Oh the Things We Can Learn! Dr. Seuss’ Wisdom Applied to Business

Ali Cox
Ali Cox
Oh the Things We Can Learn! Dr. Seuss’ Wisdom Applied to Business
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While reading books to her children, our marketing director, Kaley Abernathy, had a great brainchild: this Dr. Seuss guy really knows what he’s talking about! What if we approached our work with a Dr. Seuss mindset? I know that just by researching some of these quotes, I was inspired! There is a ton of application in the areas of business management, business analysis, stakeholder analysis, value management, gamification, facilitation, innovation, and a big one here at Netmind: always learning!

Here we go – oh, the adventures we’ll have! (Disclaimer: some of the themes are similar so I’ll try to keep from repeating myself too much …but as we say in training, the best way to retain is to repeat, repeat, repeat!)

Innovation and Empathy

Sometimes we think we know what the customer wants without even asking them. However, a better way of discovering their needs, problems, and wants is to empathize with them. Once you understand the customer, then you can dig in and discover a solution that will actually amaze and delight them!

Design Thinking has some great techniques to help guide you through how to empathize with your customer. Techniques like user personas, customer journey maps, and ecosystem mapping are wonderful to help you with a structured, logical approach to ‘getting into the customer’s head and heart’.

Book Reference: I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!



One thing I often find, especially in large companies, is that idea generation is reserved for the upper tier of management. Lower level tiers are not asked for ideas, or worse, when they have ideas, they are often ‘pooh-poohed’. Don’t let this hold you back. The bigger your pool of ideas, the more opportunity there is for a good idea to be discovered.

Book Reference: On Beyond Zebra and The Lorax

Business Management

If you are in management, use the same principles we use to empathize with customers. Empathize with your employees. Does this mean agreeing with everything they want? Well, no. But listening to them and balancing their needs and wants with the business needs and wants is good. Why? As we teach in Management 3.0, happy workers do more and achieve more. And, typically, if our employees know we are at least making an effort to address their needs and wants, they are happier.

Value Management

In my mind, this quote can be applied to the importance of business value consideration. It’s really simple (in theory, maybe not in practice)! Do things that are predicted to add value; don’t do things that aren’t.

Book Reference: Oh, The Place You’ll Go!

Business Analysis

We don’t just take a request from our stakeholders, write it down, assume it’s right, and that it will provide value. We take in requests, ask a LOT of questions, and then formulate the requirements into actionable, valuable, and prioritized items. It then becomes a great thing! (Or we realize the request was invalid, which also provides value in that we aren’t doing things we shouldn’t do!)

Book Reference: The Lorax

Business Analysis

Scope! Today is your day! The mountain we have to climb, whether there’s a waterfall in it or it’s change-driven, needs to be scoped. We need to know how high that mountain is, where are the pitfalls, the rivers we might drown in, how great the view will be at the top, who needs to help along the way! If we don’t have at least some idea of that before we start the hike, how will we survive? Survey the mountain first. Get good scope.

Book Reference: Oh, The Place You’ll Go!


More Business Analysis

You do have brains. How do we use those brains as analysts? Asking all the right questions at the right time to the right people. And yes, sometimes the questions are either hard to ask or we are not sure we’ve asked all the questions we should have asked. But if we use our brains to ask the right questions, and our feet to get to the right people, usually we get those simple answers!

Book Reference: Oh, The Place You’ll Go!

Stakeholder Analysis

We don’t always like our stakeholders. We don’t always like all our customers. We don’t always like all our coworkers. But do we try? Putting yourself in another’s shoes is a great way to empathize with them. I can’t promise that you will always end up liking a person, but at least you can gain an understanding of how to work with them, please them, and maybe even make them happy.

Book Reference: Green Eggs and Ham




I almost always tell my students: if you don’t like what you do (maybe not every minute, but in general), then go find something you do like. Life is too short. Try gamifying your work. Learn with games, use games to motivate, use games to engage, and/or use games for team-building.


To build good solutions, someone needs to be able to corral all the cats. Adults are just like kids: they pout, they fight, they misbehave, and they get distracted. A good facilitator can make a big difference in getting people to play nice, behave, and become productive adults.


A good facilitator also makes sure that everyone is heard. Often the quiet ones are the ones with the best information or ideas. Be sure not to overlook these people… you might miss something that changes everything.

Book Reference: Horton Hears a Who!


What is the definition of innovation? A new method, idea, product, etc. How are you innovating if your product or service looks like everyone else’s? Part of Design Thinking is Ideation: generating new, sometimes crazy ideas can help you figure out how to be innovative in a solution.

Stakeholder Analysis

Those of us who are business analysts have to work with all levels of an organization, from the C-suites to the cubicles. Treating everyone with respect will get you a long way in eliciting good information from all levels. Respect their job, their time, and their privacy. Be a champion and a confidant.

Book Reference: Horton Hears a Who!

Always Learning!

I’ll finish with our philosophy at Netmind. You can always learn something new. Don’t assume, go find out for sure! In every class that I teach or every person I mentor, I learn something from them. Keep an open mind, an open ear, and an open heart.


Ahh, now the sales pitch! We have interactive, fun training that will help you learn, practice, and retain the concepts I’ve written about here. Come check out our business analysis, design thinking, facilitation, stakeholder analysis, and other great courses! Including courses that are gamified – board games, dynamic activities, and interactive workshops galore!

One last quote to thank you for your time and to remind you to be ‘always learning!’:

– Ali

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