Friday, April 25, 2014

Success occurs in a blinding flash of the obvious.

   Many people imagine that there are some secret handshakes and special software programs that lead some people to be more successful than others. In some instances, there is probably some amazing alchemy that occurs and a new business and fortune are born. I've never seen it, but it's the stuff of legend.

   But, on the side of town where the other 99.9% of business is conducted, it is the obvious that delivers success. Being completely committed, saying thank you, keeping notes, all the sort of things which would appear routine. Maybe they should be, but they aren't. People goof up all the time on the most elementary issues. Probably because they don't seem to require training and instruction, so they're just assumed to be "handled." Nope. It doesn't happen.

   Because everybody thinks they'll happen, they don't. The note about the clients' sons karate tournament doesn't get jotted down, the handwritten thank you for an order is carelessly forgotten. The bathroom someone forgets to clean. All seemingly trivial, but they aren't. These are the fundamental levels you have to execute on to win.

   Sure it's awesome to have a new way to analyze client data, to have a new gizmo that goes "bing". But if you don't execute on the basics, they're won't be any data to analyze. Your competition will do a better job on what clients actually care about, and walk away with what you long assumed to be yours.

   A friend of mine told me after I wrote 'Alphabet Success', "Tim, most of this stuff is common sense." to which he added, "I have put the nine acronyms on the wall so I don't forget them". Perhaps not so common after all.

   It's not that I'm a genius. Quite the contrary. But in watching sport teams, and businesses and people I observed one common phenomena about success. The basics, the obvious things, are what matter. 

   Care about people both inside and outside the business, make it easy for staff to do the important work, be forever grateful to everyone who buys from you, to people for showing up for work, for all the key elements of your business. Say what you'll do and then do that! 

   Through whatever method possible, be sure you are fundamentally sound on the "obvious" before embarking on a quest for nuance. The right logo won't help a crappy company. A good looking suit won't overcome a lack of knowledge. 

  What will make you successful won't be the topic of a TV series, it won't be retold as a fireside tale by teenage campers, and it's not going to be the subject of a spell-binding novel. 

   Success occurs in a blinding flash of the obvious. Now go see how "obvious" you can be.

NOTE: The phrase "blinding flash of the obvious" was lovingly stolen from Tom Peters. Because it was the obvious thing to do...Thanks Tom.

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