Three Questions That Give You A Competitive advantage

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What Is Your Competitive Advantage?

No doubt you want a competitive advantage over your competition. A competitive advantage can come in different forms for different people. For example, if you’re a leader you’re competing for the mind-share of the individuals you lead. What will give you an advantage in influencing others behavior? If you’re selling a product or service you are competing with the budgetary requirements of the customer as well as with other vendors. What gives you an advantage?

If you want to position yourself in ways that give you an advantage over your competition I’m going to share one bold statement and three questions that will help you have a competitive advantage. Answer these three questions and you can have a competitive advantage.

Bold statement:
Your competitive advantage needs to be that you give a competitive advantage to your customer for having done business with you.

It’s really quite simple. By giving a competitive advantage to someone you will have a competitive advantage.

Three Questions:
1. What is it that you do extraordinarily well that is highly beneficial to your customer?

2. What are your customers strategic initiatives, and how are you helping them accomplish them in unparalleled ways?

3. What problem / issue are you addressing that it is a game changer for your customer?

When you answer these questions you will have a competitive advantage. But before you check this exercise off your to-do list, take one important and highly valuable next step. Confirm your answers with your customer.

If your answers to what makes you unique and distinctive are compelling for you but not for your customer you do not have a competitive advantage, but rather a performance disadvantage and all bets are off.

If you want to have a competitive advantage provide a competitive advantage to your customers. You’ll know you have done so when customers say, “we cannot imagine doing business without you.” When you hear that, you’re going to have a fabulous week filled with a competitive advantage.

The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth

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Before giving testimony in a court of law we place our hands on a Bible and declare that we promise to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. If only it were that easy in our personal and professional lives.

Telling the truth is not something we can do on our own. We need several support mechanisms in order to do so. We need:

1. A process: many college and NFL football teams have a Tell The Truth Monday. It’s a review of the previous game and a process for finding what went well and what didn’t.

In our professional lives we need a tell the truth process. Whether you do so on Monday or Friday, you need a repeatable, non negotiable process that focuses your attention on what went well and what didn’t in order to improve and prosper the following week. In essence you need a process for removing your blinders.

2. A partner: We have a high capacity for deceiving ourselves. We tell ourselves the comfortable truth as opposed to the uncomfortable truth. The comfortable truth is the truth that allows us to stay comfortable and doesn’t require change on our part. Our partner in turn must be someone we know, trust and respect and who calls us out when need be.

3. A promise: Promises are key to telling the truth. When you promise yourself and the other important relationships in your life that you promise to look at your conversations, behaviors, word choices and impact on others, and do whatever is necessary to improve, you remove any doubt from the eyes of others and build credibility and confidence.

Monday Morning Mindset Challenge
Tell yourself the truth before you go any further. Which of the three support mechanisms do you need today? And if today is your tell the truth Monday, what from last week must you tell yourself the unadulterated truth about?

The One Most Powerful Strategy For Greater Leadership Success and Satisfaction

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I want to share with you the one strategy I’ve found that will help you become more successful and more satisfied. Can you become more successful and more satisfied with just one strategy?

Yes, and here it is: name and claim your expertise. When you name what you’re really, really good at and that compels and excites you, you are going to accelerate toward it’s achievement.

Let me give you an example. I am the expert at converting human potential into accelerated results. I have no misgivings about naming and claiming this and know it isn’t hyperbole. It is also not my ego speaking. It is a recognition that my flourishing business is rooted in my client experiences and that’s what allowed me to name and claim my expert status.

If you and I were having a conversation over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, as the expert in converting human potential into accelerated results I might even say, “I can help you create more dramatic performance improvements, more rapidly and more reliably than you ever imagined possible.” I can say that with utmost confidence and sincerity.

What do you say your expertise is when having a conversation with someone? If I asked you, ‘what are you the expert in,’ how would you answer the question? Don’t hesitate. Tell me what it is that you are the expert at doing.

Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you get clear about your expertise, the moment you claim it and name it, you’re going to accelerate towards it. But if you cannot or do not name and claim your expertise you will not accelerate your performance.

This week, the one important question for you to answer is: what am I the expert at doing? Whether in medicine, technology, manufacturing or consulting, what are you the expert at doing? Get clear on that this week and you’ll cut the time it takes for you to achieve success appreciably.

Yours in speed.

Hugh

An Explosive Idea To Dislodge Underperformance

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C-4 is an explosive. It is malleable and can be shaped and formed to whatever area needs to be blown up. There is an explosive idea for organizations, leaders and team members which is also called C-4 also. This C-4 stands for:  Championship Caliber Customer Choices. 
Let me pull that apart and put it into two distinct segments. Championship Caliber. The difference between a champion and an amateur is that an amateur will do something simply for the sheer enjoyment of doing it. They’re not concerned with whether there is a win in column at the end of playing. They also do things with an amateurs mindset. By that I mean the commitment is not to continual progress, but rather about enjoying the ride. There’s nothing wrong with that, but let me juxtapose that with champions.
Champions look at every single thing they do and ask, “is this going to help me or hurt me in my pursuit of being a champion?“ They look at a championship event in the future and acknowledge that if they want to be successful or to win they will need to be disciplined in their thinking, physical training and their diet and nutrition. They are not only disciplined, but bring a rigor to the journey toward their championship. Inside an organization that means that you as a leader, executive, board member or team member have to cultivate a championship mindset when it comes to your work. That’s the first two C’s of C-4.
Then we come to Customer Choices. I believe that every organization is structured around one idea which is that you have to delight your customer. You have to make their life so easy that you become indispensable. With that said, customer choices is included because there are choices you are making that are not in your customers best interest. You’re making choices to continue to do things because they’re comfortable. You may make decisions to stay in a particular market because you don’t have another market to go to or because it serves your own well being and welfare and puts the customer second.
My work to help leaders and organizations become highly successful starts with knowing your customer so deeply that you know what they love, where they spend time, what they buy, find valuable and enjoy. You know everything there is to know about your customer and everything you do is designed to make their life easier. By doing so you become indispensable to them. C-4 is a choice and one that you have the opportunity to cultivate inside your organization every day.
Monday Morning Mindset Challenge Questions:
#1. Are you as a leader doing championship caliber work? Is your mindset that of a champion? Are you striving to be a champion in one aspect of your leadership?
#2. Are you looking at all of the customer related choices you make and eliminating any aspect of your work that does not serve the customer well?
That’s Championship Caliber Customer Choices…how are you doing with C-4?

Happy New Year

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Are you looking forward to 2017? We have finished celebrating the holidays and have entered 2017. You can look at 2017 with dread or with the expectation of multiple resolutions that will allow us to have a better 2017 than 2016.

I don’t think that’s the best way to approach 2017. When we do, we are human doings going through a checklist and making sure everything is accomplished properly…as opposed to a human being, using all of our faculties to create a truly flourishing 2017.

How do you create a flourishing 2017? I have four strategies I want to suggest this week.

#1. Dream bigger. Whatever dreams you have for 2017 take a moment and think bigger them. Imagine increasing them by 25% or even 50%. What does an even bigger dream look like? Dreaming bigger is the catalyst I use for interrogating reality and getting outside of the safe, comfortable and known. When I’ve thought bigger than at first I’ll know I’ve go bigger when I muse, “how would I go about doing that!?”

#2. Choose wiser. Be ruthless in your choices. Be ruthless in who you spend time with, what books you read, what conferences you attend and what development opportunities you take advantage of. Make sure the choices you are making are aligned with your dreams also. When there is a misalignment your success will be stalled.

