Defending Mediocrity

Customers today ignore boring products. Old brands which do not inspire passion or luster are not guaranteed to be around, for customers increasingly value what is novel and stands out rather than what was promoted to be safe, common, and routine.

Many of the institutions we see (yours may be one of them) are intrinsically designed to resist change. When they sense it from new technology and processes, they dig their heels in. They settle on mediocrity. They risk going extinct quickly.

Change is happening everywhere around us. From presidential elections to old models of corporations, others are getting ahead because they understand how the new economy works. The rest are hoping the 1980’s would return.

Making good products does not cut it. We all want great. We want spectacular, not gaudy. Our expectations as consumers are for a memorable experience, not an emotionless transaction.

The funny thing is that all the tools are available for a company or individual to transcend mediocrity, beat their competition and grow their business. However, old mindsets will be the death of those who defend mediocrity. We see it every day, and it is happening at a faster pace than ever. The reason is that the “rules” have changed dramatically.

If people see your company, your product and your way of doing business as a commodity, you will lose. There are others who know how to be great rather than just good. If you are an employee that does not stand out, you lose. Jobs are continually being cut left and right. The customer – your employer – has to see you as great, not just good.

If you are wondering why you don’t have the business or life you would like, ask yourself these key questions:

  1. What vision do I have for my myself and my business? If you struggle to articulate this, then your aspiration has already been defined. Great businesses and people envision more than just doing a job or getting an order or a paycheck. They see purpose and help others see this as well. Think Starbucks, Disney and Facebook. Want to just be mediocre? Then take heed about Sears – old school and irrelevant. Doing business the old way will kill you.
  2. How do I connect with my fans? Many people will never be your friends. Many businesses will never be your customers. They don’t “get you” nor do you “get them.” However, those that should be your fans, how do you connect with them? Are your communications systems set up for them to collaborate with you and with each other? Do they feel like they connect with you? Generation Y gets it. Everyone else is trying to. That is where the game is today. It’s not the tools, it’s you. Can you connect?
  3. Can I see the new economy? People are exchanging millions of dollars in commerce every day in your industry. If you are not getting your share, it is likely you are lagging. There are people who have moved on and are not going back. Someone did move the cheese. Do you know where it is and are you willing to go after it? Your customer is buying completely differently than ten years ago. If you insist that cold calling, mailers or any other old, irrelevant and ignored mechanism still works you do not understand the new economy we live in. If you think having a pretty website is the answer, you are still five years behind. Observe and ask better questions, or you risk losing massive opportunities because you are not even in the game.

B.B. King said a wise thing, “Some people…if they don’t ask, you can’t tell them.” If you are not getting the results in your business you desire, then it would make sense to ask yourself good questions. Otherwise, you risk accelerated obsolescence. Rather than fear change, how about trying to understand the game being played and learn to structure your business, approach and systems to connect rather than try to desperately sell? Ask the right questions and you may unlock abundant opportunities.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I grow businesses through partnerships and executive coaching. I work with partners and clients on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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