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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Edging out your Competition (a 4 step plan)

I love it when I read a book and the author lays out simple ways to accomplish something difficult.  In Scott McKain's informational book titled, "Collapse of Distinction" he lays out a systematic plan to get you a step above your competition. 

Before you go further, I believe that there is something pivotal to understand, a disclaimer of sort. Many wrongly assume that getting ahead in life is somehow bad or unbiblical.  To this I say, please get out of your Pharisaical Cocoon.  Every single day you and I try to bargain ourselves into or out of something.  We spend our lives trying to accomplish our dreams...this is in fact very Biblical

Perhaps the issue is with the title, "Edging out your Competition"   If so, then let me reframe it for you...

-Stop being such a boring person (or company)-


There. 
Is that better for you and your theology?

I'll step off my soapbox now.
Below are the 4 ways to bring differentiation and success to your life and business. 

1. Get Clear:
Like a fingerprint, each one of us is unique. Getting clear means figuring out what makes you different than all the rest of the billions of people roaming the Earth.  This can be sort of daunting because many of us have been raised to conform and fit in.  As the saying goes, "The nail sticking out gets drivin' in."  These days you have to find your uniqueness and then get crystal clear about it.  Living like a Cog is not something that will get you to stand out, so part 1 of this process is looking at what makes you different


2. Get Creative:
This is a stage where many of us get bogged down.  We have our meetings where we brainstorm the ways in which we are different, but then are too afraid to step out of the box to apply those differences.  Listen, you can be as clear as you want on paper, but unless those differences become reality, you are living on Fantasy Island.  A common misconception about being creative is that you have to do something drastic.  This is not the case. Remember, you are looking for ways that differentiate yourself (or your business) from the competition.  In McKain's book, he illustrates this nicely when he writes about a young boy with Downs Syndrome named Johnny that makes a HUGE impact on the grocery store he works for.
[Here is the link on YouTube if you want to know more about Johnny's story  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDrmFolx2wc ]. 
Do not move on if you do not grasp the main point, you do not need to recreate your entire organization or become a different person to achieve distinction.  Just find, highlight and then get creative on how you connect those differences with your target audience. 

3. Generate Communication:
I am not talking about Bullet Points or boring adds, I am talking about communicating through the power of story.  It is no accident that the majority of the Bible is narrative and that the most powerful communicators use story to grip their audience. 
-Story's stick. 
---Find yours. ---Find your company's. 
Use step 2 to enhance your story by thinking outside the box, then create a number of different avenues to communicate it.   

4. Get Focused on the Customer Experience:
Feedback. You will need it. 
Find ways to close the loop between what your customers experienced and you will attain one of the single greatest factors in aiding your endeavors to attain success. One of the most demanding events that I put on every year is Vacation Bible School.  For five days volunteers come out to the church to give of their time.  This is after they put in a full day of work and this all happens in the sweltering heat.  Each year I try to improve our VBS by learning a bit from the previous year.  I accomplish this by making feedback forms for each of the significant players that helped with VBS.  I include specific questions, along with open spaces for them to write their own perspective on how we can improve next year.  Afterward, I gather all the forms, type up the feedback and then have a debriefing meeting. 
This process is absolutely essential to our success. 

Conclusion:
-You were made to make a difference.
-You were made for significance.

Do you believe that about yourself?
If I was a betting person, I would put my money on the fact that at one time in your life you did. 
----Perhaps there is a little flame that still glows inside of you?
Let the fact that you are an Image Bearer,
Created by God and For God, blow fuel on that flame and watch it burn...


-You were created Unique-
Live your life that Way

5 comments:

Matthew Scott K said...

Thanks Anthony-

I enjoy your writing and your perspectives. Should you be interested in a guest post, the door is open.

Anthony K said...

Matthew, I am honored by your words and I am sure I will take you up on that one day...Just let me know when!

Maeghan Moss said...

LOVE this!! 100% agree!! Great Post Ant!

Nicole Bandes said...

Very simple. Thank you.

Anthony K said...

Nicole, I try my best to keep things down to earth!

Thanks for the kind words!