Every business leader, manager, entrepreneur, business owner, senior executive, board member of an organization or company, and even investors questions from time to time – what makes this entity a success? Or, if the business is floundering, they look to the skies and ponder, “what would it take for this to become better or improve?” While there are people in business that are focused on simply making money and are not necessarily invested in the purpose or mission of the business; most business professionals are seeking ways to truly make a difference in the lives of their customers (along with dominating the market!).
In speaking with business founders, it is not uncommon to hear them wax eloquently on how they wish to leave their mark or provide a legacy for others to follow (whether through an inheritance to heirs, giving back to the industry, or breaking new ground). Their definition of success usually includes an element of breaking away from the way that business has ordinarily been done.
The Experts Rush In
In the vacuum of uncertainty, pundits try to fill the absence with the “latest and greatest” approaches. Only, their approaches are little more than tactics and “stuff” or “steps” that are not really tied into a strategy that serves to distinguish the business from others. For instance:
- Sending articles or books to a client through the mail in between visits/meetings. Now, there is nothing wrong with doing so – however, it is effective ONLY if it demonstrates something unique or singular about the business or business person. Random articles do little but create clutter, litter, and lead to confusion.
- Then, as if technology could cure what paper did not – we were instructed to send faxes and then emails as if the immediacy of hitting <send> would change the dynamic of sending random thoughts to a prospect or client/customer.
- Then, as technology further evolved, we all scurried to put up websites, post videos, podcasts, or of late, mobile messaging. All of these are potentially appropriate things to do – but ONLY if they fit into a larger strategy!
So, What SHOULD be Done?
Dan Waldschmidt believes the answer is in being EDGY. It is his belief that what sets companies apart and leads to breakthroughs are those four letters defined as:
E – extreme behavior. Doing something that is large, believed to be unattainable, or a goal that has not been successfully done before.
D – Disciplined activity. While it is necessary to be entirely focused on the “big idea” (extreme behavior), it will only be accomplished by being focused, vigilant about process, and using appropriate measures to evaluate progress.
G – Give. We all have been taught about the importance of networking and how it is about providing assistance or help for others first before seeking their contribution back to you/your business. By offering to aid others without expectation of an immediate reciprocity, the chances of it happening go up exponentially as people will seek to help and not feel forced into it.
Y – be (Y) Human. OK, it is not really a “Y” word. However, it sounds like a “Y” word. People (and customers and suppliers and employees are people) want to be understood and to understand. Spend time acknowledging and recognizing the efforts, issues, problems, etc. of those around you. They want to be inspired and to believe. They seek to be a part of something important and large. Provide that to them through honesty, reliability, and being positive about the future.
So, isn’t it about time that as a strategy for the new year (which is quickly coming upon us), we commit to employing efforts to be more EDGY? Take the time to have the conversations that need to be conducted and provide the support being desired by those that are part of the future success of your business.