#3. Believe deeper. There is a belief in each one of us that says “I am capable of doing something noteworthy, important, helpful, empowering, transformational and one heck of a lot of fun.” But we have smothered that belief with self doubt, fear, trepidation and unwarranted anticipation that we may be rejected. Ladies and gentlemen, believing deeper comes from having a dream that has really grabbed hold of you, being ruthless in the choices that you make and believing you can accomplish it.

#4. Act bolder. You are not a victim. There is one thing you can do every day that when done in a repeatedly bold way will allow your dreams to come true. This one small action will allow you to make ruthless choices and for you to believe even deeper. Accelerating toward success comes down to one small action taken every day; not one huge action, but one action taken every day toward accelerated performance.

If you dream, choose, believe and act you’re going to have a fabulous 2017. My commitment to you is that I will do what I can to help you do dream, choose, believe and act powerfully and purposefully in 2017. In doing so I’ll work to help you radically reduce your time to success.

If that’s what you want, I’ll see you back here next Monday.

Happy New Year!!!

Are You A Cost Center Or A Profit Center?

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Are you seen as a cost center to be minimized or profit center to be maximized? That’s a pithy question, but it’s also a very powerful question.

Cost centers are minimized because they don’t produce a lot of value. Profit centers get additional investments because leaders know that an extra $100,000 given to a particular department or person will be turned into $1,000,000.

Executives inside your organization are making financial decisions every day. Their question is similar to “Is this a valuable service or product that we should invest more money into? Or, is it not a value add and should we reduce our investment or spend it elsewhere?”

As an employee you want to be seen as a profit center. Not wholly in literal sense, but certainly in the sense that leaders see you as making a meaningful contribution to your customer. You want to be seen as a profit center so that if there are any additional resources to be given out, you would convert those resources into additional profit and performance for your organization.

How do you do that?

1. Cultivate a strategic business partner mindset. You’re not simply an employee. You now wear the moniker “Strategic Business Partner.”

2. Build your brand. Build your brand around being a strategic business partner. Think strategically about what’s in the best interest of the organization. Become known for fostering new and innovative ways of thinking.

3. Communicate passion for the customer experience. Talk about the customer experience relentlessly. Forget your methodology and become hyper-focused on what the customer is experiencing.

If you do those three things you will be seen as a profit center and your career will never be in jeopardy.

How To Create A Culture of Courageousness

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This week I want to talk about the number one strategy for creating a courageous culture. I was leading the Mastering Your Mindset Intensive webinar today and one of the questions asked was: “how do you promote, coerce, or condition yourself to move outside of your comfort zone and do something that might be labelled as courageous?”

That is a great question. It gets to the heart of what leaders are trying to do…have people move from the status quo to something much better. How do you do that? I suggest that courage is the secret ingredient. The word ‘courage’ comes from the French word coure, which means heart. That means you have to have heart for change.

I will contend that the best way to have heart for change, to do something that may be uncomfortable, is to have a much bigger yes. By that I mean you must have a purpose or aspiration that is compelling for you. Your aspiration must leave you announcing “I will not allow this to go undone” or “I really want to do this!” It’s then that you’ll find yourself doing things because you have a heart for them and because there’s a big idea, dream, hope or aspiration that’s compelling.

I also suggested that we each need to do something daily that is a little scary. If you get used to being on the edge and going beyond what’s normal, safe and predictable; doing something scary, over time you’ll build the habit of moving outside your comfort zone.

How do you cultivate a culture of courage? Have a much bigger yes and do something that’s a little scary each day.

The Ideal Perspective To View Your Results

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I want to talk to you about the optimal way to look at your results. We’ve been trained to look at our results as good or bad, right or wrong. This is a very binary approach that I don’t think is the right one. I believe it leads to judgement and harsh criticism, and most certainly doesn’t lead to doing our very best work.

I suggest you put this binary approach aside and optimize how you look at results by using the good, better, best approach. What does this mean?

