Tag: Featured

What’s Your Superpower?

Comic Con 2018 has come and gone and the masks must come off. What’s left…just you and your Superpower…what is it? Do you even know…if you don’t, ask others, they can tell you.

Maybe your super power is that you are extremely patient or cool under pressure, maybe you are super curious or a great listener, maybe you are super persistent or out hustle everybody else. Maybe you are a great idea person or visionary, maybe you are a great mathematician or extremely mechanically inclined, or maybe you are a great speaker or writer. How about any of these: Tenacious, Problem Solver, Hyper-Focused, or Extreme Attention to Detail. What is it that comes super easy to you and you could do all day because you just love it? Don’t box yourself in to just what you’ve been doing for the last 2, 5, or 10 years…how did you get there anyway?

I love this older post from John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing on the same subject where he says “you may have to dig deep to reacquaint yourself with your superpower. You may have masked it because you think it’s not very business oriented. You may have to go back to when you thought anything was possible, back to when you played like a kid.”

Being bigger and stronger than everybody else doesn’t always work either…think David vs. Goliath or the sharp tree spears in Braveheart that they waited for the last minute to pull out on the advancing cavalry. That’s also why there is a draw play in football…suck the super aggressive defenders in and then run right through the middle as they outrun the pocket. Sometimes you need to restrain that superpower a bit or maybe your super power is to be clever enough to outflank your overwhelmingly strong opponent with one of the above maneuvers.

Find your superpower and bring it to work with you in every aspect of your day. Get out there and do the unexpected. Also, remember, the key to success isn’t just applying this superpower to your work, but also not focusing on the shiny new things that are not your superpower. Is there somebody else working with you that has these powers that you lack?

Focusing on your superpower is how you create separation between you and the rest of the pack. So, go ahead and take off that mask you’ve been hiding behind and go be you with all your unique superpowers!

Pareto Principle or the 80/20 Rule

If there is one law that I apply over and over, all day long, to whatever I possibly can in my life, personal or business, it is the genius of Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto and his brilliant 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle which simply states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

The basic idea here can be seen everywhere:

  • 80% of your sales probably come from 20% of your products
  • 80% of your revenues probably come from 20% of your clients…20% of your clients probably also give you 80% of your headaches and probably not the same 20% that drives revenue
  • 80% of the wealth is held by 20% of the population
  • You probably wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time
  • 700 common words make up 2/3 of everyday conversations
  • Who are the 20% of your acquaintances that make you the 80% most crazy

You get the idea. Sometimes it can be way more extreme than 80/20 and you need the right balance. Having 1 customer that drives 95% of your business may feel easy, but not when they disappear…look at all the companies that have supplied Apple in the past that they have laid to waste when they changed suppliers.

Think about how you apply this to your day, every day…

  • Focus on what to improve: Break your problems down and focus on the items that particularly move the dial…layer on resources to really make an impact. 80% of your effort on the 20% that really get things moving
  • Focus on what to remove: Look at the 5% of things that are not working in your business or your life…there is always 5% that can be cleaned up and may make you 20% more efficient or 90% happier!
  • It’s not 1 to 1: realize that to improve by 50% doesn’t necessarily mean a 50% bigger effort, maybe a 5 to 10% increase in methodology can easily turn into a 50% return…talk about creating separation from your competition in a hurry

…some things you cannot change that easily, but just identifying your strengths & weaknesses will help you better cope. Try channeling Mr. Pareto more often and 80/20 your way to more success, freedom, and happiness!

Don’t Strive for Better, Strive for Different

Most companies focus too much on better products, when perception is far more important… the first product in someone’s mind is usually superior.  In fact, it’s even better to be first than it is to be better. Be realistic about your place on the ladder (If You Ain’t First You’re Last) and then work to position yourself against the next guy in line. Everyone by now has heard of the Avis example of their “we try harder” slogan…whether or not they actually did try harder is besides the point, they were just trying to position themselves against number one (Hertz).

