Business Lesson 3 from Mr. Blandings

There are countless business lessons embedded in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948).

An especially enjoyable one features Mrs. Blandings (Myrna Loy), as she explains her color preferences to the painting contractor.

The dialogue is priceless:
Now I want the living room to be a soft green. Not quite as bluish as a robin’s egg, but yet not as yellow as daffodil buds … It should just be sort of a grayish yellow green …
As Mrs. Blandings and the painter move through the house, she continues to describe her choices:
The kitchen’s to be white. Not a cold, antiseptic hospital white – a little warmer but not to suggest any other color but white.
And so it goes. In each room, she hands close-but-not-quite-right color samples to the painter, which he's supposed to match. He accepts the samples, makes listening noises and jots notes in his notebook.

After Mrs. Blandings walks away, the painter turns to his assistant and asks, “Got it, Charlie?” Charlie points to each room and replies, “Green, yellow, blue, white, red.”

What’s the lesson? Actually, there are several.

Mrs. Blandings, the customer, has developed a detailed picture in her mind of how things will look when the painting is completed. Her vivid descriptions reveal the time, thought and energy she’s invested in this inner vision.

The painter has listened, processed the information and come up with his interpretation: green, yellow, blue, white, red. He’s grasped the gist of the message but lost the nuance.

Closing this customer-provider communications gap isn’t easy. It takes time, energy, effort and an ongoing, evolving dialogue that reveals the customer’s inner vision and uncovers potential solutions.

Why? Because one-size-fits-all answers are easy but often miss the mark.

Clear, precise and effective communications are both the challenge and the solution. The best and most successful product and service providers understand this pivotal truth.


Business Lesson 1 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 2 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 4 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 5 from Mr. Blandings
Business Lesson 6 from Mr. Blandings

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