Actually these days being great at what you do isn’t an option in the same way that a steering wheel isn’t an option on a car; its sort of essential to make the car work properly. The problem is that whilst we all know this it’s an “I’m Spartacus” moment where the real message is lost in all the other noise (if you’re not sure what I’m talking about check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8h_v_our_Q).
So let’s just reflect for a moment on what being great really means. Great politicians such as Winston Churchill; great sports people such as Serena Williams or great innovators such as the late, and very, great Steve Jobs all have a few key elements of their personality that are the same.
Of course these are exceptional people so can these same traits be applied in our more ordinary lives?
I think so especially these three key characteristics: –
- Perfectionist – never stop until it’s what your client asked for or even better.
- Innovator – today’s new is tomorrow’s old but what are you working on for the day after?
- Benefactor – the ABCD factor; above and beyond the call of duty.
Strive for Perfection
When you’re rushed “good enough” sometimes has to do. I know this and so does everybody else but your client doesn’t care; they only see the final outcome of your efforts and if it’s not what they asked for they will not be best pleased. Perception is everything here so the key is to understand what your client actually wants – asking lots of questions is a good start followed by reflecting back your understanding for confirmation.
When you know what they want and before you start to deliver it take a moment to think what “better than that” looks like because this is your actual target. Your goal is simple then: deliver the “better than that” option and make it perfect.
Innovate to Propagate
Isn’t it amazing how fast the world moves these days. Until the Internet revolution free stuff before you’d even bought anything was usually pretty lame. Then somebody cottoned on to the fact that if you give away really valuable stuff it draws people into you and begins to form a business relationship. Now if you don’t offer freebies people think there’s something wrong with you and hastily press onto the next site.
Now, has it happens I’m not entirely in favour of free stuff: “no cost” often equates to “no value” in many people’s minds but the point is yesterday’s innovative idea rapidly becomes the norm.
So greatness encompasses a deep-seated desire to come up with something new, exciting and useful in your particular discipline. Size, as I tell everybody who will listen, isn’t everything. What matters is that it is new and raises an inquisitive eye-brow in your clients.
Let the people you serve know you love them
Above and beyond the call of duty; going the extra mile; climbing the last peak – the list of clichés goes on but the truth is whilst perfection is making your offering great doing unexpected and perhaps quite lateral things will make you even more noticeable.
Sending a written thank you card or remembering a piece of specific information like a birthday or special interest and then acting upon it shows you care. In other words you actually demonstrate to (not just tell) the people you serve that they matter to you and you see them as more than just a meal ticket.
And so to conclude….
The whole point here is that whilst you could get away with being OK or even good at what you do in the past in the new world exploding around us this just isn’t going to be good enough. Steering wheels aren’t optional extras and neither is being truly great at what you do any more.