Archive for April, 2011

Differentiating Vertical

Anyone can be different just to be different.  What makes you, your product or your company unique is that you are different than you were last year…last month…yesterday.

What are the “differences” in being different?

Being different from everyone else is what everyone seems to try to do.  But that doesn’t always make sense and doesn’t improve yourself, your company or your place in the market.  It wouldn’t make sense for Disney to start and airline and fly people from Cincinnati to Kansas City…just to do something different.  So just being different from every other amusement park or entertainment company (horizontal differentiation) doesn’t make sense.

In fact it is stupid.

What Disney (and a whole bunch of other companies) do to stay ahead of the game is that they aren’t who they used to be.  They are constantly growing (vertical differentiation) beyond where they started. They are moving up, not being different than everyone around them, but than themselves.  It keeps you on your toes and forces you to reshape yourself for your own good.

And people respect that.  They follow that.  They buy that.  They invest in it.

They want MORE of that.

Reinvention is constantly changing and shaking things up for your own good and improvement.  It makes it stick when others benefit.

Don’t be different than everyone else just to be different.  Be different than you for everyone else!

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!

When Southwest Airlines launched they flew only one aircraft — the Boeing 737.    They have one class of service.  Southwest created radical simplicity by simplifying many processes, products and services.   They are the Number 1 airline in customer service and profits every year.

Could you say “We do one thing and we do it very well.”?  Could you be Number 1 at what you do by doing it simple?

Number 1 doesn’t require BIG or complex sizes.

Pleasing people can be very easy.  You can make buying from you and servicing customers easy.

Check on how hard it is for people to call, join your organization or customer accounts, buy from you, click to your site or get service from you.

Are You a “High Maintenance” Leader?

I have worked for multiple leaders who were as odd or eccentric as could be.   The highest maintenance leaders seemed to generate the most negative reactions among everyone in the organization.

One leader punched everyone in the arm and called them “Matey” as his greeting.  Another used the same illustration year in and year out at an annual function – each time like it was the first time.  A female leader I knew kissed everyone – strangers included – on the cheek as she said “hello” or “goodbye.”  Still another liked to pit people against each other, then sit back and watch the battle – angering everyone!

Your workers may be courteous to your face, but they resent every action and duty dumped on them that you won’t do for yourself.

They like getting paid.  But when they go home at night, they open up about their weird boss who does everything to drive them crazy (isn’t that what you do when you go somewhere to vent?).

Before you fly off the handle and stop reading this, allow me to explain why your “family of workers” can’t stand working with you.

Have you seen the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep?  Even better, do you remember the movie, Mr. Mom, with Michael Keaton and Martin Mull?  Keaton attended his wife’s company picnic.  There were competitive games, but the object was to let the hapless boss (played by Mull) win every time.  They went out of their way to let him win and be the hero…

But they couldn’t stand him.

Well if this is you, these are things you need to fix.  Your staff is waiting, but not very patiently.

Quit training your staff to put up with you better.

Train yourself to be lower maintenance for them!

Is There Any Perceived Value in Your Sales?

Customers determine what they want.   All the interruptions you and I throw in front of them don’t sway them from knowing what they want.  Whether it is a car dealer, a time-share tele-marketer, a beauty aid consultant, a grocery store or a girl scout selling cookies, we find ourselves being forced into their way of thinking.

The reality is, this process is the hardest way to sell a product or service.  The easiest way to sell is to find out what people already want to buy (what they value) and sell that to them.
High-priced iPhones and service contracts are flying off the shelves in Verizon, while AT&T is struggling to sell the same phone for $49.  It isn’t really selling that well for them, is it?

What if you got out of bed and knew what people wanted to buy from you?

What if you marketed a product that people would hand you money for without even thinking about the cost to them?

What if you knew for certain what people are buying?

Find the customer value and the price you charge won’t matter!

Are You Down…or Different?

What are you doing different?

People who believe things are down do “down” things.  Their budgets are down.  Their sales are down.  Their meeting attendance is down.  Their customers or members are down. Their expressions are down.

Everything in their world is down.

People who believe things are different do different things.  Their strategy is different and so are their sales, their budget, their customers, their members, their attendance and their year.

And their attitude about it all is different.  Is yours down…or different?

Do You Hire Faster Than You Fire?

From Business Insider.
Last night we saw the wild looking, and often confused actor Gary Busey get fired off of “The Apprentice” much to the relief of his celebrity teammates after weeks of what appeared to be sheer frustration in trying to work with him.

Your People Do What Gets Rewarded.

People do what gets rewarded.

You reward success, you get success.  You reward failure, you get failure.  It’s really that simple.

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Meltdowns and You – Business Insider article

Last month we watched in awe and horror as Japan suffered one of the greatest catastrophes in modern times.  It began…

Raising the US Debt Limit – Odds Are We Don’t Care!

In an article published to Business Insider yesterday, I wrote, “It’s time to change the way we educate our Kids about Math and money.”

What Kind of Screwdriver Are You?

From Reinvent Yourself: The Simple Steps to Dominate Your Market…

Really, what is the difference between screwdrivers?  Yet Craftsman and Stanley have been at it for years trying to convince you that their products are different and better.  So they guarantee them for the rest of your life.  When was the last time you needed a lifetime guarantee for a screwdriver?

On the flip side, though, we buy appliances and electronics that have certain features that other brands don’t include.  Why?  Because they differentiated themselves from the rest of the pack.

When everybody else is doing it, then you have to be different.

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April 2011


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