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This is about

Cartons cluttering your office. Well, not really. It's about what people do about the cartons


The Peterson/Lauda Syndrome

In the good ole days you had to drive to win a Grand Prix. Now sit around in the pit lane. The winner is the one doing the fastest sitting.

Anyway, nice digression, but the point we're getting at is this: There were essentially two types of drivers - in the old days personified by Ronnie Peterson und Niki Lauda.

After two trial laps Niki Lauda would give his engineers instructions on the optimum setup, then go out for another lap, confer again and repeat the exercise until the stop watch said: Gotcha!.

Ronnie Peterson would climb in his tub, bash it around the circuit until he could go no faster. Asked about suspension geometry, he'd look a bit motherless. Why, you just get out of that machine whatever it has to give, right?

That's why Peterson sometimes cruised around helplessly in eighth position. But there were those flashes of brilliance, when Lauda's car lost its advantage due to the rain or something and the Swede would beat them all by sheer guts and skill.

The fans loved Peterson while Lauda became champion, three times. Racing needs both: the emotion and the instinct of the one, who makes the best out of any situation. And the analytic mind of the other, who sharpens his tool to win.

How they deal with cartons

In the office, Peterson comes across a carton blocking his path. He will step over it and again on his way back. Third time around he has forgotten the obstacle. He is creative, chaotic and difficult to run. Lauda, on the other hand, will tidy away the carton and take offense if folks leave boxes lying around. Not only does he get more done, his dependability is what the creative guys rely upon. Lauda is strict, disciplined and - no less difficult to coordinate. Racing drivers are doers, like salesmen, good salesmen.

You cannot change the men and women in your team. It would be tedious (and wasteful) to coerce Peterson into behaving like Lauda, just as it would be silly expecting Lauda to act like Peterson. Fair enough, but in real life Lauda has no time for Peterson and he in turn can't handle Lauda's cool. And as doers draw conclusions from their point of view and no other, they have no tolerance for other folks.

By leaving space for either you will multiply the performance of your team. And what it does for the chemistry is scarcely measureable. But noticeable. And for a marketing that addresses the client individually, you will need both. Because customers, too, are carton climbers or carton chuckers.

So, if you can't get on with a customer, check if it's the box or the person abusing the box. Then match the salesman with the customer. Because you can not change a person's mind, not even by training. If training is indeed required, start where the person stands. In classical marketing we saw this differently: Make them behave customer-friendly! These days it's you holding the baby. Or the box.

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