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Category: Grow Your Influence

Three Ways to Finish Strong

It’s time for your HALFWAY checkpoint for 2019!

There are 6 months left until 2020.

This is a perfect time look back at the progress you’ve made/didn’t, adjust your daily process to fit your plan for the next 182 days, and then hit the ground running.

Just like in sports, if 2019 is kicking your butt and you’re losing big at halftime…there’s GOOD NEWS – it’s just half time.

A POWERFUL finish can easily overshadow a slow start, so come out of the second half on fire.

And just like in sports, if 2019 is going GREAT and you’re up big at half, don’t fall into the complacency trap and take your foot off the gas! Keep competing hard every day to make your second half even BETTER than your first.

Here are 3 things you can do to set up a big second half:

Attention to Detail

The little things usually matter most.

There’s a burger joint near my wife’s office that we frequent occasionally. The food is great, but we go back time and time again because of how they behave at the bar.

The bartenders are trained to replace your martini glass as soon as they see the ice frosting disappear. A great martini should always be served in a chilled glass so that stays crisp longer. Many restaurants may serve the drink initially in a chilled glass, but then you’re on your own.

This burger restaurant continually replaces your glass until you’re finished drinking your cocktail. I’ve sat at the bar in a number of high-end steakhouses around the country – places where you’d expect them to take this much care with your cocktail at the bar – and have never once seen them take this action.

But this Plano burger bar does – every time.

The last trip there got me thinking about the importance of this one little gesture in the big picture.

A Culture That Steals Customers

Can culture help you steal customers from competitors?

Yesterday my wife and I had to take one of our dogs to a new veterinarian because our main vet was booked until next week. Our poor boxer, Sugar, has had multiple issues since we adopted her in October so trips to the vet have become almost a weekly occurrence.

I’m sure you know how frustrating it is to start at ground zero with a new doctor / dentist / vet / business… you have to fill out tons of paperwork, answer lots of questions, and then help the new doctor get up to speed on the current situation.

But this experience was QUITE different from what I expected.

This new staff asked us a TON of questions. It was more thorough of an initial process than I think I’ve ever experienced. They took a picture of Sugar for her file, and talked us through the range of treatment options. The entire experience involved this new staff doing what they could to make us feel better about the treatment process with Sugar.

Then just before we left, they provided us with a folder of information including:

  • a copy of their file on Sugar (which included everything we had shared with them),
  • doctor’s notes about how sweet of a dog she was and treatment prescribed,
  • brochures of products and local companies they recommended, from the ER to heartworm medication.

As soon as my wife and I walked out of that visit, we both agreed that we wanted to move our business from our previous vet to this new one. We felt informed in what they shared with us, comfortable that they were taking great care of our dog, and most of all, their level of thoroughness in both gathering Sugar’s history and sharing about her health issue made us feel safe working with them.

That was no accident.

This specific vet intentionally created the environment to make customers feel safe and welcome, even down to the complimentary coffee they provided – which was offered in mugs, not styrofoam cups. They understood that any trip to the doctor (be it a dentist, family doctor, or yes, even the vet) can be stressful because the majority of the time, you’re going to them because something wrong. This office took steps to make you feel comfortable and safe.

It’s this type of intentional experience that can be a game-changer for your business.

Every customer has an experience with your brand. Most experiences don’t generate a mark unless it swings heavily in one direction or another. Think about it:

We don’t generally remember our service at a restaurant unless:

  • it was slow & terrible (poor), or
  • the staff was quick, courteous, and surprised us with something personal (great).

Otherwise we never give it a second thought.

We don’t think about our experience with an e-commerce brand unless:

  • Our package arrives damaged, we have serious issues with their customer service to fix a problem or the like (poor)
  • Our shipment includes a surprise like a hand-written insert, special packaging, or amazing customer service help (great).

Just “ok” won’t help your company win.

The reason that extremes stand out is because customers expect a simple, clean process. Business owners want a smooth, seamless transaction, but the problem lies in the fact that an expected process doesn’t become a memorable one.

In their book Talk Triggers, Jay Baer & Daniel Lemin talk about the importance of creating these unique experiences for customers in order to stand out in the customer’s mind, and most importantly, create that lasting connection. I spent the first two years of building Compete Every Day by writing a thank you card to every single customer, and now, I still send random thank you cards to customers. I even will send small thank-you videos to new followers we gain on social media.

You can’t scale this type of activity, but it’s not the scalable activities that make your company stand out.

How to do better.

In order to do better, your team needs to be equipped with the right mindset and focus to make an impact on your customers. This focus goes beyond just “getting the job done” and more on “doing my job the best I can.”

See the difference?

“Getting the job done” implies doing the minimum to get by. Instead of going for straight A’s, you’re good with C’s & D’s, because with this mindset, you “still get a degree.”

