Jonar Nader refutes world’s best practice

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Jonar Nader refutes the merits of ‘World’s best practice’. He says that people should do their best, not follow the leaders in an industry. Jonar says that ‘knowledge’ alone is not good enough. MBA graduates know a lot about business theory, but can they put it into practice? In this interview from New Zealand, Jonar speaks about the differences between the triple bottom line and the triple top line. Further below is a transcript of the video.

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Here is the transcript:

Mike: … Jonar Nader believes there are important job skills you will never get taught that are the key to your success. Things like intolerance, impatience and the ability to fight. Now, Jonar Nader’s book, How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People was controversial before anyone read the first page. The title, the takeoff of course, of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People got a thread of a lawsuit.

Inside What’s Wrong with Business, how business is hold back by a lack of imagination, not understanding their customers, not being able to absorb shocks, allowing underlings to suck up to the boss, and now to understand that wealth creation not wealth depletion is the key to future success.

Jonar Nader is with us. Good morning.

Jonar Nader: Hello, Mike.

Mike: Old wisdom. Now here’s – I disagree with you. Old wisdom is strive for world’s best practice. That’s the old wisdom. Your new wisdom, don’t look to be the best in the world, look to become the best you can be. That’s just PC bullet.

Jonar Nader: No, not all because actually if you pace yourself, you often find people who are in teh race, in any Olympics, I say to you, ‘I keep my eye on the guy in front and I pace myself.’ So really, they’re quite happy so long as they’re beating neither guy in front. And I say, ‘But you’ve just set the standard.’ That doesn’t mean that’s the world’s best standard. When you are in an organization, if all you do is say, ‘Oh, my competitor does this so we should do that.’ You’re not actually inventing. You’re not actually innovating. You’re not actually doing what the customer wants you to do. I don’t want you to do the world’s best practice in hotels. I can tell you hotels, hey don’t we stay in them? And what do they say? I am a business traveler and I always arrive late at night. The gym is closed. Every restaurant is closed. The laundry is closed. And you tell me there is not a hotel in the world where I can get my shirt ironed and they look at you funny when you say, ‘Can you please iron my shirt?’ That’s the world’s best practice for you. I tell you what would be fantastic is to have my key ready on check in and don’t ask me the same questions 50 million times you already know.

Mike: Tell me about the brand – the brand bet. Tell me what the brand bet is.

Jonar Nader: Well, people say, ‘What is the most important asset in your company?’ What do they say, staff, right? I go, hang on a minute. Now, staff are not your asset to begin with, okay? You should – you should stop thinking you own them because you own furniture but you don’t own staff. The most important thing in the future for companies will be the brand but not the brand in which we’re taught. Of course, brand awareness and brand tolerance and brand values are all vital but the most important thing of the future will be the brand bet. And by that, I mean if you’re computer fails, what is the bet that you will pick up the phone and you will be on there for 20 minutes on hold with ding dong music? What is the bet that the person you talk to doesn’t know what you’re talking about and says, ‘Delete everything and if it’s still causing you problem…’ How can I delete everything? I need my computer. What’s the bet that, you know, if you actually want to escalate they’re going to charge you $40 for a call? Well, I’ll put $10,000 on it here and now on national television and I’m telling you that’s my bet because that’s what’s happens.

And so, in the future, people will judge you by what they’re prepared to bet on. Meaning, if my fancy car breaks down, what’s my real feeling? What’s my gut? Oh gosh, it’s going to be such a hassle. They’re going to get it wrong. That is what your company is worth. Don’t tell me your company is worth $15 trillion on the stock market because you have an intangible brand value of a $100 billion. You have nothing. Your customer will determine your brand value and what the brand is worth based on what the customer believes you will and won’t do because there’s a lot of rhetoric and very little on delivery.

Now, I don’t mind if you don’t want to deliver. I don’t mind if you want to make bad cars but don’t you dare take my 100% perfect money and give me a bad car, bad toaster, and a bad …

Mike: Which is one of your ideas for the future that I find most fascinating. What would happen in the future, and this is what people should think about, what would happen in the future if the money freezes, if your product doesn’t work? Which is an interesting idea but how does it – how would it work? I mean, in a wide world, how does your money freeze?

Jonar Nader: Well, for example, in the future you will not sale me a washing machine, you will give it to me and say, ‘At the moment …’ you sale me the washing machine and I have to hassle and you’ve got my perfect money and I’ve got a perfect – not an imperfect product. But in the future, you will give me the washing machine and you will charge me per cycle. In the future, every car will have what’s called an IP address, an internet protocol address and you will charge me per kilometer. At the moment, we do that with mobile phones. You charge me per call. I give you the phone free of charge.

So in the future, you will have to care if you product fails because I’ll say to you, ‘Look mate, it’s your washing machine. You pick it up.’ What do they say now? “You know, oh yes, please hold the line and we’ll come and repair sometime between 9AM and 5PM.’ But I’ve got to go to work. ‘Oh no, not until 5PM. Where do you live Mr. Nader? Anywhere between Christchurch and Wellington. Now, let’s – let’s negotiate you know.’ I mean, what do you mean not until 5.

Mike: There’s an idea in your book that that – I mean, a lot of those see theory versus reality. It’s easy to make winners than find winners. This is about recruitment we’re talking about before we came on air. I mean, that’s a great idea but doesn’t work in reality, does it?

