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Similar Packaging Might Mean Trouble

By Joey Havens

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My younger sister Mitzi (Mom and Pop Joe’s favorite child) has provided us lots of joy, love, and LAUGHS over the years (you may remember her new mixer last year). Now I will be the first to admit that after raising me and Mike, I completely understand why a sweet, caring daughter might be the favorite, as we like to joke.

On this year’s annual Havens Beach Retreat, Mitzi provided us with another one of her funny moments. I’m having coffee on the deck with Mom and Pop Joe as we watch the waves roll onto the beach — the sounds of the waves and the birds flying around made for a peaceful moment.

Our peaceful moment quickly turned into laughter as Mitzi came out on the deck brushing her teeth.
She suddenly realized she had put sunscreen on her toothbrush rather than toothpaste. I have never brushed my teeth with sunscreen, but I got the picture.

While we were laughing, she brought out the toothpaste and sunscreen tubes to show us how similar they were.

I want to make sure I never buy sunscreen that looks like my toothpaste.

Maybe there’s a leadership lesson here. In today’s quickly changing world, we see many similar technology tools, especially in the presentation/sales mode. It’s only when we get them “out of the tube” that we find the missing functions, malfunctions, and connectivity issues.

Our opportunity is to pay attention before we buy — do our research, ask others for recommendations, test drive more, and maybe for longer. We need our radar up early and often for red flags. Problems in the demo likely indicate a less-than-smooth road ahead. Comments like, “Yes, we can build that in,” or “We can fix that,” almost always come with some future pain.

The number of similar technology tools in similar packaging is only going to accelerate. Our due diligence has to be better and more thorough. Beware of chasing eutopia.

That said, we are wise to embrace new technology and tools and be aggressive in anticipating the ones that help change our business model to serve our people and customers better.

For young and old team members, the opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn the functionality and power of technology tools will make you distinctive and valuable. Squeeze the tube hard. Just make sure you read the label first.

CeCe, did we bring any sunscreen?

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