Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shoot for the Stars...You Might Just Hit the Moon!

Benchmarks = Mediocrity
~ Seth Godin

[Post by Cliff Harvey]

Lately I have been getting a double helping of inspiration in the morning from two sources: Believers by my good friend Dr Ian Brooks and Small is the New Big by Seth Godin

Both are collections of short, inspiring business (and life) anecdotes, and so lend themselves to providing a quick shot of motivation, ideas and energy to a productive and purpose filled day of awesomeness! 

I start the day by reading a chapter/story from Believers and then listen to the audio book of Small is the New Big on the way into my office. This morning, after being sufficiently motivated to give my clients and patients the absolute BEST customer experience I could, I was struck whilst driving, by Seth's simple words 'Benchmarks equal mediocrity...'

This simple phrase meshed seamlessly with Ian's take on the current economic crisis. Which (and I am liberally paraphrasing) is that the only way to survive, and thrive in these lean economic times is simply to provide a superior customer experience. 
I think at the end of the day any of us who are in a business or activity that we love are on the most basic of levels simply providing a conduit for our clients/customers to be happier. This is the essence of a positive customer experience in my opinion. 
Was my client happier as a result of their experience with me?
Were they overjoyed with the experience they had?....
Were the enchanted and blown away by the experience?!
- If they were you can guarantee that they will be back as customers and that they will tell others about it (according to Ian, research shows that they will tell an average of 9 people about the experience!)

If on the other hand we satisfy ourselves with arbitrary bench marks of standards and service, rather than striving to enchant our customers and overwhelm them with a joyous experience we may simply be shooting for mediocrity. 

The danger of course in setting bench marks as a target is that often they are simply not big enough. They are not the 'Big Hairy Audacious Goals' (I stole this from super-heroine activist Sarah Jamieson) that drive us to   achieve at levels we previously thought impossible. 
The little goals we often don't even achieve because they don't create that fear...that 'Oh F**K!' feeling that setting and making ourselves accountable to a really big goal does. 
The bigger the goal the more we will be driven to achieve it because we need to steel ourselves, commit to a higher degree and we feel an imperative to work harder and more consistently. 
It is easier to slack off when we 'know' that we can achieve a goal quite easily. 

And at the very least if you shoot for the stars you may hit the moon. If you shoot for the moon you may not even leave the ground...