Jonar Nader: Oh no, it does work in reality in the sense that …

Mike: But no one would disagree with it. If I went into a CEO, many companies say that it’s easier to make winners than find winners. They say yes to this but don’t do it.

Jonar Nader: Oh, what works and they don’t do are two different things. I mean, the issue is I know that we all know how to make a cake and we all have flour and we all have sugar and we all have eggs and we all have an oven we probably have the ingredients sitting right now at home but how many of us can actually make it? The process of knowing is not good enough. The process of actually fusing these things together is what’s important. So many of us are Harvard graduates and Yale graduates, many of us got these silly MBAs and we know it but how many of us can actually make it?

So, what I try to do and say, knowing is not enough. You’ve actually got to learn how to fuse these things together. So, when you fuse fear and courage, you arrive at conviction. So many of us know fear, I mean that we know it so back to front that our heart starts to palpitate, you know. But how many of us know courage in equal dose? And how many of us can merge fear and courage together and arrive at conviction and say, ‘Thank you very much. I have decided to be patient or I have decided to be impatient.’ So many of us just stick by our virtues because we’re told to be good, we’re told be tolerant. I go, okay it’s good to be good and tolerant but did you decide to be tolerant today or you’re just a coward and you can’t stand up to the issue?

Mike: Alright. Other ideas on the future. What would happen if you no longer had a help disc? You argue a help disc is a liability.

Jonar Nader: Oh, a help disc will be a thing of the past because they were never invented to help anybody in the first place. They were invented because the guys in the factory kept producing rubbish and the customers were complaining. So they said, can we somehow fund all this cost? And the future will not have a help disc because they are destroying organizations. Now, the help disc can only exist if the person on the help disc could have the full authority to make the – all the decisions necessary to appease the customer. If not, stop taking my money and thieving it.

Let me tell you why the future help disc will disappear because courts will rule in the future that my time on hold, you will have to pay for. So, while I’m waiting 20 minutes on hold, you will have to pay for me. And I’ve done this assessment here for New Zealand, Australia, and the US. In New Zealand, it’s a $7 billion liability for corporations if they had to pay this today. And I say this to executives, I say, ‘Open up your spreadsheet and tell me what your – where your business would be today if you had to go on brand bet? Meaning, not what you think your brand is worth but what customers are willing to bet. Well, it won’t happen. And where will your business be today if your money froze when my washing machine didn’t work? And if you had to pay for your customers on hold?’

Mike: That would be great.

Jonar Nader: They will be absolutely broke and they will – laws will be passed to actually force them to do that. And to me, I’m a futurist, I say, ‘You can engineer your future. Learn about these issues. Preempt them. Don’t do world’s best practice. Go and say, ‘What can I preempt?’ Futurists say, what are the likely scenarios? How do I build the bridge into that scenario? How do I prepare the buffer zone?

Mike: Yes. But you’re looking at people by being like you. Not everyone is like you. Not everyone can see the future. I mean, if everyone can see the future, we would be doing all right, wouldn’t we?

Jonar Nader: Well, I don’t – I’m not – I have no extra special qualities other than an observer. My three greatest strengths are observation, memory, and analysis. So, I’m not sure that any – I’m so different to anybody else.

Mike: What would happen if the customers have the chance to participate in an exit poll?

Jonar Nader: Oh, can you imagine?

Mike: Isn’t that fascinating?

Jonar Nader: I say to people – they say, the bottom line is the most important thing in companies. And I say, no, no, no. Then I say, ‘Oh hang on. You know, the triple bottom line is the most important thing.’ They say, ‘What’s that?’ I say, ‘Well, triple bottom line is you have to take care of profits, you have to take care of the environment, and you have to take care of society.’ That’s called the triple bottom line. It’s being taught all over the MBAs at the moment. And I say, ‘That’s still useless. Talk to me about the triple top line. It’s your staff, your quality, and your customers.’ Now, what was the question you asked me about?

Mike: The exit poll.

Jonar Nader: The exit poll. The top line is where it happens. So, if I’m going to buy this company out, I don’t want to look at your bottom line. I want to – I want to see the exit poll that says, ‘Dear Mr. Nader, thank you for calling us here at XYZ Corporation. Before you hang up, please press 1 if you think we’re a bunch of rat bugs, press 2 if you think we’ve answered your question. Please press 1 if you think you like our Managing Director to call you because you have no satisfaction. Press 2 if you think …’ And they will tell me on the spot, by the second, by the customer, who thinks you’re a rat bug and who’s not. I mean, how many times have you hang up and you thought, what a waste of time? That’s – as a Manager, that’s what I want to know. As it happens not six months later or after a survey and after people do all these customer relation surveys. By the time you get the statistician to give you the marketing report, it’s 10, 12 months later and the air has dissipated.

Mike: We got to wrap this up in 30 seconds. The great leaders of today, people like Gates and Murdoch, are they men of the future or men of today?

Jonar Nader: Look, it’s such a – I – I don’t think these people have vision because I’ve – I grow up – I grew up with Gates, you know because I was, gosh there. I’ve been 22 years in the IT industry. And good luck to them. They want to make money. They can make money but every single day, I cursed the day I have to reboot my computer five times a day. It’s absolute …


Jonar Nader: Don’t we all?

Mike: Don’t we all. It’s a terrific book. And nice to meet you. There it is, Jonar Nader. Have a quick look. How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People. It’s terrific. Alright. It’s eight minutes away from 9.

Female: Fantastic stuff and if that doesn’t rocket you out of bed, nothing will …

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