Trust lies on the threshold of transparency. As leaders we are cognizant of the perceptions created by our words and actions beginning with the very vision that inspires them. We continually aspire to earn the trust and respect of those who choose to pursue the vision with us. We also recognize that we may quickly undermine those efforts and lose the support of our team when our intentions are not aligned in kind.
Organizations struggling to embrace and integrate change into the fabric of their culture may also find themselves lacking transparency, integrity, and ultimately trust. The world is not as it is but how it is perceived and the same is true for leadership. It is now common place in many companies to use 360 degree reviews as part of the performance appraisal process to better understand how we are perceived by our leaders, our peers, and those reporting to us.
In a parallel context, we as customers rely on the integrity of the companies that serve our needs in the form of products and services they provide. We expect, with a certain naiveté, that the company’s best intentions are to ensure that we are satisfied with our purchases. We want to trust that our needs, not those of the company, are first and foremost when we part with our hard-earned cash to pay for the solutions they have to offer.
Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
– Walter Scott, Marmion (1808), Canto VI. Stanza 17
Perhaps I’m being a bit petty but I have a pet peeve when it comes to the marketing strategy for some apps in the App Store. It’s the typical and annoying marketing strategy replete with hook, line, and sinker to push sales and up-sell consumers. Here’s just one recent example and the thinking that follows:
Hook: Editor’s Choice, 2012 App of the Year, (Productivity). A product doesn’t just become an editor’s choice. Clearly, there must be some value in the app to be considered for such an honour considering the incredible number of apps in the App Store. One would also expect that the “editor’s choice” would be echoed by the community of people who have used the app as well.
Line: It’s FREE. What could be better than a free app? Especially the very one that happens to be the “Editor’s Choice” and the “2012 App of the Year.”
Sinker: Of course, we quickly learn that nothing in life is free. This is especially true in this case where the app’s “Essentials” will cost you $6.99. Yes, they can be purchased at our discretion, however, they almost become immediately necessary for the app to be truly useful.
I am sensitive to the fact that many people will question whether something is really free and have often considered charging a nominal fee for the free OEE templates that we offer from our downloads page and the sidebar “box” widget. Copies of our offering are downloaded every day, around the world, free of charge – no strings attached and no obligations. Many have asked me why and I simply relate to them the story of the difficulties we endured when we tried to take OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) to the next level. While our solution is simple, our intentions are to impart the knowledge we gained to allow others to educate and make informed decisions for themselves.
I didn’t mention the specific name of the app referenced above or the name of its developer but, if you’re a frequent visitor to Apple’s App Store, you’ll be able to figure it out fairly quickly. Does the app function as advertised? The short answer is yes but, in my opinion the free version hardly qualifies for the endorsement it received. Evernote and DropBox seem to bring more to the table, especially where cross-platform functionality is becoming a more predominant feature of today’s core apps.
Some of the reviews state that the price of the upgrades are a concern and the cash value of the app is of greater benefit for the developer than the product is for the user. Fortunately, the price and necessity for these apps is discovered in a relatively short period of time. There is likely to be a tipping point where the time vested in a project would increase the need or desire to purchase the upgrades. Of course, not everyone takes the time to submit a review and I’m quite certain that enough negative reviews will prompt an upgrade to wipe the slate clean.
Tell It Like It Is
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not opposed to companies making money, however, I don’t have much time for those with a “hidden” agenda. If the benefits outweigh the price, then clearly state the cost structure of your product or service. The process of discovering otherwise is somewhat underhanded and perceived as deceitful.
The bottom line: People who discover and realize they are being taken for a ride to the greater benefit of the owners and the leadership are less likely to buckle up and join you on the journey.
Until Next Time – STAY lean
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