Saturday, January 30, 2010

Creating Exceptional Customer Experiences

Brilliant Smiles from Bangkok (courtesy of Fred@SG)

At the kind invitation of the Singapore Tourism Board, I recently attended a seminar by Dr Lynda Wee of Bootstrap which spoke about creating memorable and delightful customer experiences. Targeted specifically at senior managers in the tourism and lifestyle sectors, the session was full of memorable quotable quotes and smart one-liners, and provided a brief overview of the significance of delighting customers through engineering exceptional experiences.

Why Customer Experience?

According to Lynda, satisfied customers will buy more, spread the word around, and provide positive feedback. This helps to increase sales turnover and reduce marketing and selling expenses for retail businesses.

Loyal customers are also more likely to stay with a company in good and bad times, and they move along the following continuum from browsers --> buyers --> brand loyals.

From Customer Service to Customer Experience

In the traditional mode of lifestyle businesses, customer service was key. This revolved around the acronym GST which meant:

G reet
S mile
T hank

Citing Hertzberg's two factors - satisfaction and motivation - Lynda stated that there is a relationship between the degree of customer happiness and the degree in which they are satisfied and motivated.

However, in the new consumer space, customer experience which relates to how they feel takes precedence over service. Customers trust their experience more than what they hear the service providers say, and this is nicely captured by the following quotes:

"Companies spend millions creating and advertising their brands, yet the customer's experience is what drives customer perception." - John R Dijulius III

"Well done is better than well said" - Benjamin Franklin

Four Steps to Customer Experience

How then can retailers provide remarkable customer experience? There are four steps:

1) Think like the customer and create value.

2) Begin with the end in mind. Consider the outcomes, visualise and actualise them through deeds and not just words alone.

3) Go over and above what is required or anticipated at every customer touchpoint. We are talking about total brand immersion here.

4) Work on the power of one, ie teamwork where all hands work together in a seamless manner.

Blending Function with Emotion

Exceptional experiences comes from the interplay of functional and emotional factors like the:

Head - for sensing and observing what the best approach should be. Information should also be given readily.

Heart - to embrace a "will do" spirit and look at how everybody is treated humanely and warmly.

Hands - to ensure that employees "can do" the task that they are assigned through training, mentorship and guidance.

Lynda also created a 4 C Framework that helps to encapsulate the main points in choreographing and creating memorable experiences. These are as follows:

Crew Excellence

This has to start from the top, with the chief executives and senior managers setting the trail for others to follow. They should walk the talk, focus on the internal customer before moving on to the external customer, and act as role models for their crew to follow. An example is Jonathan Larsen, CEO of Citibank in Singapore, who serves on the shopfloor every Thursday and has computer screens that monitor phone calls and how long individuals take to respond to them.

A good start would be getting the right people on the bus, wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats in the organisation.

Culture Excellence

An example of this is Starbucks (well at least in Singapore), who are in the "people business serving coffee". Some of the knowledge and skills needed to engender culture excellence include coffee knowledge, skills needed to brew a great cuppa, the showmanship involved in handling food and interaction with customers.

Two other well known examples are Ritz Carlton ("We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen") and Singapore Airlines ("A Great Way to Fly").

Contact Excellence

This would look at the interaction points between an organisation and its customers. It should be clearly mapped out and defined every single step of the way. For example, at Disneyland, experience standards cover key areas like safety, courtesy, showmanship and efficiency. Achieving Contact Excellence is illustrated in its rules of behaviour:

1) Make eye contact and smile!
2) Greet and welcome each and every guest
3) Seek out guest contact
4) Provide immediate service recovery
5) Display appropriate body language at all times
6) Preserve the "magical" guest experience
7) Thank each and every guest

Even a park cleaner at Disneyland would be required not just to clean, but to learn how to take camera pictures and read maps.

Customer Metrics Excellence

Finally, one needs to have a way of measuring the impact of one's customer experience efforts. This can take the form of feedback forms that measure Customer Satisfaction Index or CSI, mystery audits, focus group sessions, repeat patronage figures as well as bottomline indicators.

