Just one more thing
The great thing about references is that they work for people who get the reference. If you're not a believer, a Shakespeare enthusiast or a student of the ancient world, chances are that you get a lot of your references from popular culture.
What references do for everyone who gets them is that they either confirm or reassure your basic beliefs (that's the way things are/how the world operates) or help you spot a fellow connoisseur (of movies, books, music or where ever the reference comes from). So, getting a reference or finding your reference known often makes you feel good. It works to normalize things.
Conversely, stating a reference that you seem to be the only one to get, can be awkward. It makes either the audience or you seem out of touch or – worse still – not too clever or at least lacking. It's the very opposite of reassurance. Finally, presenting a reference in the wrong crowd or at the wrong time can get you in serious trouble. Timing and audience are crucial. "You' talkin' to me"?
You see? I just used the world's most famous movie quote to picture a situation that would get you in trouble. But it all makes NO sense, if you never saw "Taxi Driver" and know that the quote is linked to a renegade, crazy killer looking for trouble.
CHANGE MANAGEMENT: "WE MUST DISENTHRALL OURSELVES" Working with complex implementation, business development and innovation – more than anything else, you engage in change management. And change management is HARD. On you especially, if you have the role of change agent. Turning to Machiavelli might provide you ease of mind.
Machiavelli (1469-1527) is famous for his book "The Prince" (Il Principe) on how to exert political power. Though very much a product of his time, Machiavelli is often referred to as the founder of political science. Working for the Medici's he could also be the world’s first spin doctor. Anyway. In chapter 6 of The Prince, he writes:
"... it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new."
So, there you have it: You face either stiff resistance or people play a waiting game to see how you fare. And if this has been true for at least the last 600 years, it's not about you. It's just the way things are.
As for the need to innovate, there is another – equally great – quote from Abraham Lincoln's speech from the second annual meeting of congress in 1862:
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country."
Want to save your country/organization/business? Disenthrall yourselves.
DISRUPTION: "PENGUIN AIRWAYS" Yeah – but why? Business is good. I'm more comfortable with things as they are. Sure.
Remember Kodak? A "Kodak Moment" – as we have mentioned in an earlier blog post – USED to be a great photo opportunity. A photo in which everything comes together. These days, it's the curve of Kodak going out of business. What used to be a slow, linear death is now an inverted and exponential death. Literally falling out of the skies.
Which brings us to The Penguins of Madagascar. Got kids? Or maybe you just love cartoons? In Madagascar 2 – when the penguins are still a sideshow – the airplane they operate is suddenly out of fuel. Skipper makes the announcement:
"Attention. This is your captain speaking. I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that we will be landing immediately. Bad news is: We're crash landing!"
Next thing is a plane falling out of the skies. Management (penguins at the cockpit) having lost control tries to regain it. HR/Communications in 1st class trying to make sense of what's going on and eventually leaving the plane involuntarily. While the rest of the organization in coach fight among themselves helpless as they are to influence the situation. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Don’t want to do a Kodak moment or simulate "Penguin Airways"? Don't want your business to fall straight out of the skies? Get moving.
WILL IT WORK: "SHOW… ME… THE MONEY!" I've never actually seen the movie "Jerry McGuire".
But I know that look on a decisionmaker's face, when he/she looks up from the Excel sheet and – despite their appreciation for focussing on "cultural change" when it comes to "digital transformation" – but really just wants one thing: "SHOW. ME. THE MONEY!"
If you show the money, you'll make it easy for yourself. No matter what the idea is.
Can we show YOU the money. Yes we can!
Obama made that his slogan for his first presidential campaign – "yes, we can". Ronald Reagan once stated that "status quo is just Latin for the mess we're in". His campaign manager, Lee Atwater stated that "perception IS reality". When the late George H.W. Bush (RIP) was defeated by Bill Clinton, the latter attacked Bush on the economy: "It's the economy, stupid".
SHOW. ME. THE MONEY!
JUST ONE MORE THING That's why we wrote this. Cause it's a quote you see. From Columbo – a detective from the 1970es series starring Peter Falk as the somewhat scruffy and understated homicide detective Columbo. But there is more than meets the (glass)eye and he always gets the criminals.
The reference links to when the killer believes that he or she is off the hook. An impossible circumstance seems to rule them out as perpetrator – they expect to walk away scot free. Then – usually on his way out – Columbo makes this "I-just-remembered"-gesture and utters "just one more thing…". Game over. Case solved.
Fans of Apple and iconic founder Steve Jobs will know that he used to say the exact words "just one more thing" at the end of his presentations. Usually presenting a MAJOR capability update, great new product or something out of the ordinary. Chances are that he made Columbo's words his own and used them to create the same element of surprise.
As do we :)
You talking to me?
Sir Ken Robinson - Lincoln quote and explanation from 5:00 onwards
Penguin Airways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bumx4AerJUQ
Jerry McGuire, show me the money:
Peter Falk accepting an Emmy for Columbo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8TUSsqWCTM
Steve Jobs saying "just one more thing"