Storytelling with Slegehammer

Tell me and I’ll forget;

Show me and I may remember;

Involve me and I’ll understand.

Chinese Proverb


If you want people to “get it” (whatver it is), what’s the best way to convey your message?

A recent article in Fortune magazine profiled Zhan Ruimin.

Have you ever heard of Qingdao Refigerator Factory?

Probably not.

Have you ever seen a refrigerator or freezer that says Haier?

I have one in my house.

Ruimin is the CEO of Haier. (The newer, rebranded Qingdao.)

When he took over Qingdao, he was faced with a tough reality.

The company made terrible refrigerators.

Even worse:  no one in the company seemed to mind.

Ruimin knew he needed to send a powerful new message to his organization:  Poor Quality will Not Be Tolerated.

How best to do it?

He pulled 76 defective refrigerators from the line.

He called an all staff meeting.

He gave everyone a sledgehammer.

He told them to destroy every single one of the lousy machines.

Since then (in 1984), Ruimin has expanded Haier into air conditioners, washing machines, and stoves.

To Ruimin’s credit, Haier is one of the few Chinese companies that has been built into a competitive global brand.

He’s considered one of Asia’s top entrepreneurs.

Ruimin knows that the key to effective change  is people.

What changes are you making?

What message do you want your people to get?

What’s the most effective tool to convey that message?

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