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23 Jun 2011

Kitchens & A Lesson in Problem Solving

High-end retailers are expecting us to spend more money on our kitchens even though we are spending less time in them. Why? Cooking is slowly transforming from a necessary activity to a leisure one (see the article “The Joy of Not Cooking” by Megan McArdle in the May 2011 edition of The Atlantic). People are not cooking out of necessity but out of desire. There are many alternatives to cooking such as dining out and prepared foods.

So, here is the lesson in problem solving:

We can alter a problem simply by altering how people feel about it; thus, we create additional potential solutions.

Marketers, advertisers and merchandisers know that if they can alter our preferences through education or branding, new markets for existing products and existing markets for new products open.

If this holds true in these disciplines, why can’t this be true:

If we can change how employees feel about their employers and work, we can create additional potential solutions to our business problems.

So, posed as two questions we arrive at these:

  1. If we could change how people feel in a way we would like, what potential solutions come into play?
  2. What must we do to change their feelings?

In one post, we saw how we could change the interpretation of a message simply by changing feelings. In another, we saw how simple gestures by company executives change feelings and performance. Finally, we saw the problems that arise when employees have bad feelings for employers.

Thus, if people’s feelings for their kitchens can open up new opportunities even when traditional perspectives of the statistics indicate gloom, imagine the opportunities that would avail us if people’s feelings changed at our businesses.

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