What do you do as a parent if you wake up one day and realize you have an ugly baby? The Urban Dictionary defines the Ugly Baby Syndrome as “refers to females who -.because something belongs to them, or they created something (a baby) — cannot step back and see that it is hideous-looking and repulsive to most everyone else (and especially men) who look at the same thing.”
Business Development groups face the same dilemma when they realize they have an ugly product. Much time and effort has gone into a product. The market has shown little or no interest. The process is much like the 5 Stages of Grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
- Denial — The reality of loss is hard to face. One of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial. The person is trying to shut out the reality or magnitude of their situation, and begin to develop a false reality. “My product is great.”
- Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?” Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Anger can manifest itself in different ways. People can be angry with themselves, or with others, and especially those who are close to them. “The market is wrong. They are all wrong. I just have not found the right market yet.”
- Bargaining — “I’ll do anything to keep it alive for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings to bring this product to market.” The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow undo or avoid a cause of grief. They will use anything valuable as a bargaining chip against another human agency to extend or prolong the life of the product. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution. At best it temporarily puts wind in the sails but is short lived. “If we just had it in purple, I would sell out.” “Let’s put wheels on it.”
- Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “Business has changed so much, what’s the point?”; “I miss the good old days, the wild west of product introduction, why go on?”; “No one is willing to look at new ideas anymore.” Depression could be referred to as the dress rehearsal for the ‘aftermath’. It is a kind of acceptance with emotional attachment. It is natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage. Feeling those emotions shows that the person has begun to accept the situation. “I just don’t understand the way to bring a product to market these days.” “Three years ago, this product would have been a hit, just not today.”
- Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “Perhaps everyone is correct.” In this last stage, individuals begin to come to terms with the inevitable future. This typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable mindset. “We have a great product line. That one didn’t work. Let’s look at some other new product ideas.”
Once the grieving process has run its course and acceptance has been achieved, the Business Development group can begin to plot their next steps.
It has been said that, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I would like to add that, Ugly is universal. It pays to recognize it and move forward.
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