The Customer Experience Process

To conclude, a process map for a company's customer experience journey was shared by Lynda. It looks like the following:

Identify sense of purpose --> Define customer experience vision statement --> Define customer experience standards --> Pilot-test customer experience standards --> Revise customer experience standards --> Train/coach and communicate on customer experience standards --> Conduct mystery audit --> Plan & implement Reward & Recognition system (which loops back to the beginning).

Do you have any tips on achieving customer experience excellence? Do share them with me!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Your Most Important Stakeholders

Courtesy of

There are two things which are absolutely vital in ensuring organisational success:

1) Hire the right people.

2) Keep them as long as you can (within reason).

As Singapore's job market starts to grow yet again amidst the rise in its economic prospects, how does an employing organisation make itself attractive to talented candidates? In addition, how does such an organisation continue to nurture its best officers, groom them and provide them with the best chances for success?

There are a couple of suggestions which you may wish to consider:

1) Celebrate team achievements rather than individual ones. While there will inevitably be stars in your team (just like there will be poor performers), it is vital for everybody to move as one unit.

2) Network extensively with people in your industry - not just the senior war-weary chaps, but also the younger bright-eyed and bushy tailed ones. To be a magnet for manpower, you need to be visible enough in the right social circles as well as the market for talent.

3) Be positive about what you do and willing to share about your work experiences beyond the cursory "I work in the government lor..." The more enthusiasm you show in what you do, the more interest you will generate.

4) Get to know what makes your team members tick and find the best way to engage them. Some people prefer the close huddle, football team management approach. Others prefer to have more space to experiment and explore. See what works best for individuals.

5) Create opportunities for team members to shine, and never fail to acknowledge good work while giving credit where its due. If possible, placade officers who were directly responsible for putting things in place.

6) Engender a sense of ownership amongst team members so that everybody has a stake in what you're doing. Its pointless to have a dream plan when it falls apart due to lack of buy-in and support. Rallying others isn't just a job for the evangelist but the manager too.

7) When push comes to shove, be willing to make painful decisions. The toughest part of work is not the work in itself - even if you're a rocket scientist! It is in managing the fine network of relationships between different parties, balancing between the needs of different players yet ensuring that progress doesn't get halted by barriers.

Are there other lessons in people management that you can think of?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Real-time Relationship Revolution

The global growth in social networks is attributed to the need to connect (courtesy of Social Hallucinations)

After thinking about what's truly different around the world with the increasingly widespread popularity of the social web, one word struck out especially loud and clear.

Real-time relationships.

People need people, and there are now more ways to converse and collaborate than ever before. We don't only have to hear their voice, but can view their photos, videos, and textual messages at the desktop, laptop or mobile phone.

This phenomenon of intense and immediate interaction means that meeting family and/or friends just once a week or fortnight isn't enough anymore. We want to "sense" their presence online when they log onto MSN, laugh or cry at their little quips on Facebook, be drawn into an online debate at their blogs, or just respond with a 140 character (or less) message on Twitter.

Real-time relationships fuel the widespread growth and dominance of social technologies. They are the currency of the 2010s where the continued uncertainty of global economics, man-made calamities and terrorism has torn countries asunder.

When people's faith in time-honoured institutions and structure-bound organisations are eroded from mistrust, whom do they turn to? Their friends, family members and aquaintances. Nobody's going to just take an advertisement or news story at face value anymore.

How does being constantly connected affect the way businesses change?

For a start, getting a second opinion is now faster than ever before. Moreover, your customers can seek views not just from one party but a whole host of others, and even chat with them about it. This means that pulling wool over your customer's eyes will be almost impossible.

The next thing is that people expect immediate responses. You cannot afford to go radio silent for days or weeks if you want to continue enjoying a customer's patrimony. If you can maintain an "always on" chatline, so much the better (although it drives your employee's work-life balance bonkers... topic for another day).

The digital grapevine will also become the place where most buying decisions are made. Smart businesses will know how to get themselves so well-loved that their customers will automatically share the news about the latest product or service voluntarily. Of course, the building of online communities are then an absolute must.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, customers value businesses who stand on the same side. The greater your degree of empathy with your customers, the better. In fact, you should speak from the perspective of your customers rather than your company, and be seen as a champion for customer needs, wants and desires.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Help is Still Needed in Haiti

By now, we would have all heard about the extreme devastation which has taken place in Haiti as a result of the 7.0 scale Earthquake. Entire buildings and towns have been totalled, and hundreds of thousands of lives may have been lost.

