5 Minutes With… Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki has a lot of ideas. So many ideas, in fact, that he recently published his 10th book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. His other books include The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He is cofounder of Alltop.com, an aggregate of headlines of the latest stories from the most popular sites and blogs, organized by topic. He is also a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Kawasaki first established himself as an idea guy when he was chief evangelist of Apple in the 1980s. Our Daria Meoli recently spoke with Kawasaki about auditing yourself, marketing advice for sexying up your dry cleaning business, and a few other ideas.

Daria Meoli: When you talk about enchantment, what do you mean?

Guy Kawasaki: I mean a process of creating deep, delightful, mutually beneficial, and voluntary relationships with people.

DM: What do people often get wrong when trying to develop these kinds of relationships?

GK: Many people ask others to do what they themselves would not do. One example is when companies make people jump through hoops online, like going through CAPTCHA and asking them to decipher indecipherable characters to prove they’re not robots. But how many of those people who put the policy in place enjoy that process when they’re registering for something? Hard to imagine that many of them do. In Enchantment, the book starts with two very basic chapters about likeability and trustworthiness. Likeability starts with a great smile, a great handshake, and appropriate dress. Though they are duh’isms, many people don’t do them. In fact, most people don’t do them.

DM: Aside from the handshake, appropriate dress, and a great smile, is there another takeaway that business owners can implement today to become more enchanting?

GK: One thing they could do is conduct an audit of themselves to determine if they are enchanting their own employees. I think the best way to enchant employees is to provide what I call a “MAP.” The M stands for mastery. In other words, are you enabling your employees to master new skills and become better employees? The A is for autonomy. Are you enabling employees to work independently, or are you breathing down their necks? And the P stands for purpose. Is the purpose of your organization simply to make a buck? Or, are you trying to do higher, loftier things, like make the world a better place or increase people’s creativity and productivity? It’s a good little self-examination test anyone can do.

DM: Developing this type of enchantment may be easy for sexy companies like Apple or Zappos, but how can the rest of us create this kind of relationship with our customers?

GK: Sexiness is a state of mind. You could have an enchanting dry cleaner; why not? What would an enchanting dry cleaner have? First of all, it would have competitive prices. You’d have a very easy drop-off system, maybe a 24-hour slot like a library, so you don’t have to go between 8:00am and 6:00pm. If you push the edge, a dry cleaner could have a very interesting Twitter feed. The feed would include promotion every once in a while; but it could be links to articles about clothing, or about a designer’s new fall line. At the Proctor & Gamble site, they explain how to use Tide to remove bloodstains, for example. It’s just a matter of perspective.