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Senior Money Memos

DO YOU HAVE AN INTERNET MINDSET?

INTRODUCTION

We are all different. We have different life experiences, different educations and different likes and dislikes. We all see things differently. What we sometimes forget is that how we see things affects how we think about things. The Internet is having a major effect on the way societies function. How any of us reacts to this changing world is determined by our mindset. With an inappropriate mindset, we may take wrong decisions or decisions that are less than optimal. This article explores the implications of these issues on the way individuals take decisions and how businesses perform.

WHAT IS A MINDSET?

The way each of us looks out on the world is conditioned by our individual mindsets. What exactly is a mindset? Perhaps if it was spelt like this, Mind-SET, you may begin to understand an inherent problem with mindsets.

Here is one definition you'll find on the web:

MINDSET - A person's frame of reference that is fixed. A person can have a particular "mindset" that is so strong in a specific outlook that they do not see other perspectives, even though they might hear them and believe they have been given consideration. This prevents looking at new options in a realistic sense.

It comes from a Glossary of Definitions of Selected Futures Terms from the University of Arizona.

The potential problem of different individuals having different mindsets is accentuated by another phenomenon related to intelligence.

THE INTELLIGENCE TRAP

The concept of the Intelligence Trap was developed by Edward de Bono, one of the early creativity gurus and the inventor of the term 'lateral thinking'. He pointed out that intelligence and thinking are not the same. As he explained it:

A highly intelligent person may have a certain view on a subject and use his or her thinking just to support that view. This is done with arguments that make a great deal of sense. The more able a thinker is to support a point of view, the less inclined is that thinker to explore other points of view. Since the original point of view may be based on prejudice or habit, this failure to explore the subject is bad thinking.

By choosing our values and our perceptions, we can support almost any view we like. The only protection we have against fooling ourselves is the ability to explore other views. Sometimes the intelligent person is subconsciously trapped into one point of view by his or her ready ability to defend that view. Others may be intimidated and shrink from debating with the highly intelligent person.

So unless a highly intelligent person is aware of this trap, he or she may stay with a mindset that does not adjust for changing circumstances. No one else may wish, or even dare, to try to convince that person that his or her mindset is inappropriate.

See end of article for references on the Intelligence Trap.

THE INTERNET AS A DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Most people would acknowledge that the Internet is a powerful factor in modern life. I would class it as a disruptive technology. The term was coined by Clayton M. Christensen and introduced in his 1995 article Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave. Disruptive Technology is defined as a new technological innovation, product, or service that eventually overturns the existing dominant technology in the market. So perhaps the printing press or television could be viewed as disruptive technologies. By comparison the Internet is much more disruptive and as yet the effects are only partially seen.

The other important aspect here is that the Internet might appear fairly simple to understand, but in reality it is immensely complex.

Perhaps another way of putting this in context is to compare the Internet with other major societal changes. By now everyone is concerned about climate change or global warming. We all understand that this will have a major impact on the way societies and economies evolve. Rest assured that the effects of the Internet on societies and economies will be of comparable magnitude.

DO YOU HAVE AN INTERNET MINDSET?

Can you relate to the things that have been said above? .. or does it all seem a little far-fetched? Perhaps your mindset is blinding you to what is really going on. Below you will find a set of choices that may help you to understand whether you have a mindset that fully comprehends the Internet or whether you are still seeing everything with a pre-Internet mindset. For each choice, select the answer that seems most appropriate to you. Only you will see the result, so be honest. There are no wrong answers. If you have trouble selecting between the two, then leave the default choice of Not Sure. When you have finished your selections, click the button to display your score.

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DO YOU HAVE AN INTERNET MINDSET?

This table requires the use of Javascript. Thanks to Yannis of Cre8asite Forums for help on this.

