Why we do stupid things that don’t work

There was a 4 years old girl who liked to watch her mother cook. One day the mother decided to fry a fish for lunch. They have bought a beautiful, fresh see fish on the market, brought it home, washed, put it on the chopping board and then the woman chopped its head and tail off.

„Why did you just chop those off?“ asked the girl. I mean – she was constantly asking about everything, but this question sounded like the one she’d really like to get the answer to.

„Hm“… mumbled her mother and raised here eyebrows just a little bit. „To be honest, dear, I don’t know. My mom did so and I do, too. Maybe you could ask her why she was doing it.“

The little girl quickly grabbed her mother’s cell phone and speed-dialed her Granny’s number. After a few polite sentences about the weather and the kindergarter, little girl asked: „Granny, why do you chop the tale and the head off of the fish when you fry it?“, but the answer was the same as before: „Oh, dear! I haven’t really thought why I do that! I must have seen my mother prepare the fish that way! Maybe we could ask her, what do you think?“

The little girl was not completely satisfied, but still hoped that the final answer will, eventually, come.

„Yes, please, ask her! Right now! Pleeease!“ she said with her delicate feminine voice.

„Okay – wait a minute! She’s sitting on the porch!“ said Granny and obviously started to walk, since the girl heard some strange sounds in the telephone.

After a few moments, the girl heard Granny’s voice: „Darling, are you still there?“

„Yes, yes, I’m here!“, said the girl impatiently.

„Well, I’ve asked your grand-grandma why she used to chop off the head and the tail. And gues what?“ said the Granny with a smile on her face. „She did it only because she used to have a frying pan that was very, very small!“

End of the story. Got the point?

Now – I can tell you that we, Retailers, often behave as those women – we do some things that don’t make sense just because those things used to be done that way. We never ask ourselves – can it be done differently? Is it really the optimal way of doing it? I mean – come on – its 21st Century, for God’s sake!

Let’s take the Sales People training as an example. How do most of us still do it? By telling people what to do. In the classroom, or on the Sales floor – same thing! We do it randomelly. Or even don’t do it at all for several months in a row! We take outsourced trainers. Or we use internal ones. Whatever the methodology – we all know that the oldfashioned way of doing it doesn’t work. It doesn’t bring what we expect, not to mention the Return on Investment!

So the result of our work is still the same – non motivated personell, HUGE losts due to missed sales opportunities, our money stuck on some warehouse shelves and enormous churn rate among Sales People (up to 100%).

People, come on! Isn’t it time to buy a larger pan?