Tag Archives: competition

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assessing competition

Assessing Competition, What Is Your Comparison?

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Do you have a habit of assessing competition? When you look at what is out there, compared to what you do, how do you rank? Does it matter?

I remember November in grade school. Right before the United States celebration of Thanksgiving, we made construction paper turkeys. It all started with placing your hand, palm down, and tracing around each finger on brown construction paper.

Everyone followed a template, a model, as instructed by the teacher. Yet, everyone had their own work. Right before the holiday, you got to take your turkey home to your parents. I remember my mother acting so proud of my accomplishment.

My accomplishment was a huge success. Perhaps because I followed the model or perhaps because of what it was compared to.

At home, it was only compared to my last best work. It wasn’t compared to every construction paper turkey in the County. It wasn’t compared to every similar project in the State or the US.

My project was compared to my best previous work. I was a winner because I was growing, achieving, and delighting my mother with my school work.

Assessing Competition

The best work that you’ll do this month should be a comparison of the best you’ve delivered so far.

When it delights the customer, you’ve accomplished something. It may be the best in the US or the best in the World, but it may be hard to determine because the relevance is what is happening right now, right in front of you.

What matters is that you’re solving problems, producing or providing something better than your last work. When it meets or exceeds customer expectations then it is work worth doing.

There are millions of undiscovered song writers, chefs, and engineers. It’s also true for healthcare workers, truck drivers, and backroom graphic artists.

The work that you do should always be compared to your personal best. It is how you’ll continue to delight someone, even if it is only a small group in a small town.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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friendly competition

Friendly Competition, Is It Really Friendly?

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Are you up for a little friendly competition? Will everyone play by the rules?

In the workplace, sales teams will sometimes do this.

Who is having the best day, week, or month in sales? Sell the most and you win a trip, get a special parking spot, or maybe you receive a nice bonus.

It works for other areas too. Safety records, attendance, or any key performance indicators that are measured for improvement.

A little friendly competition can certainly be motivating, challenging, and break new ground. It can spice things up and achieve some great results.

Is friendly competition truly friendly or are there rule-breakers, guideline manipulators, and short-cut takers?

Would you consider that to be part of the competition?

Friendly Competition

The desire to compete, to win, to prove excellence or highest performance motivates many.

Competition can also invite pressure, the pressure for greater performance or to get recognized as above average.

Pressure might imply pushing. Getting pushed, being pushed, or risking it all for victory.

We often use the word push. Push harder, do more, get better, or stronger. Conceptually, pull is a better method.

When the pressure to achieve becomes so overwhelming a win at all costs might develop. Sometimes, people believe they need to risk it all to achieve.

They try short-cuts, end runs, and they may try to cheat.

Cheating isn’t friendly competition. It shouldn’t be part of the process.

Your highest integrity and most loyal team members won’t sacrifice their character or reputation by resorting to cheating. Unless of course, the possibility of better results outweighs the risk of getting caught.

Competition and cheating have been around for a long time.

Do you want a culture of integrity?

When you start the competition, what will be the rules? How will the rules be monitored and enforced?

Promoting competition with “no rules” means you may be weakening the integrity of your organzation.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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competitive challenge

Competitive Challenge and Processing the Outcomes

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No one wants to be a loser. Who would want that label? Are you facing a competitive challenge and are feeling a little nervous about the potential outcome?

You’re not alone.

People face challenges of various types every day. It may be a challenge to get motivated, it may be to get through traffic without road rage, or it may be an attempt to gain buy-in from the committee on your new idea.

There are other challenges too. Like, closing the sale, getting hired, or coping with a significant setback or failure.

The loser label is a significant fear. Your pride, your hard work, the embarrassment and the insults, no one wants it.

Facing the outcomes in a competitive situation can be tough.

Reality of Outcomes

You’re not always going to close the sale, you won’t always get buy-in from others, and, sometimes you won’t be the selected candidate for the job.

Most people feel like they can accept one or two losses. Even in professional sports, perfect records are very rare.

It is often the stacking that gets people down.

Like a stacked pile of books sitting on the floor, as the stack gets taller, the weight and pressure get progressively worse. Some books may suffer from damage or get crushed.

The stacking of problems, feelings of rejection, and the sometimes self-imposed labels hurt.

There are lots of ways to get out from under the stack.

One way is to quit. Which brings up another label, quitter.

For many things in life, there is a time to move on. Forget any labels. There is a time. However, that doesn’t mean it is this time.

Competitive Challenge

Better candidates do appear, the committee doesn’t always like the proposal, and losing the sale to the competition does suck.

The best thing is to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and analyze your efforts and results.

Was there personal improvement? Did you really put in the right kind of effort to be successful? Did you self-defeat, lack appropriate confidence, or illustrate a beaten down persona?

What about the homework? Did you do it? Including the research, proof reading your work, and asking the right questions?

Even if you feel like you did everything right, the outcome still may not be what you wanted.

It might be about timing, or maybe they just don’t know you.

Maybe they don’t realize how persistent you are, how hard you’ll work, or the tremendous pressure you will endure.

It’s never over until you say.

Sometimes the most competitive challenge is with yourself. Keep building, keep growing, and stay persistent.

I don’t think it’s over.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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buying choices

Buying Choices Every Customer Makes

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What choices do you make when you are shopping? New shoes, a dress or a shirt, or perhaps a new car, what do you decide? Buying choices can be challenging.

I’m thinking about an ice cream sundae.

This smartphone is probably outdated, what are the newest features in phones?

My car has been paid off for two-years, maybe I’ll get a new one.

When a hot new technology is introduced the first brand to bring it market has an advantage. The buyers only need to decide if they will buy, they don’t really have choices about brand.