FactorChoice ANot
Sure
Choice B
Are There Barriers To Market Entry? Big companies are invincible It's a level playing field
The Best Company Strategy Is? Product Driven Customer-centric
The Best Marketing Media Is? Traditional media Internet is more powerful
Corporate Communications Are Best Handled As? More of a Dialogue One-way from Corporation
How Open Should Companies Be? Reticence is allowable Transparency is required
Which PR Approach For Negative Events? Suppress and keep hidden Proactive Response is necessary
Who Has Most Power? Individuals Big Companies or Agencies
Which Type Of Marketing Is More Powerful? Internet Marketing Direct Marketing
Who Has Most Power? Sellers Buyers
For Customers, Getting Information Is? Easy Difficult
The More Effective Marketing Is? Push Marketing Pull Marketing
The Internet Is? Just another medium like TV A society change mechanism
Most Visitors Come To Your Website By? Searching with Google Using a link (URL)
Connections Between Individuals Are? Easy Difficult
Who Creates Most Content On The Web? Entities like Companies Users (Individuals)
 
  
  A score of 12 or more shows you have an Internet mindset. Anything less shows a pre-Internet mindset.
Refresh the page ( <Control>F5 ) before trying again.

If your score indicated you did not have an Internet mindset, then there are two possibilities. Perhaps this test is flawed. .. or perhaps something is going on that you are not fully aware of.

WHY DO SO MANY HAVE A PRE-INTERNET MINDSET?

If you found you did not have an Internet mindset, then you are not alone. Clearly by the decisions they are taking, many of the major players in business and even in the communications field do not have an Internet mindset either. They have what might be called a Pre-Internet Mindset.

They do not understand that the Internet changes the balance of power. That applies to big companies versus small companies and to buyers versus sellers. They often see the Internet as just another medium like a more personalized TV. The light will eventually come on for them too, but until then they will be taking less than optimal decisions.

THREE MAJOR WAYS YOU LOSE WITHOUT AN INTERNET MINDSET

If your decisions are being taken with a pre-Internet mindset, then there are a number of ways you may be wasting your resources. Here are three:

PROMOTIONAL BUDGET APPLIED WITH REDUCED EFFECTIVENESS
Online advertising and promotion has a much higher ROI (return on investment) than traditional media such as print ads, TV ads or Direct Marketing.
PROSPECTS DO NOT FIND YOU BUT MAY FIND YOUR COMPETITORS
Most prospects look for suppliers by searching on the Internet, usually with Google. If you are less visible to Google than your competitors, then they will get the business.
YOUR SALES REPS MUST PURSUE LESS QUALIFIED LEADS
In general, prospects look for suppliers rather than the reverse. Purchasers want to see sales people only when they are ready. The traditional Sales Representative will find cold calling an almost impossible task.

HOW TO GET AN INTERNET MINDSET

If you find that you: do not have an Internet mindset, what can you do? The short answer is that you have just got to leave yourself open to hearing and seeing what is happening out there on the Internet. The list below gives you some ideas:

CHECK YOUR WEBSITE PERFORMANCE COMPARED WITH COMPETITORS
If you do a full evaluation of how your website performs compared with competitors, this may well suggest ways that you are missing out on how the Internet behaves. Try to evaluate the visitor traffic and also look at how the search engines are indexing and evaluating your website and the competitive websites.
LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS
Make sure that you are aware of how your customers are interacting with your company on the Internet. Good marketing involves a dialogue with your customers and the Internet is superb at supporting such dialogue.
LISTEN TO YOUR FRONT LINE TEAM
Find out what your frontline team who are in contact with customers and prospects are hearing and seeing, whether it's good or bad.

SUMMARY CONCLUSION

The wrong mindset can act like blinkers.

Each of us has our own particular mindset and this can sometimes blind us to aspects of what is happening around us. The Internet has already had, and will increasingly have, a major impact on how societies function. Every one of us should make sure we are alive to what is going on and how we can profit from that.

If you require help with this, then SMM will be happy to help you figure out your best approach. Our help can be configured to meet exactly the needs you have. Our strengths, experience and creativity can complement those of your company. So write us a Message today on what you're looking for without obligation.

Barry Welford

References re Intelligence Trap
Conrad Black and the Intelligence Trap
The Intelligence Trap
Did De Bono's Intelligence Trap catch Nortel Networks?

 

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