Pavlov … always on your shoulder

Just recently a very good friend who was visiting Europe brought back some of my favorite candy from England. I love Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts, and she was kind enough to bring back several one-pound boxes. In addition, she gave me a small notepad and pen.

So, what does this have to do with the title of this short blog and more specifically what has it to do with Dr Pavlov? Well that notepad and pen are the clue.

Many years ago I remember Dr Susan Friedman saying “Pavlov is always on your shoulder.” It is a phrase I have used in pretty much every class/workshop/seminar I have given. It is also a concept that many people have trouble seeing in their everyday training sessions, let alone in the regular daily lives.

Remember Pavlov discovered what has become known as classical or respondent conditioning. He paired a bell ringing with the presentation of food to a dog. After a few repetitions of the pairing found that ringing the bell alone elicited salivation from the dog.

Back to the Allsorts, when I see the bag on the kitchen counter I salivate and invariably reach over and take one, or two! What I have found is that catching a glimpse of the notepad, or even just the pen, on my office desk elicits the same response and, for the sake of my waistline, I must work hard not to go in search of the Allsorts bag.

This smart marketing campaign is a great example of respondent conditioning, Allsorts are easily recognized by their color, just seeing those colors in combination reminds me they are around and the salivation starts.

There are many examples in marketing of respondent conditioning … challenge yourself to find a few today!

Keep soaring,



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