"Carr-Michael helped us think clearly about our business and how to develop it. They rolled their sleeves up, asked key questions and made us think, before pulling it all together into a practical plan. Carr–Michael has been excellent value and a real help."

Owner & Director, Forestry company

The Taste Of Envelopes


It’s a simple rallying cry. We hear it often enough in business and in our daily lives: “keep it simple”. At the same time we are pushed to be innovative, to be different.

Too often we make life more complicated than needed. But winners in business regularly do the opposite. They have unusual ways of looking at problems and opportunities. They focus on the achievable. They keep it simple. They make it happen consistently despite the day to day problems. They focus on what’s important to the customer both for the “product” and how it’s produced.

Too often it seems we get embroiled in the details that in truth, only we in the company appreciate – most customers don’t see the subtleties that we take as critical. The result? We all too easily end up adding costs on phantom benefits that our customers do not value. We get caught up in the importance of our own working lives and forget we have one mission: to provide our customers and prospects with the best overall value proposition on the market – however your target buyers define it.

Recessions give us the chance to stop and double check. To make sure that we are adding real value...customer value that supports better margins and drives sustainable revenues. But we’ve got to be careful. We can’t rely on old style thinking to respond competitively to new style views of customer value. If we do, we end up going down the same old route: marginal improvements in a market needing step changes in value.

This doesn’t mean old style thinking is bunk. It does mean it has its place and it needs to be supported by fresh thinking. Fresh ideas come from open minds and inquisitive thoughts. They also come from quirky thinking and odd ball thoughts which often generate the breakthrough ideas that lead to new products or new ways of solving problems.

There are plenty of methods, tools and techniques available generally for increasing your company’s creative thinking. The key is to use them regularly and effectively.

The Taste of Envelopes
In the great film Two Weeks Notice the main characters are played by Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. Grant plays the front man for a business run by his profit focussed brother. Grant’s character has a great title, is great at making speeches and is the “face” of the company. Bullock plays his nemesis - a civil rights lawyer, taking the moral high ground and saving the world.

In a twist of fate Bullock starts to work for Grant as the company’s legal counsel. Grant has a major issue to be resolved and goes around the office seeking input. The issue – which of two types of envelope should he adopt for his correspondence? As the Boss asked them, most people in the business check out the weight, the colour, the style and whether not it is produced ethically and give him their thoughts.
Bullock is asked her opinion. She looks incredulous. Why should she be asked something so mundane when real people have real issues to be resolved?
But she is pressed for an answer. She sees no difference between the envelopes and says so.
But she is pressed even further. She picks up each envelope and licks them. She makes an instant choice based on taste.
Simple. Practical. Beneficial. Unique.
The ability to see value and keep focused on the important should be a core skill in business.
Make sure you have some.