.

As they angrily started to get up, completely disgusted with the way they’d been treated, one of the agency people finally showed up.“Gentlemen,” he said, “your treatment here at our Agency is not typical of how we treat our clients. In fact, we've gone out of our way to stage this meeting for you. We behaved this way to point out to you what it’s like to be a customer of British Rail. Your real problem at British Rail isn't your advertising, it’s your people. We suggest you let us address your employee attitude problem before we attempt to change your advertising.”

The British Rail executives were shocked — but the agency got the account!

The agency had the remarkable conviction to point out the problem because it knew exactly what needed to change. As Yogi Berra once said, “Before we build a better mousetrap, we need to find out if there are any mice out there.” Change what needs changing...not what's easy.


Contributed By Gurpreet Singh

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Harry Gavin Content Writer & Dropout by Choice

It's a human tendency to beat around the bush and not focusing on the real issue. This reminds me about a story of an engineer who charged $100 for just putting a hammer on a machine lever. When confronted by factory owner that your fee for hammer should be just $1, why are your asking so much. His reply was, "My charge is $1 for the hammer and $99 for identifying where to use it."

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