Friday, October 1, 2010

On Being Provocative


I attended the International Economic Development Conference in Columbus Monday and heard Scotts CEO James Hagedorn warn the audience during his keynote address Tuesday morning that he was going be provocative.

The definition?  Merriam-Webster says it means "serving or tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate."

Excite.  I watched as my excited colleagues from around the globe furiously started writing down the words as Hagedorn cited dubious tax stats about Ohio and a myriad of other unfavorables. 

Provoke.  I was, personally, provoked after hearing those stats and his recitation that Scotts wouldn't have located in Ohio if their decision was made today. Scotts is here only because of a decision made a century plus decades ago.

Stimulate.  I sat next to a guy from Mississippi who beemed when he heard that incentives from Mississippi were the reason that stimulated Scotts decision to open a new multi-million dollar plant in that state.

You want the best man at your wedding to be provocative at the bachelor party, not the wedding reception. 

To use another analogy, air your dirty laundry in your back yard not your front.

Provocative has its place.  Hagedorn, with an audience that was 75% non-Ohio, found the wrong place.

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