Don’t try to be better (it never works), try to be different. Think of these examples:

  • 7Up moved from the tiny lemon lime soda market into the number three spot in the much larger cola market by calling themselves the Un-Cola.
  • Apple focuses only on the high $$$ market…10% of the customers, but 75% of the profits

So, not only should you pick a niche, you must! But, make sure that it has enough profitable potential customers. All you need is 1,000 True Fans and you are off to the races.

What is your differentiator: Service, Distribution, etc. Look for the hole to fill. Everyone is interested in what is new, not what is better. Better is nowhere, different is where it’s at! I got a kick out of this video by Derek Sivers…one man dancing can start a whole crowd, but you must be bold enough to put yourself out there.

Now, go be different!

Eliminate, Automate, Delegate

Life out of control? Need to better prioritize/organize? Here are 3 steps that might help you reign things in a bit:

  • Eliminate – what can you just say “No” to? The “Hell Yeah”, or No approach is a great one for this
  • Automate – eliminate first, after that what can you automate so no one has to touch it?
  • Delegate – don’t do this until you’ve done the 2 steps above. Why pay someone to do something that shouldn’t even be done or can be done minus a human being?

No rocket science here, but a good way to try and bring back a little more control over your life. Here are some other ideas on how to Simplify even further.

Get Started: a Little Every Day…Inertia is Key

If you are interested in creating separation from your competition, you have to start somewhere. Here’s a post on how to get things going…

Travis Moench

Go
“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now” -Chinese proverb

How many times have you had ideas, thoughts, or grand dreams that you never took action on. There is something to be said for having the discipline to say “No” to the majority of the flood of things that pop into your head and to focus on the few that have personal meaning for you. On the other hand, there are many things we know we should be doing, but taking that first step forward is our challenge. “Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance. Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who has never started a venture? Resistance has no strength of its own, we feed it with power…

View original post 468 more words

Minimum Effective Dose

Water boils at 212F…any more than that doesn’t boil it any more than it already is!

  • If you are in a race, you only need to be a fraction of a second faster than everybody else…winning by 30 minutes makes you no first-er
  • In basketball and football you just need 1 more point than the other team, in baseball just one more run…in fact if you are up by a wide margin, you sit your best players to let them rest
  • Maybe you don’t need to study at all to get a C, but need to study 40 hours to get an A…what’s it worth to you and what are your alternative options with that 40 hours?

The point is, you need to understand what it takes to get ahead and work toward that. Just working hard with no knowledge of what it takes to achieve your goal may make you severely over work or maybe even under perform.

So, the question really is…what is the minimum effective dose that it will take to achieve the outcome that you really want?

Parkinson’s Law

Back in 1955 a British naval historian by the name of Cyril Northcote Parkinson wrote his first article on what would eventually become Parkinson’s Law which states the following: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”…without producing significantly better results.

The basic idea here is this…don’t take 30 days to do something that can be done almost as well in 24 hours. Work will always expand to meet the hours in a day that you give it. So, work with a deadline, even if it is an artificial one. Shrink your timelines…constraints are a good thing…they force you to do more with less.

So, the next time you are given a project, severely shrink your timelines and you will be shocked at what you can achieve. You can see this in practice every day by all of the greatest companies and inventors…Elon Musk with SpaceX and Tesla, Jeff Bezos at Amazon, etc. One of the greatest inventors ever even took it a step further…Thomas Edison would talk about his ideas to the media before they were even ready…this would force him to get after it and stay on task.

One way to tackle this is to consider that the hardest thing to do is get started. If you can get the wheels in motion, consider that you might be able to get a project 85-90% of the way along in 24 hours, but the entire project may take 30 days. The second hardest thing to do is to conquer that last mile. So, maybe you can get things to 85-90% and hand off or outsource that last 10-15% that eats up more of your time.

So, continually apply Parkinson’s Law to find the shortest feasible path to completion, given the necessary trade-offs required by the work. Soon, you’ll be wondering what to do with all of your free time! Here’s one of the best posts I feel I’ve written on how to Get To It!