Fortunately, we have agencies like the International Medical Corps, which are doing whatever they can in relief efforts right now. As stated in their website:

International Medical Corps is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives and relieving suffering through health care training and relief and development programs. Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical Corps is a private, voluntary, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities worldwide. By offering training and health care to local populations and medical assistance to people at highest risk, and with the flexibility to respond rapidly to emergency situations, International Medical Corps rehabilitates devastated health care systems and helps bring them back to self-reliance.

For the Haiti crisis, you can view a map showing the extent of the damage as well as the work which IMC is currently doing on various sites here.

Here's a video from CNN's Larry King Live, showing Dr. Liviu Vedrasco, member of International Medical Corps' emergency response team, describing conditions there.

There are several ways you can help:

1) Donate or volunteer

2) Help to spread the word around! You can embed a widget on your blog or website from this URL here.

3) Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Let's do what we can to help our fellow humans in their moment of greatest need.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Infinitesimal Improvements

Courtesy of "Shanty" Cheryl

As we start a fresh new week, I thought its useful to consider for a moment how we can do things differently. It doesn't have to be a huge paradigm shifting, game changing milestone, but just a smallish innovation that defies conventional wisdom. And nope, these aren't New Year resolutions or anything as noble as that. However, they can apply equally at work, at home, at school, at church, or anywhere else.

The idea behind this is to gradually improve in baby steps which are less daunting than taking a huge leap into the unknown. They can be as small as replacing an unhealthy breakfast item (say fried bacon) with a healthy one (say a slice of guava), or perhaps slightly larger - like reading at least 15 minutes to half an hour every day. Doing something small and easy allows one to pick the low hanging fruits, boosting one's morale and equipping one towards larger and bolder pursuits in life.

For me, I'm going to try to blog at least once every other day, no matter how tired, busy or lazy I feel. Writing gets better the more you do it, and the only way to open that tap is to just keep turning it.

If the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, forget about moving the world. Instead, begin by moving that itsy bitsy little obstacle in your life first.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Anointing Your Advocates

Advocacy Gone Awry (Courtesy of Taejin "TJ" Moon)

I chanced upon a brilliant post by Jeremiah Owyang, renowned web strategist and thought leader, on Advocacy Marketing. This new form of Word Of Mouth marketing is different from the traditional areas as advocates are like members of your inner circle - your best customers so to speak.

Quoting from Jeremiah:

"Companies aren’t trusted, brands aren’t trusted, and nor are your executives. People trust each other, and now they have the tools to communicate with each other using social technologies and mobile with or without brands involved. As a result, trust has shifted to the participants. Many brands, knowing their credibility has diminished, rely on advocacy programs where trusted members of the community are given a platform and encouraged to speak."

Examples of effective advocacy programmes are Walmart's Elevenmoms as well as Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional or MVP.

The drawbacks of any advocacy programme are the lack of controls over what your advocates choose to say. Advocates aren't your corporate messengers. They cannot be spoonfed with the right scripts to utter be it online or offline. However, they are believers who are not only premium clients and customers, but proud of being so.

How does one build a successful advocacy programme? Well, Jeremiah has the answers here (paraphrased by me):

1. Get Internal Teams Prepared First. Don't just shoot off a programme without getting buy in from the rest of the staff.

2. Find Credible Advocates. These should be folks with a significant network or who are well regarded in their circles. They could be people with a sizeable number of Twitter followers or Facebook friends, or just actively involved in various social clubs and forums.

3. Ensure The Advocacy Program Is Above Board. Try to disclose everything as much as possible and ensure that your advocates are visible enough. Shilling is strongly discouraged.

4. Ensure It Matches Up With Their Agenda. The last thing you want to do is to appoint an advocate who has zero interest in what you do.

5. Incentivize Them With Special Access –But Don’t Pay Them. These benefits could include exclusive invites, previews, and thank you functions that are limited to the group.

6. Hand Over The Microphone –Give Them The Platform. As much as possible, let them say it in their own voices. Anything else may come across as orchestrated and fake.

