Surprising Lessons:

What a Stuffed Animal Taught Me About Business |


This blog was republished from Nov 27, 2018


A story parents are all too familiar with.. My daughter asked me for a ‘Scruff a luv’ for Christmas. I said no, as I had no idea what it is or what it does, so why would I agree to get something that I know nothing about?


Since I’m a pushover for my kids, I was intrigued and looked it up. It’s a mystery ball of fluff that you rescue. In this context, rescuing happening in the aisles of your local Target. You wash it, comb it, and then the tiny fluff ball you rescued is revealed. Upon purchasing, the buyer has no idea the type of animal, or any details about it. It rests up the child rescuing it and nursing it back to health. I was smitten with the concept. Flashback to my personal experience with shelter animals…I had to delete my Facebook account for a while because every time I saw a possible rescue animal pop up on my feed, I tried to convince my husband to add another animal to our already busy household with two dogs, three cats, and two babies. That story gives entirely new meaning as to why I was so intrigued by the Scruff-a-luv! My daughter was right – premise aside – it was absolutely adorable. Lucky for her, she didn’t have to pull out her lawyer tactics for it to be under the tree. And plus…I’d already secretly named him Scruffy! Win win! 


“How out of luck would my daughter have been if my heart strings weren’t tugged, and I didn’t do the research for her?”


It wouldn’t be a terrible setback, but she would be a little disappointed if he didn’t show up on Christmas. I knew she would think about it every time the commercial came on, and her friends would get them and bring their Scruffies into school for show-and-tell.  All these constant reminders of her little rescue pet that could have been but never was.


Have you ever made a suggestion to a client, or asked for feedback from your spouse, and you feel like it fell on deaf ears?  Like you could have truly solved the problem, no matter how big, if they just followed your advice? 


Scruffy has a lesson hidden beneath the matted fur just waiting to be cleaned up, and I like to break it down like this:
  1. Awareness: reframe the solution, allowing the client to become aware.
  2. Alignment: demonstrate how the solution will be a benefit.
  3. Agreement: Ask for it!


Let’s re-frame this example with acquiring Scruffy as the focal point of the story. Here are some tips:

  • Awareness: cute little stuffed animal my daughter wants for Christmas
  • Alignment: fits my values of rescue animals…check!
  • Agreement: Heck yes


Flashback to the ‘rescue shop’…“Mom, check out this little guy–he’s called a Scruff-a-luv.  Isn’t he so cute?? You rescue him, and take care of him, brush him, and cuddle him.  Just like with our dogs!  Can I have this for Christmas?” “Oh my goodness, yes.  Let’s name him Scruffy.”


Check out more from Erica Quigley, and the operational leadership she brings to Poka-Yoke Solutions.

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