“Doing my job the best I can” is about striving for excellence. This mindset asks how can I do the best I can on this, and when complete, reviews to see where they can do better next time. It’s consistently giving full effort, no matter what the situation or how the person feels in the moment. It’s a belief that “getting by” & “good enough” isn’t actually enough.

A company full of people who embrace the pursuit of greatness excel well past their competition.

Do you have a company culture that is great enough to steal customers from your competitors?

If not, we should talk. Because in order to create that winning culture, you’ll need a team of Competitors who know what it takes to pursue greatness – and are committed to that pursuit.

How Competitors Handle Bad Coworkers

So you work with someone you absolutely cannot stand?

Been there. Done that. Most all of us have. If you’ve ever been in a setting where you were put on a team with others, the chances you’ve had to work with someone you don’t like are high. Take any group of people with different personalities, agendas, and backgrounds, throw them together and you’ll have an adjustment period.

School projects. Team sports. Corporate clients. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team where I liked everyone.

And that’s ok.

But how do you successfully handle those situations?

What a 90 Minute Performance Actually Takes

I saw clips of Kevin Hart recently on the Joe Rogan Podcast on Twitter and decided to download the full interview.

(Here’s a link if you want to as well. FYI – it’s over two hours & contains NSFW language.)

There is a lot great information in their conversation but what stood out most to me is something I’d known for quite some time and appreciated Kevin sharing. Joe asked Kevin about going on tour and when he would do another comedy special, which led Kevin to sharing his formula and timeline.

Here’s what goes into one of Kevin Hart’s 90-minute specials:

Want to Improve Your Company’s Culture? Start with Accountability.

Accountability breeds a strong, positive culture – in the locker room and in the boardroom.

When an organization embraces accountability from the top to bottom, employees are empowered in their role, motivated to do it to the best of their abilities, and proactive to reach the goals they’ve set.

People strive to help and do more when they believe they’re a valuable contributor to the overall success of the organization.

Here are the three keys to building accountability within your organization:

How to (Actually) Be Better Than Yesterday

Do you know who you’re competing with?

Who are you looking toward as your competition? Who do you see on a daily / weekly / monthly basis as your measuring stick, and God help you if you haven’t caught up – or passed – them?

But do you know know you’re most important competition is with? It is not with the person you work with, the friend at the gym, or the stranger you follow on social media.

Your strongest competition is with the person you were yesterday. It’s that face that looks back at you in the mirror every morning and every evening.

A lot of people talk about the importance of being “better than yesterday.” It sounds great, but honestly, what does that look like in the real world?

Contrary to what you might think, it doesn’t look like

  • bases-loaded home runs
  • 99-yard touchdown runs, or
  • “overnight” success.

In reality, it looks like small steps forward, every day. Boring, monotonous, plain steps forward.

It’s 1% progress made.

Newspaper headlines won’t scream “1% BETTER” but if you’re serious about getting better, that’s how you do it.

Because 1% today starts, and then you add 1% tomorrow, and the next day, and next….

Here’s a cool fact: if you do that, every day, in one year you aren’t 365% better. You’re actually exponentially better (thank you compounding interest!)

What does 1% better look like then?

1% is a small number. It’s simple to make a 1% positive adjustment each day – but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. And simple doesn’t guarantee that everyone will do it. Most won’t – because a 1% change requires being present and intentional in your daily actions. It can look like a number of different things, but here are a few suggestions to get your wheels turning:

  • Create the 5 minutes to journal that you skipped yesterdaywrite 3 things you’re thankful, 3 targets for the day, or 3 lessons you can build on.
  • Push yourself harder in a workout than you did last time. Instead of giving in, this time tell that voice to shut up when it said slow down you’re almost done and instead sprinted to the end.
  • Prepare for that presentation just a little bit more than you did before. When is your next meeting at work or socially? Can you review your notes more thoroughly instead of ‘winging it’ this time?
  • Practice more patience in a (work, social, love) relationship. Bite your tongue when you want to give advice. Take a deep breath when you want to fight. Keep working on that goal when you get anxious and want to quit because it hasn’t been achieved yet.
  • Read 1 chapter of a book that’s collecting dust just sitting on your shelf not being read. You can knock out 30+ books a year if you focus on just 1 chapter a day.

Whatever it looks like, pick one thing and do it just a little bit better than you did today. We all have the ability to be 1% better every day. Most people fail to take advantage of the day (i.e. opportunity) they’re given. Don’t be like most people.

Be a Competitor instead. (I promise, winning tastes better than “what if”).

Do what you can to be a little better than you were last time.

I’m curious – what’s one thing you do every day to build on the previous?

Leave a comment below with your daily action to be better than yesterday!