7. Intake Negative Feedback –But Be Actionable. Remember that they are not drawing their paychecks from you. In fact, an occasional critical comment may be more believable than a non-stop flow of praise.

8. Provide Them With Communication Tools. These could leverage on what's already available online - blogs, facebook, twitter, youtube videos, flickr photos - or could be customised for your business.

9. Define Success Based On Influence And Reduced Cost. Ultimately, the credibility of your advocates are important as well as their influence on their respective followers and networks.

10. Got An Idea? Leave a Comment. Finally, engage them as much as possible and encourage them to contribute ideas and suggestions for improvements. You want advocates to be proactively involved in your business and not just be passive conveyors of your corporate spiel.

I wished I had read Jeremiah's post earlier as it would have influenced how I would have run certain advocacy oriented programmes. Nevertheless, I believe that the future still lies in third party advocacy by the people whom you rely on the most in any business - your best customers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Anatomy of a Brand

Are these brands or logos? (Courtesy of

What is a brand? How does one understand the art and science of branding in the digital driven age?

First, a brand is not a logo. Certainly, logos represent one dimension in the embodiment of corporate or product brands. However, they are just a visual representation and a signpost rather than the true meaning of the brand itself.

A brand is not an advertisement. Like other marketing channels, ads can help to convey your brand promise and the essence of what your brand is about. However, spending heavily on advertising alone will not help to build a strong brand.

A brand is also not about groovy graphics, delightful designs or amazing aesthetics. While an inspired looking annual report, "wow!" website or salubrious store layout helps to improve one's perception of a brand, they aren't the be-all and end-all of brands.

Oh and very importantly, a brand isn't just a corporate ego exercise. It isn't just an airy fairy concept that is conceived by an organisation's executives and managers with the aim of impressing it's stakeholders. The moral of the story: don't do it for yourself.

So what is a brand then?

A brand is about one's emotional and mental influence on stakeholders. Its the sum of how much your company, product or service can seat itself deep within the psyche of your customers. The more influence you have on your target audience's decisions, the better.

A brand doesn't belong to you. It belongs to them. The greatest and most well known brands in the world are appropriated, adored and adulated by their customers. We call them raving fans.

A brand is about how they receive, respond and resonate. It is about how stakeholders absorb, understand and internalise your brand essence, act on it in a favourable way, and spread the message to their peers and contacts.

Finally, a brand is about the holistic experience. It happens from the time they first saw or heard your advertisement, called your sales staff, visited your shop, and surfed your website to the time they purchased your product or consumed your service. It is the complete suite of feelings - good or bad - which envelop your customers during every touch-point. From pre-purchase to consumption to post-purchase.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Suprising versus Satisfying Your Customers

Surprising Them May Be Better Than Satisfying Them (Courtesy of Anthony Cain)

In many B-schools, the mantra for marketing goes something like this:

Do surveys and profile studies to determine what your target customers prefer.

Look at how your competitors are doing it. Better yet, undertake a benchmarking exercise to see what their best practices are.

Conduct focus groups and align your product or service towards their wishes.

Investigate how customers are using your product at their homes, offices, or 3rd places.

Better yet, invite them to become part of your product development team so that everything will ultimately be matched to what their heart desires.

Now tell me, what would come out of such rigorous market research? An exciting, breathtaking, out-of-the-box product or service? Or one that just about fits everybody's needs and wants, but fails to deliver that "Wow" factor?

Don't get me wrong. I believe that there is a time and place to deepen our understanding of customers. Launching a space-age product when your customers prefer good old traditional methods just won't work. You need to know what makes them tick and what catches their fancy.

However, don't be afraid to innovate and create something extraordinary. Many of the world's greatest products or services aren't born from hours and hours of market research. Instead, they are created from the flashes of brilliance by right-brain thinkers who dare to challenge conventions and norms.

To be an architect of the awesome, one needs to occasionally veer off the tried-and-tested path. Sure, you should look at those charts and tables, but do also listen to that inner voice coming from deep within your gut.

Don't just satisfy your customers. Surprise them!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Crystal Ball of Technology

Future Is

At the kind invitation of HP/Microsoft through Waggener Edstrom, I attended a panel discussion and ideation exercise titled "Future Is: The Online Community Talks About the Future of Things". Held at the Giraffe Restaurant at the Istana Park across the road from Plaza Singapura, it was attended largely by bloggers, tech entrepreneurs, and students with a new media interest.

