Motivations and Reasons

by Krishna on April 4, 2007

Although two persons may say or do the same thing, they may have different motivations for that — An action or a speech by someone may not be because of the reason you expect.

Faced with the same situation and same facts, people’s decisions are based on many different factors like past experience, their knowledge, their cultural/religious thinking, etc. Even if their actions are the same, the thinking process may be different.

For example, let us consider McDonald’s (at least the ones I am familiar with in New Hampshire and Massachusetts). Their menu is predominantly meat-based. The management thinks that their fight is with the anti-obesity crowd, but here are the people they are turning away:

  1. People who will not eat meat because they are against animal slaughter.
  2. People who don’t eat meat because they don’t like the taste or they like fish or vegetables better.
  3. People who already have health problems (not necessarily obesity) and want to stay away from fatty food.
  4. Muslims who cannot eat food that is not “halal”.
  5. Jews who cannot eat food that is not “kosher”.
  6. Some Hindu/Buddhist communities who are vegetarians.
  7. People who belong to religions where meat eating is not allowed during certain days or months. The Lent period is an example.
  8. People who want something vegetarian, but which can satisfy their hunger (unlike a salad).
  9. People who are just not in the mood for meat.

How does this apply to business?

  1. When you introduce a new product, don’t just think about why you may want it, but why other people would want it. Also think about why other people may prefer something different from you.
  2. Same with introducing a new policy. In many situations, people accept a new policy for various reasons, including not sticking their neck out and getting fired. Figure out why they are agreeing with you and if, in fact, the agreement is full and unconditionally given.
  3. Play the devil’s advocate against your thinking so that you can come up with reasons why your ideas may not work as you imagine they would be.
  4. Surround yourself with trusted people who can sincerely and fearlessly provide negative reasons against your actions.
  5. Don’t dismiss something quickly just because you don’t think the same way. Test the concept with different people.

{ 3 comments }

Jughead April 5, 2007 at 5:10 am

Good article.
I do agree with some of the management mantras – lets get to it a little later, but first I am not fully convinced of the example which you have taken: McDonalds (in the areas you are familiar with NH and MA)

1.McDonalds is taking all possible route to fight against obesity, such as introducing play places, R-Gyms etc., its not only the meat it is concentrating on to bring down obesity.

2.McDonald’s uses market research find out what targeted customers want. It then identifies the size of its market and whether it is growing or declining. By doing this it is able to provide products that can compete effectively. It also looks into factors like economic, legal, technological and social changes and assesses how these might affect the market. It also looks at psychological factors for buying, such as branding, enjoyment and other additional benefits that it can give a customer.

3.Out of 1,272,486 population, only 1.02% constitutes of Muslims and Jews (roughly around 3000 and 10000 respectively) and out of these how may would prefer going to MC, People who prefer Halal would rather go to “The Spice Center deli and meat shop” (the store is in the shopping plaza at the corner of Valley and Maple, diagonally across the street from the temporary mosque) which is the only (as far as the information I have) store in NH offering food that is halal, or meets Islamic dietary law. Among 10K (rough count)Jews, the majority consider themselves Conservative or Reform. Orthodox and Hasidic Jews, who follow most closely the laws of kosher, family purity and the celebration of the Sabbath, are an even smaller fraction. One cannot expect a major food chain introduce or cater to very smaller percent of the customers. Same holds true for Hindu/Buddhists, Vegetarians; there are 26 odd pure vegetarian outlets in NH – people would rather prefer to go there even if MC served more vegetarian dishes.

Let’s get into business angles:-

1.When introducing a new product, in my view, these are the things I would be considering:-
a.Whom the product is targeted to?
b.Does the product have all the features for the intended audience?
c.How do I brand it?
d.What should be my ‘Go to market’ plan?
e.Do I have a considerable number of targeted audiences in the locality where I plan to release the product?
f.If the locality is new to me, can I get some tie up arrangement to market the product?
g.Does the time/season suit to start the roll out of the product?

So on and so forth…..

The rest I am on full agreement.

Krishna April 5, 2007 at 11:07 am

@jughead. Thanks for your detailed comments. It was very interesting to know more about the market research of McDonalds and your perspectives on introducing a new product.

I agree with many of your points. It perhaps does make financial and logistic sense for the decisions by McDonalds depending on the estimated customers.

My primary point is that there is too much focus on McDonalds vs obesity, whereas there are other customers who are possibly turned away. I will post a detailed post on this.

Jughead April 5, 2007 at 11:29 am

@Krishna: Thanks for acknowledgement. By the way about your primary point ("My primary point is that there is too much focus on McDonalds vs obesity")
It is because McDonald's is reacting to the threat of litigation as more consumers (finally) begin to see a link between what they eat and health problems caused by obesity. Starting from 2002 (check this out http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2502431.stm)

Happy Posting.

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