Engineering the Future Part One

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Jonar Nader

Jonar Nader poses eight questions that all corporations must ask of themselves to test whether or not they can survive the pressures of the future. This is Part One. Further below is a transcript of the video.

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Here is the transcript:

Jonar Nader: How can we engineer your future? Oh, well, I left school at fourteen, by the way. And I went to our school reunion out of courtesy – curiosity, I mean – and they said to me, this kid walks up to me and says, “Hey, Nader, what do you do for a job now, mate?” sporting two Jim Beam bottles as his idea of a balanced diet. Knowing he was being mischievous, I thought, “Okay.” I said, “I’m a futurist.” He said, “You’re always the weird one.”

Jonar Nader: “What do you do?” I said. He said, “I’m a historian at Sydney Union.” I thought, “Fancy, lecturing in history and thinking that’s normal and okay and I’m weird because I study the future.” Well, let me put it to you this way. When you went to bed last night – and I must say I saw a few of you happily go to bed last night – but were you not thinking about the future? Of course, you had the troubles of the past and, gosh, that was that a joke, funny, and did I crack on to that person well enough and, you know, can I afford and that and – yeah, we think about it. But are we hoping for the future?

Jonar Nader: Now, if we think abut our business and we want a prosperous future, why don’t we teach people about looking at the future? How hard is it? Very simple. The idea about being a futurist is not that you’re this clairvoyant. My friend’s father was a clairvoyant and his mother was a contortionist and as a result he could foresee his own end. I’m not talking about being sort of this psychic. I’m saying, “A clever business person preempts and says, ‘What are the likely scenarios? We might not know perfectly which one, but what are the likely scenarios and how can I plan and pre-empt to get there so when it hits me in the face I am ready? We have a bumper bar.'” A lot of companies today fall because there’s not bumper bar. That bumper bar is what I call the SAF I spoke to you in Christ’s Church – surprise absorption factor. What absorption to surprise can you cope with? There’s the smart business operator for you.

Jonar Nader: Well, I’m going to ask you eight disturbing questions. Now a lot of speakers get up on stage and they tell you stats. Their numbers and stats are impressive and they’re real and that’s great. But I’m going to do something different. I’m going to show you a bit of stats but I’m going to show you the formula so that you can go to your office on Monday and actually run the formula yourself so that I’m not talking to you about the world and 30% of people said that and 50% of others said that. I’m going to tell you exactly what percent of you matters to this question. So I dare you to apply these eight questions to your business on Monday and you will know and you don’t need me or any other consultant to tell you what’s going to happen to you. What would happen if you had to pay for the time you put people on hold. You’re a corporation and you say, “Please hold the line,” and ding-dong music goes on. Well, as a futurist I’m predicting that there will come a time when we will have to pay for abusing people’s time on hold. And I’m saying just at $20 an hour – if that’s what we agree a human’s cost is – it’s a 70-billion dollar problem for the Australian industry. Tell me if we can afford that kind of thing. Well, can we preempt it? What would happen if the funds froze when the service you provided didn’t suit me, when the toaster you sold me doesn’t work, when the software has to be re-booted ten times a day? Where would the richest man be in the world today if every time I had to re-boot my computer? The money in his bank account froze. Now, apply that to your business. If you promise, make a promise and you don’t deliver, what happens if the money that you are paid froze? And in the network world, that’s where we are heading. If only 5% of the services that you offer to me are not what you promised them to be, the staff time it takes to fix them is 30% of staff time. Would you agree with that? Little, tiny, stupid mistakes that consume a third of your time, what a waste of money. And here we are trying to make an extra percentage point and there’s 30 down the drain.

Jonar Nader: Question number three: What would happen if your staff who did not like to go to work did not go to work? Well, what would happen if 10% of your staff did not show up? In companies that are 50 people or less, if 10% of their staff did not show up to work tomorrow, the business would come to a standstill in 15% of them. There’d be a major disruption in 52%, and there’d be no disruption in, you know, 20% of them, and we have others. Well, don’t worry about these figures. Take the equation back home. Say, 10% of my staff, what would happen? What are your contingencies? Maybe it won’t affect you. But if it does, do something about it to handle staff better so that they want to come to work. And don’t do it when it’s too late. Too late is too late. Don’t wait for the catastrophe. What if you are forced to disclose your force?

