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As humans we’re good at abstraction. In the developed world we share an understanding that a red light means stop, something that people who had never seen cars or roads wouldn’t understand. This tricks us into believing that we understand complicated areas, such as customers’ true motivations for buying things, by looking at PowerPoint charts prepared by someone who went and spoke to them on our behalf.
But charts don’t ever really give us a true view of our world, and if we don’t like them we tend to argue or ignore them.
Business leaders need to get out of their offices, meeting customers themselves. When they do, they respond like the human being they are, interpreting the vast flow of rich data about the other person’s feelings, suspicions, hopes and doubts intuitively, accurately and as a result in ways that they ‘get’, believe and act on.