We spent all day in a room together. There were four of us with little in common except for the reason we were there.
One a Cincinnati Reds’ fan, one from Kansas City where I once lived, and one who worked with a buddy of mine named Jeff. Within a few minutes we had common ground and we were new friends.
Interesting, isn’t it? In relationships we build on ramps instinctively, but in our programming we assume that everyone speaks our language.
We assume they know Tobias McKeehan and would really dig two pieces of cardboard to his gig. We assume they know Jeremy Camp as much as summer camp. We assume they use ‘praise’ as a noun and ‘worship’ as a verb.
“The Curse of Knowledge”* is when those with knowledge find it impossible to even imagine what it’s like without that knowledge. Smart companies understand that blind spot so they design common ground in.
There is a reason cast members at Disney wear name tags with their home town. “‘You’re from Transylvania? We went there on our honeymoon!” A conversation is designed in.
You can build on ramps into the design or you can be like the church that greats its visitors in the parking lot with suspicion:
Everything we do sends a message.
“Where you consistently begin and what you consistently assume determine who consistently shows up. Why? Because your assumptions create the common ground for the journey.” Andy Stanley, Deep and Wide
*”The Curse of Knowledge” is from Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick”
John Frost, consultant and partner in Goodratings Strategic Services, has been an integral influence in the dramatic growth of Contemporary Christian radio, bringing mainstream programming strategies and research principles to help create and develop some of America’s most successful Christian music stations.