Jonar Nader: What if you’re forced to disclose your history as a director? How many customers have complained this week? How many refunds you’ve had to give? How many litigations there are? How many times this mobile phone’s battery breaks down? How many times my engine has a problem in all the cars you sell me? I want to see your dirty laundry before I buy a product because laws will be passed to force you to show your dirty laundry to the customers.

Jonar Nader: And, funnily enough, I was having breakfast this morning. I’m full. Look at this. This is the local paper, The Courier Mail, front page reads, “If the Federal Court action succeeds, banks could be forced to reveal valuations in cases where buyers are paying more than 10% above their market value.” Banks charged of a scam, the law will force banks to give you an evaluation or valuation on the land before they sell it to you and if it’s more than 10%. It is by law that they show it to you because then you don’t buy a block of land and realize later in fact you’ve been overcharged. What if that law spread further and further and further? Because when you come to buy this new mobile phone, yeah, it looks funky, great price, but how many times does the battery fail? How would you know?

Well, I’d like to know, because I don’t want to trek through town while they say to me, “Well, bring it in for a pair and wait two weeks.” “No, give me my money back or give me a product.” What about if the customer can record you? “Please hold the line and this call maybe monitored for quality assurance purposes.” Quality assurance? What a joke. Have you noticed now it doesn’t say that anymore? It says, “This call maybe recorded for staff training purposes,” because they’ve given up on the quality. It didn’t work. Well, okay, record it. Go ahead, I beg them. Sometimes, I say, “Please record this. No one’s going to believe this hideous conversation I’m having with you.” Well, what if the customer can record you, because when you’re on the phone you press one button, just one, and if I don’t like this conversation, I go, beep, yeah, yeah, yeah, and it’s going on to my MPEG, MP3, goes down to my website, and there in my website within seconds is the conversation and all my mates can hear? So, monitor your calls and say, “What are my staff saying? What would happen if this ended up for the world to hear?” Preempt, train, so that doesn’t happen to you.

Jonar Nader: In the hospitality sector, the clients who object to being recorded or eavesdropped or listened to are only 1%. People actually want management to listen in because there’s just not much happening for them. And those who want the call recorded are actually 83%. And those who want the managers to monitor the call are very high. They don’t want to deal with people anymore who can’t handle their call, not because these phone operators are bad, the poor kids on the phone, it’s not their fault, but they haven’t been empowered to make the decision. Therefore, either empower them to make the decision, all that they have to do or don’t have it. What about if we ban the asterisk and the fine print? Can you open up an offer today where the bottom bit has 300 times more words than the top bit? And not only – it used to be the asterisk, now, notice next time you see an offer, it’s got a squiggle, an infinity symbol, a caret sign, a dagger, a double dagger, a triple asterisk. It’s like now everything has a code at the bottom.

Jonar Nader: I’m putting it to you, there will come a time when a law will be passed that will say, “You are not allowed to put an asterisk.” If you can’t make an offer to me right there in my face and mean it for me, don’t make the offer in public. You’re wasting everyone’s time. So, take this to your own company on Monday. Ask to see all your ads. Ask to see all your offers. Ask to see all your brochures and read them. And if there’s fine print on it, I challenge you to rewrite those offers in a way that makes sense without the slimy business if I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Jonar Nader: In the hospitality sector, the clients who see an asterisk doubt the ad immediately. Ninety-two percent of them say, “No. The moment I see an asterisk, that’s it. I don’t know.” Stop tricking your customers. You don’t even believe it yourself so don’t do that. What about those who can’t comprehend the fine print? Most people can’t. Honestly, they can’t. It’s so ambiguous and so confusing. And the customers who had their fingers burned by thinking they were buying something ended up with something else, bang.

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