Featuring purveyors of tech like Daniel Tsou of Tech65, Willis Wee of Penn Olson, Nicholas Aaron Khoo of C-Net Asia's Geekonomics, fashion blogger/editor Mina Sunico and Brian Ling of Design Sojourn, the session was a good refresher for me on what's new and what's hot in the world of technology.

There were several good points raised during the session which I thought was worth highlighting:

1) The relentless march of technology will continue to shrink computers down to ever smaller dimensions while increasing their processing powers. This process of miniaturisation will also come with increased user-friendliness and simplicity in complexity.

2) Mina highlighted that the democratisation of fashion journalism - and perhaps food and travel journalism I might add - will result in the rise of the fashion e-cons (electronic icons) as well as the levelling of the playing field for enthusiasts. Examples in Singapore include Fashion Nation,, Chubby Hubby and Travelerfolio. Generally speaking, most mainstream media players are slow to catch on except perhaps Vogue magazine with its

3) Despite the progresses in the miniaturisation of technology, there is still a trade-off between the richness of the experience with mobility. True, you can view a blockbuster like Avatar on your iPhone one day, but I can guarantee you that it won't quite be like that immersive 3-D encounter in the theatres.

4) Interestingly, there is a backlash against the current information overload as people are leaving the digital world in droves and ambling back to more archaic analog activities. I can certainly vouch for this. Many of my geek and nerd friends who were pioneers in the social media space have now withdrawn partially to more pastoral pursuits. Perhaps what's more important is that people are mixing online interactions with offline get-togethers. Nothing beats seeing somebody face-to-face, shaking their hands, and hearing their voices in the flesh!

5) Willis spoke about the iPhone revolution and how it has changed the game. With the iPhone making smart phones ubiquitous (even coffee shop uncles are carrying them now...), it appears that opportunities arise for marketers in the mobile spaces. With 85,000 applications, iPhone has deftly handled its competition from competitors like Nokia, Blackberry, Motorola and Google. Other than mobile ads and mobile apps, the downloading of songs (iTunes), ringtones and games represent a potential market to watch out for.

6) Nicholas coined an interesting term for the future: bub pfuse, which stood for Bleak, Uncertain, Bright, Personalised, Fun, Unexpected, Social and Exciting. I like how he balanced between being optimistic about what technology promises in the years ahead as well as its drawbacks for those who are disinclined to go digital.

7) On the question of what drives certain technologies to be adopted faster than the rest, it was argued that design, cool factor, value, social acceptance, entertainment, social network effects (ie the more people use them, the greater its utility), localisation and simplification are some key reasons. The adoption of the mobile web in Asia is far more prevalent than the US. For example Google's office in Japan had staff using mobile phones as opposed to laptops or netbooks!

8) A new term called Simplexity - simple products with complex functions and usability - was coined. The iPhone probably best embraces this concept, but it can also be found in many day to day white goods like refrigerators, microwave ovens, and food processors.

9) Preetam Rai raised a good point about how the use of technology is often coupled to making money. He cited that in Sichuan province in China about six years back, farmers were already putting up photographs of their farm animals on forums to attract tourists from the cities! In addition peer to peer communication technologies like Skype and MSN Messenger were adopted fairly aggressively by countries like Vietnam for business purposes unlike Singapore.

Overall I found that the session was a good attempt by HP and its partner Microsoft to encourage greater dialogue and interaction in the social media spaces. While some of these ideas aren't exactly cutting edge, they do help to open my mind about the possibilities which the future brings.

Oh yes, there is a great contest called Blog A Trend where you can win cool prizes like a HP Touchsmart PC and HP Minis. Just create a blog post (of at least 300 words), or create a photo story, or produce a video clip about the most compelling vision of the future. Once it's up on your blog, email your post to HP with the permalink to futureis@ by 28 February 2010. Full details can be found here.

Do you have any views on what the future holds for technology?