Good:

The “good” response means that every result you get may not be the ideal result, but it’s a good result if the result teaches you something about your process or how you do your work. There is nothing wrong wth looking at a situation that didn’t play out the way you wanted and saying, “we got a good result because we accomplished A, B & C, we learned a lot, exerted a lot of effort and grew as a result.”

Better:

The “better” response is when you add “but there’s a better result that’s possible. If we modify what we do by implementing this new step or process we’ll get an even better result next time.

Best:

The “best” response happens when you add, “but if we did this we may get the best result imaginable.”

When in a leadership position, especially in a time when everyone feels overwhelmed and overburdened, it is easy and natural to default to ‘right or wrong,’ or ‘good or bad.’ Just tweak your thinking ever so slightly. When you do you will change the way people perceive their results, and you’ll continually find better and better ways to achieve your results.

Your Goals Are Eroding Your Performance

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This week I want to talk about why your goals are eroding your performance. Is that possible? It is. The number one reason why your goals are eroding your performance is that you’ve divorced your goals from a purpose.

We’ve gotten confused about the difference between goals and purpose. The vast majority of people are overwhelmed, overworked and overburdened. In this state it is easier to focus on the goals and transactional aspects of work. This happens simply by walking in the front door of your office. When you arrive at the office you are likely addressing issues and solving problems from the moment you walk in the door. You have a long to-do list and do your work, do more work, then more work and then even more work without any white space. You’re a human doing as opposed to a human being.

Because goals and purpose have been cleaved and separated the energy and drive that needs to be infused into goals is missing. So what do you do? I have three suggestions.

#1 Articulate your purpose. I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that each person has in them a hope, dream or aspiration. Something they have known about for a long time and that they are excited to accomplish. It’s something they would regret if on their deathbed they knew they hadn’t accomplished it. When they started their business or went into their line of work, there was a hope, dream or aspiration they followed. That hope, dream or aspiration needs to be articulated.

#2 Articulate your value. When you think of your purpose, what is its benefit to your constituents? How is their life better? How is their life transformed positively? Articulate your value clearly, because when you know what your purpose is and when you know how you are positively influencing the people around you, it gives you the energy and drive to do my third suggestion.

#3 Think bigger. Bold statement alert. The vast majority of you watching this don’t think big enough. You don’t have a compelling purpose, you’ve not articulated your value and so what you gravitate toward are smaller goals than what you are capable of. I want you to think bigger and increase your goals by 25%. If you increase them by 25% you may have a moment where your sphincter muscle contracts sharply and you shout “I don’t know how to do this.” If you do say that, that’s the right place to start. You’ll be forced to say, “wait a minute. If my purpose is compelling and I’m creating high levels of value, thinking smaller is a habit and not a reality.

Ladies and gentlemen, articulate your purpose, articulate your value, and start thinking bigger. When you do that your goals will become transformational. They’re going to transform your work life, your home life, your community life, and you will have so much more energy and drive to accomplish them.

The Power of The Word Because

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The word because is a powerful word. We do things “because” they provide a benefit or value. We choose to live in the neighborhood we do because of its proximity to schools for example, or we drive the car we do because of the fuel economy, reliability or horsepower. We are also in relationships or do business with companies because of an experience we have with them. In all of our decisions is a because.

Since because is a powerful word transformational leaders want to know the answer to the question of employees…why do you work here, because once they know the employees because answer to the question, they can capitalize on that and create more of the same.

You also want to know why your customer’s choose to do business with you. What’s their because? The moment you identify a compelling because from a customer you can exploit it and more purposefully cascade your response to their answer throughout your organization. How do you find out what your customers because is? You ask them one simple question: what is the most enjoyable, valuable or rewarding part of doing business with us?

Talk to as many customers as you can and learn first hand your customers because. Review your list of answers and identify which you can do in highly differentiated ways.

Do the same with employees. Knowing why your employees work at your organization allows you to learn what’s most important and enjoyable about working with you, and once identified, you can use it to transform your business to higher levels of performance.