Turn your liabilities into assets

Your Most Priceless PossessionYears ago I led a seminar on how to have a positive attitude at work. In the text, “Attitude: Your Most Priceless Possession,” author Elwood Chapman,suggests employing the “Flipside Technique.”

The concept is to take something not commonly considered good and reframe it as a positive, injecting a dose of humor when necessary. I’m using this concept on a client project. But before I share it, let me give you some examples.

  • Motivational speaker Art Berg was grateful he broke his neck as it made him reach deep for inner resources he might not have otherwise tapped. He used humor in his talks to illustrate how he learned to stretch beyond what he thought was possible.
  • VW BeetleVintage VW Beetle commercials promoted how small is beautiful, how economical Beetles were, and how the diminutive car was perfect for those who didn’t march in lockstep with everyone else. One ad’s caption said, “It makes your house look bigger.” Another, “Live below your means.” It took what would be considered drawbacks — smallness, low price and ugliness and turned them into assets.
  • Southwest AirlinesSouthwest Airlines turned no frills — including no meals nor reserved seats — into a competitive advantage. Their ads and staff approach their limitations with humor and fun. It allows them to keep their prices low, which they tout in their marketing.

My client, the facilities department for a large company, is working on fun ways to counter complaints they can do little about. They can’t make everyone happy about office temperature. So we’re playing with designing posters that suggest the top 10 things to do if you’re too hot in your office, such as wearing your bathing suit at work, soaking your feet in a tub of ice and using the company phone directory as a fan.

We’ll also work on some top 10 lists for when you’ll too cold, and other common issues. We’ll follow the list on the poster with something like, “While this list is tongue in cheek, we take your comfort at work seriously. While we can’t fix everything to meet every person’s preferences, we’ll do our best to make your environment suitable for you. Please call or email us when you have a issue with which we can help.”

How can you apply this to your situations? Take what you think of as a liability and turn it into asset

  • Lack of close parking near your business — You’ll get an extra workout when you visit us, and with no gym fee.
  • Few staff — Gives you extra time to browse.
  • Long hold times — Use it to clean out your desk or email.

What do you consider a liability and how could you Flipside it? Share your examples.

2 thoughts on “Turn your liabilities into assets”

  1. I have a small example from a product my partner bought: We’re both in our 40s, with the attendant graying hair, and I noticed a brand she bought called “Silver Expressions”. What was great is that they turned a culturally-promoted liability (gray hair) into an asset (beautiful silver hair). Very smart. Reminds me of a nice creativity approach from the great book “Why not?” – Would flipping it work (SYMMETRY)?

    Thanks for the blog – I’m enjoying your posts.

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