One of my best buds and mentors Ryan Estis is a favorite commentator of mine on the issues we all face navigating a pretty disruptive and ever changing world of work today.
One of the issues we’ve been discussing lately is the fact that in the new economy, more and more of what we do is being commoditized.
Meaning, regardless of our industry or product, it’s highly unlikely we’re the only game in town and the hard reality is, it’s much more difficult to differentiate ourselves and capture the hearts and minds of our customers and clients today.
I totally feel this in my own business. Today anyone anywhere in the world who wants to speak and add their voice to an issue can launch a website and hang their shingle. The gatekeepers, who for the world of speakers have always been the speaking bureaus, no longer control entry to the game.
This has created an enormous amount of competition. There are literally tens of thousands of people out there who do pretty much exactly what I do for about the same price. In fact there are a thousand who would gladly take my slot for FREE. The competition is fierce.
Can you relate?
What Ryan talks about, though, is that as unsettling as this can feel, it’s also creating a huge opportunity for all of us to spend some real time thinking about the difference between WHAT we do (which for me is researching and adding commentary on the trends impacting the world of work and leadership) and HOW we do business.
To win today we’re required to dig deep and find our compelling differentiation specifically around HOW we do what we do.
It’s what dude calls Capturing a HOW Advantage.
Now I’m not going to lie; the first time I heard Ryan mention this I was like, WTF is a “How Advantage” and how does one capture it?!
You were probably thinking the same thing, weren’t you!
Fortunately he has a simple yet thought-provoking answer.
In short, the best way to capture a HOW advantage is to be REMARKABLE CONSISTENTLY.
The definition of remarkable = worthy of being remarked upon. In plain language; so freakin’ good you CANNOT wait to go tell someone about the experience.
Think about that statement for a minute.
When was the last time you had an experience with a brand, a service provider, or a salesperson that was so damn good you had to tell people about it? Better yet, when was the last time YOU created an experience for someone else that was so good THEY had to tell someone about it?
Makes you think right? I think about it all the time.
In fact I’m always thinking about my HOW Advantage and whether or not the experience I’m delivering day in and day out is worthy of being remarked upon. So good people have to tell someone about it.
I experienced one of these unique moments this past week as I was leading a session with a new client called Assurant, a fortune 200 insurance company and a number of their top clients. Only this time, at this event, it wasn’t me creating the REMARKABLE MOMENT.
Assurant’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jody Gunderson and Director of Marketing Craig Curtner flipped the script and created a remarkable, memorable, meaningful moment by making ME feel like the client.
How did they do this?
On our initial pre-event planning kick-off call, Jody and Craig asked if I had any special requirements or needs for the event that they could be of help with. Anything that would make me feel more comfortable?
I told them that while I don’t consider myself high-maintenance, I would like a bowl of blue M&M’s (ONLY BLUE) and perfectly chilled ice water back stage. It’s all about the details, I said.
I was of course, joking. And they of course knew I was joking and yet Jody and Craig, despite juggling a million preparation items for the conference, took the time and made the effort to create a magical moment.
When I arrived on site, there sitting backstage was a bowl of carefully curated blue M&M’s and two bottles of perfectly chilled ice water.
I had to do a double take. Could this be for real?!
Now I’ve worked with some incredible clients in the past but this was the first time a client made ME feel like the client.
That’s rare air friends.
The action itself may seem like a small thing but I can promise you, no matter how long I’m fortunate enough do this work, I will never forget Jody and Craig and my time with Assurant as they found a simple yet powerful way to be a remarkable partner.
So as it turns out, capturing that HOW Advantage by being remarkable isn’t so elusive after all. It does however take effort and being in the present moment with every single one of your relationships.
You see only by being present to the moment are the opportunities to be remarkable made known.
You have to actually hear what people are saying and also what they’re not saying in order to identify opportunities to show up and serve them at a higher level.
So my friends, our challenge, should we choose to accept it: tune in to the opportunities to be remarkable today, be present to the moment, and care enough to leave a mark on the people we touch. I promise we’ll capture our HOW Advantage.
Thanks for your continued inspiration Ryan, and thank you Jody and Craig for showing us a real life example of what being remarkable looks like.