+Scott Watson

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Learn to See Situations Differently - A Lesson from Bernie

An integral part of our role as facilitators is to help delegates see a situation, however emotive, challenging or unattractive, from different angles. This skills is commonly termed 'reframing'.

We often share true stories with delegates on how creating (and maintaining) a strong emotional connection to a situation, or at least, a strong emotional connection to how we perceive it, can cause major problems if we allow it to. Take this recent example:

A Qantas A380 super jumbo flight makes emergency landing due to a component shearing off one of its engines. Not a significant problem perhaps. And if you're a passenger and the calm pilot has advised you that all is in order and that you remain safe, no problem at all perhaps? It's more likely to be a story for your family and pals to enjoy back home.

But, what was identified later by 'experts' was that the component became dislodged from the engine because of what is termed 'faulty manufacturing'. And remember, this is a Rolls Royce engine. The cream of the engineering crop! Experts have advised that the component falling from the engine mounting, whilst not good for PR, didn't actually cause a problem with flight safety. BUT, they did comment that the component smashed into a wing. What's the problem? The wings of a A380 store the kerosine which fuels the aircraft. They are packed with flammable liquid - liquid you really shouldn't consider lighting at 30,000 feet. If the fuel had lit, a fireball would have fallen from the sky. Rather like the ill-fated Space Shuttle incident from the 1990's. An incident which, if some people had done their jobs effectively, would not have happened.

So. You're a passenger on the Qantas A380 above. You disembark and what happens?

- Are you grateful that the incident was 'minor' and that you landed safely? After all, no harm done eh?

- Or, are you filled with panic, anger and resentment that 'I could have been killed because of these lazy, stupid engineers'? (Time to submit that claim for trauma...or insist on the Business Class upgrade).

There's always a different way to look at a situation, if we're willing to do so. Now on to Bernie Ecclestone and a rather creative piece of brand management and product marketing.

SKY News reported that Mr Ecclestone was the victim of a 'mugging' and that his rather exclusive HUBLOT watch was taken by the perpetrators of the crime. And this is when Mr Ecclestone decided that there was a marketing opportunity to be had. He allegedly contacted the watch manufacturer and, as SKY News quote an advertisement was launched showing Mr Ecclestone battered and bruised, accompanied by a tagline of 'See what people will do for a Hublot'.

Fantastic reframing and a lesson in self-promotion and marketing!

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