Rotting on the Inside?

What Good is Being Rotten on the Inside?


I saw a play at the Galway Theatre Festival this week ‘What Good Is Looking Well When You’re Rotten On The Inside?’ by Emma O’Grady.   It was a play ‘in development’ put together by the theatre maker herself and based on the writings and recordings of her late grandfather Paddy O’Grady. 

Paddy O’Grady was an interesting man – full of character, full of words.  He wrote four plays during his long life.  He also recorded 14 cassette tapes of stories about his life, one month before he passed away.  Nothing was ever released for public consumption.

The aim of the play was twofold:  Firstly, it was a tribute from a granddaughter who seemed to have much loved and admired her grandfather, his way with words and his ability to tell a story.  Secondly, it was a warning to anybody in the process of putting talent to waste – as she witnessed her grandfather had done.

There’s a scene in the play where Emma shouts something like ‘why should I be the one doing this work?  What were you doing your whole life?  You HAD TIME!  Why am I being the midwife to your words, getting my hands bloody and dirty, to bring them to life?  Why didn’t you do what you were supposed to do?’


The play made one think.  Sometimes, we make excuses.  Excuses for not doing what we know we are meant to be doing in life.  We say we’re too busy.  We’re scared of failure.  We don’t advance as souls, as ‘whole’ people.  We think it won’t work out so we don’t bother trying.  The years pass by, and opportunities befall us.  One day we realise, we never lived the life we were meant to live.  Our chance has passed – just like Emma’s grandfather.

Interesting.  But how does this relate to my business?

Brands and organisations are like people too.  They have their own fears, their own shoulds, shouldn’ts, coulds and mustn’ts.    Sometimes, businesses, organisations, groups, councils and governing bodies of all types fail to take the leaps that are indicated for them.  They do not move forwards, because they are not sure that moving forwards will work. 

Sometimes, when organisations consider investing in research to determine how to move forwards, the investment can seem too risky.  There is no way of seeing what the research will bring.  What if there’s no return?  What if the research does not reveal anything new?  What if the feedback is negative?  What if it says we shouldn’t be in business at all?!!

Magic Wands


As people, we have no magic wand for ourselves.  Some people are never sure what it is they want to do with their lives.  They don’t know what they were ‘born to do.’  Some end up seeking psychics and tarot card readers to give them a helping hand.  At the end of the day, as a human being, it’s only you who cares if you’re living your purpose.  

Businesses are different.  There are many people involved in the success of a business.  There are many people who care. 

And there IS a magic wand.

Establishing what needs to blossom, develop and grow within an organisation is the job of its members – and the magic wand that enables this is research.

Why invest in a magic wand?

A thorough qualitative research design will always tell you something new.   Thinking around and defining your objectives in a clear way will ensure that you have the right questions.  Having the right questions means that you will get answers that will be actionable and constructive.

Qualitative Research can tell you where you can win, and where you may lose.  It can tell you more about your actual and/or potential customer base – not from the results of yes/no answers to questions asked through robotic-sounding surveys made on Google, but by interpreting real emotional responses from the people who matter. 

Ready to blossom from the inside?


If you would like to discuss a research brief – whether that’s to think around the most constructive research questions, to know the best methodology to use, or to analyse something you have already discovered and make it actionable, please do get in touch.   I would love to hear from you.

Everyday Rituals

New Year Resolutions or Every Day Rituals?


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New Year is the time when people make strong, fearless resolutions, determined to change their lives for the better.  It’s when we all decide to become stronger, fitter, healthier, more organised, kinder, more sensitive and, well, more like the people we want to be.  It’s also when many people finally decide to get engaged, tie the knot, or in some cases, finally get that divorce rolling.


Rituals and MOTs

Of course, it’s important to have the ritual of New Year to remind us about the importance of checking in on ourselves, as well as the fact that without an end to the year, life would be just one continuous trek up a very steep hill!

Any sort of personal ritual can act a bit like an MOT (Irish: NCT) – a writing down of what needs doing in order to be where we want to be, or give the performance that we want to give.  A ritual can also be a symbolic burning of what no longer serves us and can free us up to put all of our energy into what really matters.

Just like a car or motorcycle, all individuals and all companies need this self-check from time to time in order to function effectively. Without it, we may suddenly find that we’re wearing ourselves into the ground, that something needs changing and we haven’t done it, and perhaps we’re not living the life we planned, nor managing processes as they need to be managed.

In many ways, though, it’s a shame that we wait for the MOT/NCT date to come around before we start planning to make such necessary changes in our lives or our businesses. If only every day were as symbolic as the New Year, perhaps our lives would be less chaotic, more harmonious and more conducive to our ultimate goals.


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Grand Promises


It is perhaps this build-up and waiting for symbolic times, dates and reminders, that makes our resolutions to ourselves so grandiose and so destined for failure. If we don’t say it now, then will we say it at all?!  I’ve seen countless ‘new year bucket lists’ on Facebook in 2017, as well as hearing things like ‘it’s the year I’m getting pregnant,’ ‘I’m planning on turning over 100k this year,’ ‘it’s the year I visit such a place,’ ‘it’s our last chance to be successful,’ ‘I’m going to lose 3 stone,’ ‘I’ll finally get my dream job,’ or ‘I’m finally going to buy a house in the country and move up north!’


In 2013, Dan Diamond from Forbes told us that only 8% of people achieve their NY resolutions, due to both the number and the extreme nature of the resolutions they set.  I would add to this that the reason so many resolutions fail is that they consist of great, huge promises that really could be re-framed as simple everyday changes.

Results Hidden in Simplicity


Back to the MOT. Something big and expensive might need changing in the car in order for it to pass the legal test. But it’s the way we drive the car every day that has the most impact on what is going to need changing. If we’re accelerating then hammering on the brakes every two minutes, or driving with the handbrake on, it’s going to have an effect!
If we want this year to turn over a decent profit, then we need to change our everyday habits to make that happen. If we want this year to see better working relationships within our organisation, then we need to start creating better relationships ourselves (as well as with ourselves!), and if we want to lose weight, then we need to change our diet long term in a way that suits us and will make us happy in the long run, instead of depriving ourselves for two weeks only to put the weight back on a month later!


Organisational Rituals


Individuals are not unique in creating rituals that don’t serve us in the long run. Rituals can also be observed in companies who, for example, ‘use up’ all of their market research or marketing budget at the end of the accounting year on ‘any old focus groups’ (usually calling it something different!) or those who only get things in order when an audit happens, or when a new manager is arriving!
Obviously, these actions do serve the company in many ways, but what if market research were used optimally throughout the year to create real lasting change? Or if procedures were smooth throughout the year and the right people immediately knew how to answer auditors, all of the time?



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Creating Rituals, Every Day

The secret to success is in the everyday habits, rituals and relationships that you create for yourself or your company. Make this year a successful one, by creating daily habits that serve you in the long run, instead of grandiose resolutions that may be setting you up for failure.


If you would like to conduct some research in order to identify where you could allocate marketing spend most effectively throughout the year, or if you’d like to book in a workshop session to learn how to create smoother relationships within your company, please get in touch.  I coordinate and work internationally on qualitative research projects for large and small businesses, as well as offering relationship workshops for companies.