Culture, Communication and Learning for thriving in times of change

It started with a … match

Posted by juttajerlich on 24. August 2016

Learning is great. In fact learning is a life time task. There are some things you can only learn by doing. Good education and training focus on exactly that.

Here is a story from a challenge participants were given in the worldclass mentorship programIndustry Rockstar – to really understand how negotiating for value makes you feel.

This is how it works:
You start with a match and go out on the streets, in stores or wherever you desire to exchange that match for something of higher value. After that you do the same with the object you got. And you keep on going for a certain amount of time. Or until you decide to stop.

Martin Match

From a match to a lantern … Creating Value.

There is an old expression where I come from, and you may have something similar where you are. It’s something about knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Surely it would be better to understand or see the value despite the cost? And does the price tag indicate the value? Probably not in my recent experience.

Anyway … what is value?

A few days ago in Zurich I found myself in a group of 30 started with a match in my hands.

It was actually a very small match and intrinsically held no value at all, unless it was the last match held by Winston Churchill as he was about to light his last cigar. Then suddenly the value of the match increases, for some people and so it goes.

Sadly, my little match had no such provenance. It was just a match that I was challenged to generate some value with or from.

It is an interesting exercise in resourcefulness with lots of lessons to learn. The first lesson was how to overcome the notion that anyone would be willing to trade anything at all for a single match, without even a striker to light it with.

My first effort was appalling. I failed even in an opticians where they often just give away glasses cleaning clothes for free. I found one that charged 10 francs for one and didn’t think shaping one for a match was a good deal. Frankly I can’t blame him but then came the bit I had missed.

This wasn’t his shop and I wasn’t talking to the budget holder.

Next I tried my luck in a twinkling fashion shop. Lots of sparkle in there and lots of small items one of which had to be worth a match. Success!! After much flattery, explanation and fun I got myself a postcard with Happy Birthday written on the front. Now, who doesn’t need a birthday card at least once a year. I had something with value attached, but not enough value.


To be continued …


Thanks to Martin Daubney for sharing his learning experience

Martin is a successful Executive Coach with many years of experience working with large corporations and Small Business Owners. He helps leaders to overcome limitations to their growth.



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