The 3H Principle: Using the Head, Heart and the Hand to CreateBreakthrough Experiences

By Rajiv Jayaraman|15th Mar 2012
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There are frameworks aplenty in the field of management – 4Ps for marketing, the BCG matrix for portfolio planning, Porter’s 5 forces for understanding industry attractiveness, to name a few. As a management professor, I feel a sense of moral obligation and an irresistible urge to add to this list. I know some of you look down upon frameworks and frown at MBAs who use boxes and arrows to make a decision. To me, frameworks are an easy way to remember the obvious and sometimes, the not-so-obvious.

I would like to share with you, a very simple framework that I use to make a lot of key decisions at KNOLSKAPE, the company that I am the Founder & CEO of. I am calling it the 3H principle. Now what are the 3 Hs? Head, Heart and Hand.

Let me explain with a few examples.

  1. As a startup leader, you have introduced a strikingly innovative product in the market. You approach a client with a brand new idea and make a fancy presentation. After trying to understand your product for an hour, the client politely declines to part with his money. You come back disillusioned and attribute the failure of the pitch to your client’s crummy mindset.Backstage: Human beings are sense making creatures. We feel insecure about things that we don’t understand and we have a deep fear of the unknown. That explains why we often resist disruptive innovations that promise a better future even when the status quo is terrible. In this scenario, the client did not understand the mental model of your new approach. It is highly unlikely that someone accepts a change without cognitively getting comfortable with it. Your presentation failed because of lack of emphasis on the first H, the head. You failed to cross the chasm of the head.
  2. You have recently hired a top notch programmer for your start-up. He is one of sharpest knives in your startup’s kitchen and is incredibly fast in execution. After about 2 months, you find his productivity plummet. His body language suggests that he is physically drained and cannot muster any more energy to produce high quality software. In your regular 1x1 meeting, he tells you that he finds it hard to motivate himself for going that extra mile. You cannot fathom why such a smart person will have a problem with a touchy feely thing like motivation and you attribute his failure to lack of ambition.Backstage: Beyond just money and position, your team mates look for meaning in their work. It is through the meaning and the impact we are producing that a large part of our self-identity is created. Your team mate failed not because of lack of ambition but because you failed to bridge the chasm in his heart. He didn’t feel connected with the epic adventure that you are in and doesn’t share the same passion that you have for the business. In essence, there was a lack of emphasis on the second H, the heart. You failed to cross the chasm of the heart.
  3. One year into the startup, you realize that your old business model doesn’t really excite your customers. You decide to change it fundamentally. In the all-hands meeting, you unveil the new plan to your team. The new plan entails a drastic change in the internal processes and the team needs to unlearn the old and learn the new way of doing things. Luckily for you, your team mates are extremely energetic and embrace new ideas quickly. They promise to put their muscle behind the change. You feel elated. Very soon, however, the feeling of elation vanishes and bad news starts rolling in. Customer satisfaction takes a nose dive and you start losing valuable customers. You attribute the recent failures to your team’s inability to cope with drastic change. You start feeling that your team is losing its edge as a startup and the agility is no longer there.Backstage: Drastic change is always a tough thing to manage. While the heart and the head may be ready for change, it takes time for the hand to achieve mastery. As Malcolm Gladwell puts it, it is only through deliberate practice that one achieves mastery in any domain. In this scenario, the good news is that you have a motivated team. It is not enough, however, if just the head and the heart are in place. The hand needs to be ready to act. You have to be patient and support your team to equip itself with the right skills to deal with the new paradigm. The failure in this case is due to your lack of attention to the third H, the Hand.

Creating breakthrough experiences for your customers

Creating a simple scoring mechanism for the 3Hs for your customers will give you a good sense of how to create a breakthrough experience for them.


Creating breakthrough experiences for your team

Creating a simple scoring mechanism for the 3Hs for your team members during performance appraisals will give you a good sense for what to focus on for their development.

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