Jellyfish, Linnaeus and Business Success


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Greetings. Summer on the west coast of Sweden can be a magical time. Long and mild days filled with bright sun, gentle breezes and beautiful skies adorned with the most amazing clouds. A rugged and dramatic coastline dotted with several thousand rocky islands cleverly formed by the Ice Age. Endless miles of sea that is perfect for boating, kayaking, swimming and fishing–and that is amazingly warm considering a latitude of more than 58 degrees north. And scores of picturesque and often vibrant towns and villages to check out for a meal or an evening of music. So aside from a bit of rain and the limited value of the dollar this is an almost perfect place to spend a few weeks in the summer. Except for one thing that often casts its less than ideal spell over the coast.

Jellyfish. Orange jellyfish. Or “bränn maneter” as they are known in Swedish. Remarkable stinging creatures with powerful and long threads. A distant cousin of the friendly and touchable clear blue jellyfish that also inhabit these shores. And some summers they literally invade the coastline making it nearly impossible to get in the water. Or forcing the best of swimmers to rely on the breaststroke as the only way to swim and keep an eye out for the not-so-little buggers. But this summer, at least up until now, they are nowhere to be seen. Presumably way out at sea. Making the 70 degree water of this corner of the North Sea–also known as the Skagerrak–simply delightful. Though I worry that writing this post is likely to prompt their return. But who has time to be superstitious?

To give a bit of historical context, none other than Carl Linnaeus (aka, Carl von Linné) was the first person to write about these remarkable creatures. Linnaeus, the brilliant and renowned Swedish botanist, zoologist, physician, ecologist, scientist and ballroom dancer, earned his greatest fame by classifying a world of plants, animals and minerals with remarkable detail and insight in the middle of the 1700’s–detail and insight that is the foundation of much of modern botany. And in his travels along the west coast of Sweden he noted that this would be the most perfect of places if not for the presence of bränn maneter.

They are the one thing people like least about this place.

Which begs the question: “What is the one thing people like least about doing business with you and your company or organization?” The one thing that makes their life most difficult. The one thing that is most irritating or hardest for them to navigate. The one thing that if you could eliminate it or send it out to sea would make you the very best at what you do. And that’s your challenge. To use your genius and skill at innovation to take your business to the next level.

We win in business and in life when we understand the one thing that really bother our customers. So they can enjoy the brilliance all around them.


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Alan Gregerman
Alan Gregerman is an award-winning author, consultant and keynote speaker who has been called "one of the most original thinkers in business today" and "the Robin Williams of business consulting." His work focuses on helping companies and organizations to unlock the genius in all of their people in order to deliver the most compelling value to their customers.


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