Have a bold new idea to improve performance at your store? Look for a way to present it as coming from far away, like an Icelandic design firm, a best-selling French business consultant or an innovative Turkish goldsmith (and not inspired by a suggestion from your spouse, which may have been the case). A recent study by management scholar Jennifer Mueller found that when an idea’s presented as originating from a great distance, people picture it in the abstract: they grasp the gist, focus on the end goal, and appreciate the ingenuity. When it’s described as coming from nearby, they zoom in on detailed practicalities and imagine all the potential problems. It’s why employees (and friends) will listen sympathetically to an outside consultant’s ideas or something they found in a book, but if it comes from you … they only see reasons it won’t work.


This article originally appeared in the February 2018 edition of INSTORE.

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