The best kept secret in business – – really – – that the nation’s top business schools are keeping from you is that all management issues can be solved through the use of quadrants. Really, all of them.
This introduces Quadrant Corner, which will periodically shed light on how you can better understand some of the thorniest, as well as some of the most obvious, issues – – simply through the use of quadrants.
The best quadrants have two axes, where the resulting intersections have meaningful insights.
We promise to not bother you with stars or barnyard animal nicknames or anything like that. That stuff is yesterday’s news. And we definitely won’t use things that look like quadrants but are really just a way to stuff related ideas into a box to look more profound (and charge higher consulting fees). Like the annoying SWOT chart – – which is just 4 semi-related ideas smashed together in a graphic. Cha-ching!
We begin with the inspiration of music.
As someone who periodically plays music to get fellow old people to dance, I can tell you that the party song list is really important. Every song must either be something danceable or something familiar – – and the best songs qualify in both categories (songs that have neither attribute are a quick trip to a short party).
You need to jam the list with upper-right songs that everyone knows well enough to sing or air-guitar along with while they spill their G & Ts while unwittingly doing great Elaine imitations.
It’s fine to throw in the occasional the danceable but less universally known songs – – your Beck, your Skrillex – -but don’t overdo it. Similarly, fine to mix in a few stadium songs or ballads or Bohemian Rhapsody – – but don’t let your crowd get too comfortable.
The quadrant above shows the relationship between the appeal to the group (danceability) and the need to minimize effort (familiarity).
The same theory could apply to implementation of new business practices (I know, I know – – just stay with me for a minute). In a business context, appeal to the group is changed from can you dance to it to ‘what’s in it for me’ – – the expectation that the outcome of orientation/ training will be immediately beneficial (more $, greater chance for promotion, less tedium, etc).
On the other axis, the ‘required effort’ measure is defined as ease of putting the new approach into practice. Like familiar songs, it’s comfortable to attend training where the concepts are easy and there’s a catered lunch. However, a steady diet of familiarity – – or in this case, ‘fun’ training – – with no substantial hope of personal benefit, may be a welcome break from the routine, but is not a good long-term proposition.
So thanks for reading this first Quadrant Corner. We need to check out now, to refresh ourselves on the deep learning of those well-regarded consultants EW&F. Their first and most critical guiding principle: never, under any circumstances, succumb to pressure to play ‘Celebration’.