Anyone else think the Cirque du Soleil performance was one of few shining moments at last night’s Oscars? While 84-year-old Oscar arguably fell a little flat last night, Cirque – soaring above the Hollywood elite – seemed forever young. Who could know the organization is more than two decades old?
That consistent “freshness” is something Xerox CMO Christa Carone describes as the “secret sauce of Cirque” in her recent Forbes piece. Read more here for lessons from Carone on how big brands can be similarly remarkable and magical in their marketing.
Who doesn’t love TLC’s Extreme Couponing… But have you tried Expired Couponing? Come on, you know you’ve tried to get 50% off a second shampoo with last year’s coupon… How’d it turn out? Barbara Apple Sullivan, founder of the brand engagement firm Sullivan, thinks there’s a lesson to be learned in how expired coupons are handled. According to Barbara, the willingness to honor an outdated voucher largely depends on the cashier’s gender: Male cashiers will accept them. Female cashiers will not. (mental note for future trips to Walgreen’s)
So what gives?
Barbara suggests that the male/female divide in Expired Couponing might have larger applications in the business world:
Based on this “coupon test” and many years as a manager, I’d venture to say that, more often than not, women take action according to the letter of the law while men are more inclined to flout rules to be true to the spirit of the law. Women are rule followers and perfectionists. They want to be right. They dot I’s and cross T’s. But that is not always the way to win the war—particularly a war that’s being fought in a world of masculine values.
This purely anecdotal “research” may sound like a sexist generalization but I point it out because women who want to be leaders can start by recognizing what it means: Sometimes it’s not only okay to bend or break the rules – it’s critical to your professional success.
What do you think? Ever broken a rule in business? Did it turn out poorly or does it usually work to your benefit in the end?
Check out Barbara’s full article on Forbes.com here: Women and Rule-breaking: Why It’s Essential for Business Success