The Saying Vs. Doing Conundrum

Foodie Friday! Today I want to build on something discovered by the folks at The Hartman Group.

English: A common variety of gorp (trail mix) ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They have a site called HartmanSalt (which is not a site about ways to increase your blood pressure). They conduct regular surveys about food and food consumption.  I was checking out something on snacking which triggered a business thought.

As the results show, Americans love to snack.  We consume 2.3 snacks per day on average.  This tends to happen later in the day and generally at home.  What triggered the business thought were the next two data points.  57% of the respondents in the survey said it is important or very important  for the food and/or beverages to be healthy.  However the two most often mentioned snack foods are chips and soda. What we say doesn’t always align with what we do and that’s an important thing to remember in business.

That dichotomy is one of the things we find in focus groups – the things in which people express interest are not necessarily the things they’ll buy. Having done a few of them as a part of designing and building web sites, how users tell you they’ll use something and what they actually do as you observe them can be very different.   It’s a point we see in management all the time.  How managers say they behave and how they actually do are often out of sync.  No manager, for example, will tell you that they mistreat employees and they say that they always are there for their staffs.  Ask the folks on the other end if that’s true.

I’ve had friends who couldn’t understand why they were fat.  They said they ate carefully and watched their portions.  When they started keeping a food log (and there are some great apps for that!) they found out that what they said vs. what they did was showing up in their larger pant size.  It’s something all of us in business need to think about – are we listening to what people say or are we verifying it against what they really do?  How are we handling the conundrum the difference between the two?  That solution is often the key to success.

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Filed under food, Reality checks

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