How does this make me a better…

May 20, 2015

I saw a children’s movie recently and came away – somewhat surprisingly – with a fantastic business hack.

Big-Hero-6-Wallpaper-big-hero-6-37679026-1280-720Big Hero 6, an action-packed comedy-adventure movie, features Baymax, a plus-sized robotic health care companion, and 14-year-old protagonist Hiro.

To fight evil, Hiro is always ramping up Baymax’s powers.  Every time he gives Baymax a new power, the robot’s first response is “How does this make me a better health care companion?”

It’s a lot funnier in the film and, of course, in a swashbuckling adventure, good triumphs over evil.

But Baymax echoes a cosmic question: How does this impact my identity and who I am?

This is much deeper and richer than the standard WIIFM (what’s in it for me), which might cause us to reel out a string of benefits.  It’s so much easier to wade in the shallows with a dim view of our audience, than to think about or articulate what really matters.  How this will impact their identity, their very being?

In their brilliant best seller Selfish, Scared and Stupid, behavioural strategists Gregory and Flanagan say whether you’re seeking to sell more product, shift perceptions and drive social change, or if you’re driven to lift the performance of your team or to inspire yourself to do more, you must first understand what drives behaviour.  And nothing drives behaviour more than identity: who I see myself as, what I want the world to see me as, and what I aspire to be seen as.

So the next time, start by asking yourself: How will this help my audience be a better (insert their identity here). It might be a better leader, better teacher, or better entrepreneur for example.  And design your message from the identity out, for maximum impact.

Please comment, I love hearing from you.


Dry facts and data fade from memory over time, but an engaging story is difficult to forget. In Hooked, communication and business storytelling experts Gabrielle Dolan and Yamini Naidu use real-world examples and proven, effective techniques to teach the skill of great business storytelling. They explain what good storytelling is, why business leaders need to learn it, how to create effective stories, and how to practice for perfection.

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