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Meet the Mayor of Lake Wobegon - it is worth it

Lake Wobegon is a fictional town in the U.S. state of Minnesota, said to have been the boyhood home of Garrison Keillor, who reports the News from Lake Wobegon on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

In Keillor's show there are recurring phrases:

The opening words of the monologue usually are: "Well, it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, my hometown, out there on the edge of the prairie."
The closing words of the monologue are "Well, that's the news from Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."

The last phrase is also known as “illusory superiority”; which in consumer behaviour refers to that decision heuristic or bias where consumers think that they are better than anyone else. (This applies to human behaviour broadly as well.)

The Lake Wobegon effect is used to describe a real and pervasive human tendency to overestimate one’s achievements and capabilities in relation to others – basically the tendency for all people to claim to be above average. It has been observed among CEOs, hedge fund managers, presidents, coaches, radio show hosts, late night comedians, stock market analysts, college students and parents to name a few.

So, if you were honest, you’d admit to think your driving skills are better than average right? That is the Lake Wobegon effect.

Now that you know that this is a natural human tendency, have another think about your business:

  • How good is your customer service… really?
  • How good are your staff relations … really?
  • How good a retailer, manager, representative etc., are you … REALLY?

Are you really good or are you from Lake Wobegon?

Whatever your answer, you are invited to visit my own personal holiday home on the foreshore of said Lake. I am the mayor and you are all welcome.

Have Fun

Dennis

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