Most of us know about Pavlov’s experiments with dogs where he used a bell to implant an associative memory (in very simple terms, the dog associated the sound of the bell with food, and would salivate in anticipation of it being served).

Reading more deeply about Pavlov recently, I became aware of some of his other experiments, including using shapes rather than sounds.

The dog was trained to salivate when shown a circle and to stop when shown a narrow oval shape.

Over time, Pavlov changed the shape of the oval, making it more circular at each stage.

At the point where the difference between the circle and oval was marginal, not only did the dog become highly agitated, it also became irritated and then ignored Pavlov completely.

Are you unwittingly doing the same with your team, customers and prospects?

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