It’s Foodie Friday so let’s begin with one of my favorite quotes from Emerson – a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. While Emerson was talking about a fear to change one’s views based on new information, I thought of it in the context of a review of Shake Shack in the NY Times Dining section this week. The reviewer had mostly good things to say about the chain but his primary complaint was the subhead of the article – Shake Shack struggles with inconsistency.
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You see, in the food business, consistency is never foolish – the quality of the food served and of the service delivered needs to be at the same standard each and every time. In this case, some of the burgers were perfect while others were “cooked to the color of wet newsprint, inside and out, and salted so meekly that eating it was as satisfying as hearing a friend talk about a burger his cousin ate.”
What does this have to do with your business? Continue reading
Before John Adams became President of these United States (at the time, the job didn’t exist!), he was a lawyer. One of his more notable cases was a defense of some soldiers who participated in The Boston Massacre. During the trial, he uttered one of my favorite quotes, and one of which I want to remind us all today. Maybe it’s all the rhetoric ramping up as we enter the heart of the political season or maybe it’s a discussion I was having with someone about a business point. Either way, it’s a thought all of us need to keep in mind:
Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
I’m sure you’ve seen deleted tweets or Facebook photos that have come back to haunt people – facts rearing their ugly heads. Maybe you’ve seen a piece of videotape that directly contradicts some politician’s assertion of a statement they made (or didn’t make). Maybe you’ve also taken the time to check out the “facts” in a news piece, sales presentation, or a co-worker’s excuse for sub-par performance. I wish more of us did and I wish the noise level wasn’t so high as to drown out the credible sources of information. They’re out there – it’s on us to find them.
President Reagan tried to quote Adams in 1988 and said “facts are stupid things” – he may have been more right than he knew in that it seems to have set a tone for much of the world that’s come after. Nevertheless, I think the single most important thing we as businesspeople can do (and as good citizens, frankly) is to be relentless in our pursuit of them. Be as stubborn as they are!
Today’s rant is based on the results of a Harris Interactive study concerning how the public feels about corporations. Actually, it’s pretty specific when it comes to individual corporate reputations and I think the results are kind of grim. Let’s see what you think. You can read the summary document of the study here and I think it’s worth a few minutes of your time. As with most research, what’s meaningful isn’t so much where the results indicate corporate reputation is at any particular point in time but what the trend lines indicate over time. In this case, they indicate that the public is paying attention, and it reminds me of Mark Antony‘s speech in Julius Caesar: “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.” Continue reading