Grow Your Business By Killing Uncertainty

An interesting article from Chip and Dan Heath about how people hate ambiguity, the thought experiments that illustrate people’s aversion to it, and how to turn ambiguity into action.

So what? Take this example from Tesco’s:

Good leaders excel at converting something ambiguous into something behavioral. Take Terry Leahy, one of the leaders responsible for reversing the fortunes of Tesco, now the U.K.’s No. 1 grocer. One of Tesco’s ambiguous goals was to do a better job “listening to customers.” Leahy broke down that goal into a set of specific actions. For instance, cashiers were trained to call for help anytime more than one person was waiting in the checkout line. In addition, Tesco received 100,000 queries per week from customers. Leahy’s team made sure that all Tesco managers had access to customer concerns. (If you want to listen to customers, you had better make sure your managers can hear what they’re saying.) As a result, they learned counterintuitive lessons, such as that customers dislike stainless-steel refrigerators, which remind people of a hospital — not an ideal association for a grocer.

To convert strategy into action, decompose your goals into specific, doable actions. If you can see, hear, or feel the result of the action you’ve probably got it.