How to compete in these turbulent times?

By: Sam Geist
Posted: 01/05/2012

1.  To compete you must exceed your customers' expectations.

We have a choice, we can raise our expectations of ourselves, we can exceed our customers' expectations (that's both our internal customers who work for us and our external customers who buy from us) -- or we can do what we've always done and be satisfied with the results.

Keep in mind that our customers (internal and external) also have a choice.  They can remain our happy and loyal customers, because we've exceeded their expectations, or they can become our competitors' customers because our competitors have exceeded expectations -- while we haven't.

In order to exceed expectations in this age of value chain deconstruction, we must create value -- real value for our customers today and tomorrow -- and it must be value seen from the eyes of the recipient not the provider.  One valuable way to create value for our customers is to anticipate their future needs and goal.  See their upcoming problems (before they do) and provide solutions.

In today's business environment always remember that just satisfying customers doesn't cut it -- just satisfying is not the same as exceeding.

2.  To compete you must engage your people.

Engaged people are not afraid of tomorrow -- they're not afraid of change.  Engaged people try harder, do more.  They're anxious to move, to succeed.  They're the positive face of your brand.  They're your valuable ambassadors.  They're your secret weapon for success.

Ask yourself what you are doing right now to involve your people -- to engage them (and what you could be doing in 2012 that you're not presently doing).  Encourage your people to feel the responsibility and commitment of ownership by giving them the responsibility and trust of leaders.

3.  To compete you must execute your strategy.

Get tough with yourself.  I've repeated it  so many times, year after year -- strategy is important, very important, a necessary component for success, but strategy without execution is stagnant -- nothing happens.  Execute! Get your people to execute! Execution trumps strategy!

The answer to the question "How do compete successfully in turbulent times?" comes full circle.  It is only by taking action -- by executing -- that you are able to exceed expectations -- of yourself, of your customers (internal and external).  It is only by taking action that you engage your people.  Leadership is an active verb.  Be the leader you need.  Create a company of leaders your customers need.

Now is the perfect time to face our new business reality squarely by taking decisive action.

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