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BOOK - Enterprise Transformation - A Pragmatic Approach Using POET


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The Halo Effect is the idea that our overall impression of a person can be based on one trait about them. However, For example, if someone has a likeable personality, people might find that person’s other qualities more appealing.

In a recent experiment, a man made two videos for a dating website. In the first video, he read the script in an upbeat manner, whereas in the second, he read the same script in a more melancholy fashion. The first video was given to a one group of girls and the second was given to another group, who watched the video in a separate room. The girls who watched the upbeat video found the man to be likeable, while the girls who watched the second video found the man to be unpleasant, even though he had read the exact same script.

However, this halo effect can also be applied to things and is heavily used in the presentation of products as well as people, using a lot of style to either detract from or cover up the substance. For example, the picture above of a group of smiling women. Very happy, laughing, studying, chatting and generally having a good time. Interestingly, this is the main image used on the website.

Yarl’s Wood is a secure Immigration Detention Centre in the UK where people who have been arrested for being illegally in the UK are taken and held under lock and key before they are deported.

Style over substance favours how things look and a general feeling of happiness over anything else. It is synonymous with the outside world where celebrity and presentation has grown to outshine any fundamental value. The whole world seems consumed with how things look.

“It’s not what you say but how you say it”

This trait generally means that no one wants to rock the boat and differences of opinions and confrontations are to be avoided at all costs - regardless of the detriment to the Enterprise.

If people are mediocre, ineffective or inefficient at their jobs, then this tends to be tolerated so long as they are always happy and get on with people, smile a lot and are the “life and soul of the party” (of course there are limits but the general point stands) but if someone points this out (and by doing so annoys them) then this is not tolerated.


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Questions to ponder...

Do people in your Enterprise favour style over substance?

Can you think of examples where this has happened in the past?

Who were they? What was the impact? Why do you think they acted in this way?

What needs to change to reduce the likelihood of it happening in the future?

Who needs to drive that change?

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