Posts Tagged be better

Being “competitive” is never enough.

“We need to be more competitive”.  Probably the most overused expression in all of business.  It shows up or drives nearly every presentation or meeting that I am in, and I hate it.

I hate it because it lacks real direction and meaning, or worse, is flat-out misleading.  Marketers will look at their consumer segments, they outline who is growing and why, and then mark the gaps between themselves and the competition.  Being ‘competitive’ in this context implies that the goal is to offer the same types of ‘features’ or benefits as your competition is offering –  and that this is somehow OK.

It’s not OK.  Ever.

Why?  Because consumers are happy with products that are deemed good enough until something BETTER comes along –  something that gives people a new reason to question what they are currently buying, and switch to, or adopt it.  You never get BETTER when trying to be ‘competitive’ – it only inspires sameness to match the other guys.

Be BETTER. Otherwise, your are just another similar product, offering no good reason for someone to consider you. It’s really that simple.

Ask yourself the question: “why is our product clearly BETTER for the people we are targeting”?  If you struggle to answering this quickly and clearly, your product is not only ‘lacking competitiveness’ but is not going to grow.  Go rate your product against competitors on all important drivers of choice, and make sure you have BETTER scores than they do.

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The PurplePrinciples.

A collection of guiding management principles I wish I had understood before having to learn them the hard way:

Set your destination.

Define the goal, paint the picture of success, first.  An action without this is directionless.

Know your objective.

What exactly is it you are trying to achieve?  Questions are usually easy to solve when you know what the answer needs to be.

Make the hard choices.

Strategy is about choice.  You cannot do everything well, so what do you want to focus on?

Move the needle.

An idea without action is meaningless.  An action with no results is a failed investment.  Make sure the things you do create value.

Be Better.

Understand those you want to love your product / idea.  Then create something they would love, by ensuring that it is BETTER than anything else they could find.  Dont be competitive, be BETTER than everyone else.

Keep it simple.

Things are generally complicated, but complexity breeds misunderstanding and people avoid it.  Making things very simple is not easy, but everybody gets it.

Borrow it.

Invent where absolutely required.  But stealing what works and then doing it faster and better is always much easier.

Don’t be insane.

The definition of insanity is to do the exact same thing over and over again, yet each time expecting different results.  Clear the table of what is not working.  Don’t be crazy.

No weak links.

Team members who aren’t pulling their weight, or are counter-productive, need to go for the sake of the greater good.  Even if they are the smartest and brightest.  Its uncomfortable, but essential.

Reward.

Celebrate when you move the needle.  Note others achievements aloud.  Make sure that you mark the occasions where hard work has delivered.

Listen.

Two ears, one mouth.  Understanding what someone actually means is not easy.  Plus, people will like you more.

Finish what you start.
When you start something, write it down and scratch it out once done.  Don’t leave too many things undone.  It creates anxiety, which creates stasis, which stresses you and those that work with you.

Build, don’t destroy.

It’s very simple to spot imperfections in others ideas, and pointing these out rarely has any productive value or result.  Help build on others ideas instead.

Make wonderful things.

Don’t ever leave yourself in a position where you are trying to put makeup on a pig.  Make your products wonderful, and they will be loved and sell themselves.

Be Remarkable.

Doing something that people will notice, and might matter enough to share, is always a goal unto itself.

Be positive.

Negative thinking breeds laziness and inaction.  Positivity is productive and breeds excitement.  Both can spread through an organization like a virus.  Pick one.

Dream.

What would you love to do?  Do that.

Do what you say you will do.

Don’t set precedent as someone who might not deliver by leaving things undone.  You want to be the person whom others can count on to make things happen.

Some people will not to like you.

You won’t be effective unless some people don’t like you.  Trying to please everyone is a certain way to take the power out of any initiative.

Make things easy, useful and fun.

Simple, relevant and engaging.  Be it a product, a project ,an ad or an experience, meeting these three standards will make sure you always connect.

Execute.

The very best idea, without execution, is the worst kind of idea.

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