 

Creating Separation…NBA-Style

Here are some of my favorite NBA ankle breaking moves to create just enough separation from the defender to get an easy bucket. These guys exemplify what we’re talking about…you have to do something to get your competitors off balance just enough to give you some space to make your move…

Steph Curry Fakes out Chris Paul

CP3 Loses Defender on Stepback 3-Pointer

Kyrie Irving Under The Legs Pull-Back

In all of these, they didn’t create miles between themselves and their competitors, but just enough room to get an advantage. That’s all you need is some breathing room, but you need to know what it takes to create that separation and get to work.

 

 

5 of My Favorite Short Reads

If you want to create separation between yourself and your competitors, it’s time to think differently. Here are 5 fabulously written theories on how to focus and invest your time and effort…

1000 True Fans:Brilliantly written by Kevin Kelly a while back, the basic point is if you can find 1,000 True Fans for whatever it is you are doing, you are off and running.

No, but really, How Do I Get an Agent: One of my favorite short reads from Brian Koppelman (the co-writer of Rounders, Billions, and a lot of other fun stuff). What he is trying to get across is just making something great won’t sell it, but if you put in the work, anything is possible. Don’t think you can just create something and everyone will beat a path to your door…it doesn’t work that way!

Hell Yeah, or No by Derek Sivers: Derek Sivers wrote this clever post that can be summed up by the title itself. Your time is precious…if you can’t say “Hell Yeah, I really want to do that” to something, just say “No”…you will be much happier for it and be able to put much more time into the “Yes’s”

Small Wins by Karl E. Weick: One of my favorite articles was written in 1988 by Karl E. Weick on the power of small wins. Others have written articles on the same subject, but this one is my favorite. The overall idea is that taking small bites out of a bigger more daunting challenge will get you where you want to go, whereas just trying to jump to the top in one giant stroke is near impossible. It’s a little bit of a longer read, but I posted a quick summary here too if you want to check it out…Law #5: Small Wins

Becoming an Idea Machine: My last in this list is a great post from James Altucher who talks about just coming up with 10 Ideas a Day. To keep yourself fresh and relevant, you should work every day to come up with 10 new ideas (not nearly as hard as it seems…read on). It’s a little longer, but worth the read, but I’ve also summarized it here at 10 Ideas a Day

If You Ain’t First, You’re Last!

Ricky Bobby famously said this in the movie Talladega Nights, “If you ain’t first, you’re last”. Now, that might be a bit extreme, but being first can make a big difference.

ricky bobby

Consider this…all brands in a category have rungs on a ladder. #1 tends to have 1.5 – 2X the share of #2, #2 is 1.5 – 2X  that of #3, etc. Of course this varies, but pretty amazing how much it plays out. Think about examples like:

  • Fast Food Burgers: McDonalds vs. BK vs. everybody else
  • Internet Seach: Google vs. Bing, Yahoo, etc
  • Smartphones: Samsung vs. Apples vs. everybody else
  • Coffee Houses: Starbucks vs. Dunkin’ Donuts vs. everybody else, etc.

Ricky Bobby was right that being first is a big deal, but if you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category…Bert Hinkler was the second person to fly across the Atlantic… Amelia Earhart was third, but she was the first woman.

If somehow you find room for yourself to be first in a new category, pick a name that can work generically: Advil (ibuprofen), Tylenol (acetaminophen), Q-tip, Band-Aid, Kleenex, Jell-O, Saran Wrap, Crazy Glue, etc…that will give you a much longer life and create that separation between you and the competition.

When considering when to try and insert yourself in the mix, consider that it is even better to be too early than to be too late. It is better though to be first in the mind than first in the marketplace… even if you are late to the market you can still be first in the mind.

So, get out there and be more like Ricky Bobby…”Shake & Bake”!

Again, if you haven’t read either of these, do it (I’ve borrowed liberally from both…these guys are brilliant!)…

Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout

22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout