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Your cheating brain

By Bob Bailly

Mistakes were made, but not by me, a book by Carol Tarvis and Elliot Aronson, explores the very human tendency to deflect blame, to admit error begrudgingly and to avoid responsibility. They explore the notion that too often we hear the self-justifying, “There was nothing else I could have done.” Consider the American presidents who in the face of overwhelming evidence to the opposite have proclaimed, “I did not have sex with that women” or “I am not a crook.”

Why do we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions and hurtful acts? How is it that as individuals we have so much difficulty admitting error and responsibility? And why are we always looking to convince ourselves that we did the best thing?

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The pitch from a neuromarketing perspective

By Bob Bailly

In the July 13 post on Francis Moran and Associates blog’s Great Articles Roundup, this excerpt was referenced and it caught my eye: The startup pitch in the corporate context.

You can tell a lot about a company by its approach to the business pitch. This post argues that the corporate business pitch could take some pointers from the standard VC pitch, which should always identify a clear problem, provide a compelling solution and be differentiated, aspirational, inspirational, and visually communicative.

The excerpt references a longer blog piece written by Joe Lee that contains great practical advice on the corporate pitch. I’m pleased to say his ideas are also supported from a neuro-scientific point of view.

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Tribal marketing for ‘Generation Me’

By Bob Bailly

Prior to leaving on a holiday to Europe at the beginning of May, I was preparing an article on how tribal behaviour has been shaped by our expanded use of technology. Scotland, southern Spain and London didn’t change my topic, but the way I look at it was certainly altered.

A number of years ago I was researching this subject and came across a threaded blog entitled Tribe.

What had got me going then was this part of the post:

…Basically what tribal life is about is kinship. A tribal society is a society that functions by kinship — which is not limited to blood kinship, because all beings in the universe are kin, just as all societies conceive of the universe based on their own social structure (example: medieval Europeans, who lived under kings, saw the universe as ruled by a Divine King; modern society, which functions like a machine in which people are more or less interchangeable parts, sees the universe as a machine, etc.) indigenous tribal people, who live in an extended family … see the universe as an extended family as well, in which everyone is obligated to take care of everybody else. The closer the kinship, the greater the obligation.

I was intrigued because so much of my research into human business behaviour at the time had been concerned with evolutionary neuroscience and the concept of how decisions are controlled by our primitive brain’s self-interest. What’s always intrigued me is why and how the me, or the ego, or the mind controls the brain to look beyond itself and to become tuned to the group, the pack or the tribes to which it belongs. My questions: Why should we feel obligation to our tribe? What is it in our belonging that is central to how we operate as individuals? And finally, are new technologies changing our tribal behaviours?

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Tribal marketing

By Bob Bailly

My recent posts have looked at how our evolutionary past has shaped our modern business behaviour. Recently I looked at the desire to live and work in a tribal setting –  a feeling so powerful that many of our business practices are based upon a tribe’s primitive functioning. I also looked at the notion that tribes demand strong leaders, and these leaders must inspire their followers (through fear, heredity or action). Followers must also understand and accept their roles for the tribe to be successful.

I pointed out that there were other conditions necessary for us to want to belong. Here are three I noted, with some comments about implications for modern business.

  • Tribes have a strong culture and are prone to develop and use cultural symbols.
  • Tribes develop stories, sometimes magical and sometimes mythical, that define their values.
  • Tribes have enemies, and the stronger the enemy the stronger the loyalty to the tribe.

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More tribal leaders required

By Bob Bailly

Has evolution prepared humans to live in the world we have created? Was Desmond Morris correct when he pointed out that, “Man’s biological equipment is not strong enough to cope with the unbiological environment it has created?” Has our transition from hunter/gatherer living in a cave to cosmopolitan businessperson living in a luxury condo been as smooth as we’d like to think?

In my last post, I postulated that humans prefer to live and work in a tribal setting and promised to explore the nuance of this from a modern business perspective. Today’s focus will be on the role of leadership.

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