My dad always had this concept he called the Balance of Benefits.
He always liked to simplify things and this was the basis of his concept. No matter what he was doing, he always looked at both sides of the equation. If both sides of a deal weren’t finding an equal give and take of advantages, then something was wrong.
Furthermore, no one should finalize a deal that isn’t equally beneficial to both parties. When that happened, one side would become taken advantage of or unhappy. It could work in any part of life, with the benefits not always being financial.
A few simple examples of how he looked at the Balance of Benefits in action:
1. Employer / Employee
2. Company / Customer or Consumer
3. Business / Vendor
4. Coach / Player
5. Husband / Wife
6. Pet Owner / Pet
7. Government / The Governed
8. Friend / Friend
And so on. It was very simple.
Dad was in sales and he too often saw salesmen get caught up in meeting their own quotas. When they weren’t looking at how the customer was going to benefit or looked at only how they would benefit, they would lose the deal.
Sometimes, they were going after the wrong customer and lost the sale because it was just irrelevant to the customer. That time, effort and rejection could have been saved from the start by going after those who would truly benefit on the other end of the handshake.
As a kid, my version of the Balance of Benefits was way more globally extended. I stretched the concept in my imagination to include aliens and Earth (obviously). “No wonder aliens wouldn’t be interested in contacting us,” I thought, “we have nothing to offer them.”
“But what about an alien invasion?”, I continued. “What if we as humans didn’t have anything to offer them, but our planet did?” Countries might disagree and go to war now, but maybe not if there was a threat bigger than the nations themselves. Then the benefits of working together against a common enemy (and saving the very life on Earth that was squabbling before) would outweigh any benefits of fighting aliens on their own.
I was certain that if NATO focused on possible alien invasion scenarios, then we could find what was really important for world peace.
Since then, I’ve developed a more practical and less alien-involved look at my dad’s Balance of Benefits. It’s helped me simplify multi-platform projects into one concept: why is the consumer going to be interested in this?
Instead of saying, ‘this is what we do and it’s super cool and we’re going to do it for you’, let’s think about what we do as tools to get our consumer’s goals accomplished. They may not need every tool in the shed. The tools they do need, though, must be sharp.
There are too many powerpoint presentations with stats and facts and cool graphics, too many charismatic persuaders without substance and certainly too many focused on “entering the conversation in social media”.
All those things might be necessary - but only if the end result benefits your consumer. And if it’s not benefitting your consumer, it’s not necessary.
It’s as simple as that.