Saturday, August 27, 2011

Identifying Your Golden Goose

Do you find yourself in a sea of competition - struggling to identify a clear-cut differentiator that can help you establish a competitive edge?

Most people make the mistake of simply working harder at the same things that the competition is working hard at. Everyone continues slogging along - never really making any real progress.

The better option? Here's a quick three-step activity that will reveal what you need to know:

1. Make a list of all the things that you offer that your customers value.

2. Cross out all those entries on your list that your competition can copy (unless it is a proprietary trade secret or patent, they will copy it...and it cannot be a differentiator)

3. The remainder is what makes you unique. That is your goose that lays the golden egg. That is what sets you apart. That is what you must nurture at all costs! (Tip: Most of the time, true differentiators are relationship based. Having a special connection with a customer is typically something a competitor can't touch until you lose it. Yes, it is yours to lose...)

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Scam: Managing Versus Leading?

You may be the victim of a scam! Have you ever seen the common comparisons between Managing and Leading? Typically, they include words like:

Enforces consistency
Asks how
Forms policy
Corrects weaknesses
Wields control
Does things right

Elicits creativity
Asks why
Sets example
Builds strengths
Applies influence
Does the right thing

These business writers/pontificators always make it seem like being a Manager is bad and being a Leader is good.

What a pile of...uh, a crock of...uh, what a load of...well, you know what I mean.

Next time to see such a list (or hear someone spouting off this Manager = bad, Leader = good nonsense - ask them this: Is anything on the "Manager List" always bad? The answer is "No, of course not". Since when is "doing things right" a bad thing? Puh-leeze!

Bottom line: The truth is, we all need to be good at using EVERY tool possible that matches the situation we are faced with at the time. When we are addressing processes that consistency, then enforce that. When creativity is needed, elicit that.

Anything overdone, becomes a weakness. Don't fall for the "all of nothing" scam. Focus on being the best in the behaviors in BOTH lists. Then you will be a Manager/Leader (whatever you want to call yourself) that ultimately makes a real difference.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Want To Learn Something?

Developing yourself is a sure-fire way to benefit your professional - and personal - life. Unlike "things" like money and possessions, what you learn can never be taken from you. Consider your list of things that you'd like to know (Don't have one? Create it today!) The next step is how to learn and make it really stick:


Yes, when you put yourself in the position to teach others, you change your approach completely. The pressure is on to really know and articulate the information. You make the additional effort to to break it down into logical, orderly chunks. You consider potential tough, challenging questions. You put yourself on the line.

If you want to learn something that you'll retain, try this:

1. Identify what skill/knowledge you want to learn
2. Assess how long it should reasonably take to learn it
3. Announce a teaching session to your colleagues - promising results

Adding number 3 really changes the dynamics of learning, doesn't it?

This approach consistently creates a deeper understanding and recall of the material. Not only will you benefit with gaining something you wanted to learn, but you'll help others learn too.

Definitely worth your - and their - effort.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!