Competition Can Be Good

In many places, there is a gas station and convenience store on each side of the street. At the exit of the highway, to the left and to the right there are food options. When you find a TGI Friday’s you may also notice nearby a Ruby Tuesday.

Certainly, there may be many reasons for this. One competitor may be trying to beat the other, show their dominance, become the best. Run the other out of town.

On the other hand, we may wonder if it would be better to be the only place in town?

Buying Choices

In many buying situations the buyer is making two initial choices.

The first decision is if they will buy. They may want the ice cream sundae but they have to decide if it is within their caloric allowance.

Competition sometimes answers the question the first question. When we see a McDonalds to our left, and across the street, to the right, a Burger King, we may now accept the if, we only have to decide which.

Two competing gas stations at the highway may assume the if has been answered. Buyers are exiting, now they’ll decide which one they’ll choose.

Competition sometimes means there is only one question left to answer.

Selling the idea is sometimes the biggest hurdle.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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trendy customer service

The High Price of Trendy Customer Service

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Ask about a good customer service experience and people may cite Zappos, Amazon, or Disney. Are following the trends of others the best path? Are you caught up in trendy customer service?

It seems to make sense. In life, much of what we do we learn by watching, listening, and getting hands on. Then we replicate, we mimic, and we follow the model.

Learn to tie your shoe, make a toasted cheese sandwich, or change a flat tire. We often watch, listen, and replicate.

Creating the best customer service experience may be a bit different.

Trends Are Not Unique

When we mimic, follow the model, or do what the competition is doing, the best we can hope for is to become number two.

Here is the real catch though, if every online shoe store or every theme park replicates, exactly, the best service models then the opportunity for a unique experience is less. Everything is the same or similar. It isn’t memorable.

McDonald’s or Burger King, Wendy’s or Carl’s Jr., they spend millions chasing each other and yet trying to be different.

The manufacturer that produces a pen, a silicon chip, or a plastic water bottle, may produce hundreds of thousands, all exactly the same. Good quality, a sign of trust, value, and building a brand.

When everyone is exactly the same, the lowest price wins.

Trendy Customer Service

The question more people should ask is not about how to replicate, but how to create a unique experience that makes your product or service memorable, unforgotten, cutting edge, talked about, and chased. An experience that others may find so attractive that they want to follow.

Following the leaders puts you behind. Becoming the leader advances you forward.

Certainly, we can learn from other models. Certainly, we should understand what the competition is doing. Replicating their model will always only be a path of following.

Trendy doesn’t differentiate, it’s similar.

It’s a price too high to pay.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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competition

Do You Understand Your Competition?

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Every day we are competing. We’re competing through our business, competing to close the sale, or competing to achieve a promotion or get a new job. Do you understand the competition?

We may or may not know who the competition is with, but do we understand what we’re competing on?

Parameters of Competition

If you are focused on the size of the cake or the presentation of the dessert, how it tastes may be an afterthought.

The most durable laptop computer probably isn’t the most slimmest. The fastest car probably is the biggest or even the most comfortable.

What are the parameters of competition?

Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Service: When we compete on service our focus becomes about the delivery. Time, speed, and satisfaction.
  • Trust: We work hard to illustrate examples of trust. We work to show loyalty, commitment, and perseverance. Promises kept, not broken.
  • Image: While often very subjective our time and energy are spent on what you see.
  • Credentials: The focus of the card punch. Are the educational degrees attained? The certifications valid and current? Are they issued from a reputable source?
  • Price: Value is the afterthought, everything that matters is based first on price. If it is available everywhere at the same spec, price is the only differentiator.

Competing on What?

Understanding your competition is important, but you must first understand what you are competing on.

In the best scenarios you’re competing on what matters most to you. Your passion drives the focus and results. However, what brings you to the forefront of your offering may not be what the customer is buying.

A focus on quality may mean a higher price. An abundance of effort on image may drive questions about what is under the veil. Questions about credentials may signal a lack of trust.

What are you competing on? What matters most to the buyer?

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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copycat customer service

Avoiding The Copycat Customer Service Trap

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When you want to become better, you often look for a role model. Someone may call it training, another person learning, and someone else may refer to it as coaching. Training, learning and coaching are a good idea, but make sure you aren’t falling into the copycat customer service trap.

Consciously or subconsciously sometimes we mimic what we believe is working. When we believe what we are already doing isn’t working, we often seek answers from what we believe someone else is doing to make it work.

Copycat Customer Service

When you aren’t sure which button to push on the new soda machine at the popular fast food restaurant you watch what someone else does. When you encounter a detour in an unfamiliar area while driving your car, you may decide to follow the direction everyone else appears to be going.

Some of these behaviors may lead us to get what we want, but in other cases, it may be the wrong path. Perhaps the person you chose to role model has it all wrong.

When we learn by watching, by reading, or by doing, it doesn’t guarantee that it is the right thing. In customer service, someone may be doing just enough to get buy. Is that the height of the bar you wish to achieve?

What is the height of your bar? Are you following the crowd? Do you do what others who have come before you have done?

Differentiate and Dominate

Winning the race by a tenth of a second is enough, but is that really much different from second place?

When you follow the leader the best you can hope for is second place.

The bar shouldn’t be yours to raise one notch higher than the competition. It should be yours to raise as high as possible.

You probably wouldn’t challenge an Olympic sprinter to a foot race, the bar is too high. However, you may challenge someone who with a good effort you believe you can beat.

Have you considered that being just a little better than the competition leaves a lot of open ground and invites others to join in?

When you want your brand to be known as the best make sure you avoid the copycat customer service trap. You may be able to jump higher than you think; which is completely different from jumping high enough to win.

– DEG

Originally posted on October 30, 2017, last updated on December 2, 2019.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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