Update: Check out this comprehensive photo coverage of the event by

Friday, January 08, 2010

Imagination versus Pragmatism

Dubai was all about the dream without the reality, and landed itself with a huge debt. (courtesy of Bobesh)

There are two school of thoughts in marketing. The first belongs to the world of imagination while the second is centred on pragmatism. Do these spheres of marketing always have to sit on opposite poles?

Let us look at this in some detail.

Everybody knows about the big idea in advertising. Creative agencies stretch their canvasses of imagination - and occasionally their client's budgets - to offer an out of this world portrayal of the world tinged with fairy dust. The sky is the limit in their portrayals of how consumers can elevate themselves to the status of slick, smart and sexy simply by buying their much touted products. BMW's "The Ultimate Driving Machine" is an example of this.

In the world of imagination, marketing's chief role is to capitalise on the possibilities of purchase. By using powerful visual and verbal cues, advertisements are able to tease one's right brain, touching the heart and stirring the emotions. Brands are seen as an extension of one's personality and an emblem of one's own unique sense of identity.

The flipside in marketing is the grittier and more realistic world of pragmatism. Purveyors of this discipline emphasise price, utility and value over that of fantasy and make-belief. To get customers to agree to a purchase decision, labels like "Everyday Low Price", "Price Guarantee", and "Lasts Longer than the Rest" are used.

Bottom-line marketing as I like to call it can be highly profitable. Just look at how Walmart has grown to become the world's largest retailer by coupling huge inventories with economical pricing. The rise of house brands and private labels have also shown how significant pragmatics can be in the world of marketing.

As marketers which school of thought should we lean towards? Do we seek to adopt aspirational desire as our mantra, using visuals and words that captivate customers? Or should we seek to appeal to one's left-brained sensibility, capitalising on the current overriding concerns of how one can stretch one's dollar?

I believe that the answer lies in fulfilling both aspects.

Great marketing efforts not only tug at the heartstrings but seek to satisfy one's analytic side. While proclaiming how a product, service or experience may transform one's life, it may be useful to also look realistically at the dollars and cents vis-a-vis your targeted customer group.

The romance and passion of a sensational campaign needs to be matched with delivering superior service and efficiency at a price point that your customer will swallow. Even the rich and wealthy are drawn towards discounts and promotions every now and then!

The next time you design a marketing strategy for your product or service, think holistically about how the imaginative and the pragmatic aspects could sit together. Collectively, they will yield a far better outcome than just focusing on one alone.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Adopting Multiple Marketing Perspectives

eye see you, originally uploaded by jwlphotography.

To succeed in the art and science of marketing, one cannot simply stick to one central approach and hope to wing it come what may. What's needed instead are a mix of both long-term, medium-term and short-term views. The adoption of these perspectives should vary depending on one's vantage point.

For a start, one should have a clear long-term vision of the goal and desired end point. What are the overall objectives of one's marketing efforts? Heightened customer satisfaction? Improved profits? Greater sales turnover? Or stronger brand positioning? Deep in the trenches of marketing skirmishes and battles, one should never forget what the end goal is.

Next, one should look at the medium-term strategies that are needed to accomplish that. What would be the few projects spanning several months to year that should be considered? These could be the development of new products, refurbishing of shop-fronts, training of staff in new areas, organisation of events, or upgrading of service levels.

Finally, one should consider the short-term (or immediate-term) tactics which are the day to day actions needed to close the sales. This is where the rubber literally meets the road, and emphasis must be placed on excellent execution. They would include the placement of advertisements, the interaction between sales staff and customers, how telephone calls are answered, as well as decisions on promotions and deals. These could also be opportunistic and timed to coincide with seasonal peaks.

Whenever you are thinking about the marketing actions needed to uplift your enterprise, remember to embrace not just the here and now but the longer-term vision. Be nimble enough to switch perspectives accordingly, but never forget to consider the repercussions of one's action.

An example would be the offering of special sales and hot deals. While an occasional offer helps to drive top-line sales, having them too often would end up creating customers who only buy during offers and not other periods. This would punish both bottom-line profitability and long-term business viability.

Seeing the trees for the woods is one thing, but missing the bush fire that threatens to engulf and destroy everything which you have built is quite another thing altogether. Being able to sense and react according to long, medium, and short term concerns is necessary to ensure the continued viability of one's business.