August 10; The Wrong Combination Can Leave a Bad Taste
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Eight: Communication; 10 August

Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food?

Job 12:11

The Wrong Combination Can Leave a Bad Taste


The salt-water taffy candy tasted terrible. It was safe to eat and would hurt nothing but sales. And it was my fault.

Your (much younger) Business Professor did it on purpose. It started as a noble experiment but then devolved into a base prank.

One summer, I was working as a candy cook with two other bored confederates. We dreamed up a chemistry research project combining two of the five senses: color coordination and a taste response. No animals were hurt in this human testing.

Our hypothesis was simple, “If the taste and coloring were different, would the tongue “taste” what the eye saw? Or would the eye “see” what the tongue tasted?”

So we mis-mixed the purple coloring with the lemon flavoring, instead of with the grape additive.

And we combined the yellow lemon coloring with the grape flavoring. This produced a mix-message that tasted awful, or so I was told.

We dreamed of getting published in the Journal of Food Science. We later lost interest and I did the next best thing: I went into sales and marketing. (Who would think anything ‘salt-water’ would taste good? That’s marketing management.)

But we did prove the old sales training maxim that says, “A confused mind always says no.”

The taster had to think about it…and too much thinking, overthinking is dangerous.*

Positive is easy. Contra-indications are not. Mixed taste is a negative, the confusing the inconsistency takes a fraction of a second longer for the human mind to process. A positive can be processed fast. A negative takes longer.

Authors Gary Mack and David Casstevens wrote in their go-to sports psychology book, Mind Gym, that, “Doubts cause intellectual confusion. Doubts can be paralyzing.” (Gary Mack 2001)

The best managers will avoid the confusion of mixed messages and have one theme, one voice, and reduce risk for the good of the company and community. And marketers remind us that, “Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies…” (Godin 2009) p 10.

Unless you’re trying to cause trouble.

In the mid 1970s, IBM was noted for inducing fear, uncertainty and doubt, or FUD, into the decision process of buyers considering purchasing a competitive product. If a buyer had concerns about a computer company – even if those concerns were introduced by a competing vendor – the purchaser would slow down and then not consider a new supplier. August Turak, author of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, reminds us of the adage (promoted by IBM), “No one was ever fired for buying IBM.” (Turak 2014)

Purchasing agents were fearful of buying anything else. FUD at its finest.

Planning activities include the ability to, “Analyze current situation. Anticipate the future. Determine objectives. Decide on what actions to engage in. Choose a business strategy. Determine resources to achieve goals.” (Thomas S. Bateman 2013)

Planning is easy if you have a single objective, unless the cooks in the kitchen making fud(ge) take you in two different directions.

Does not the ear test words as the tongue tastes food? Job 12:11


*The over-thinking part was not dangerous to me. The mixed-up salt-water taffy tasted just fine. I am partially color-blind.


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