Do you have any special qualities? Are you yourself special? Of course you are, there is no doubt about that. But the key question here is: Are these qualities similarly perceived by others?
A while ago, I was in Dallas, Texas, with the NSA, the National Speakers Association of the US, where 1,200 speakers from more than ten countries met to exchange ideas, network, and learn from each other. An exciting experience every time!
Among several points presented there, one particular piece of inspiration stood out for me:
Scott McKain, whose expertise is positioning and differentiating oneself in competition with others.
Nothing new for me, I thought, as a former Unilever employee who worked in marketing for years.
Or so I thought.
But his questions have been keeping me very busy and are currently helping me to think about my positioning as a Speaker for Leadership.
I’m not a brand. Or am I?
Now, you may say, “Yes, ok, that’s just for people who work in marketing and have to be careful that their advertising is on point and represents the characteristics of the respective brand.”
And this counts, of course, for every self-employed person, for every entrepreneur.
Also for you, even if you “just” want to be a manager and not an entrepreneur.
Because how do you want to be seen?
Most importantly, what special thing are you particularly good at? Are you able to emphasize this sufficiently for others to perceive your better qualities?
Three questions from the Differentiation Guru
Ask yourself these three questions:
What sets you apart, what can you do differently and better than your competitors or colleagues?
Because if there’s nothing you can do better than the others, then why should customers buy from you? Or – if you’re a manager – why should your boss consider you for an exciting new position or a substantial pay raise?
What experience does a customer or colleague have with you when you do your job or service? What words would your customer use to describe it?
What are you doing to go beyond the normal standards?
For example, if you want to be respectful, goal-oriented, and creative, then the question is “HOW” you can be respectful, goal-oriented, and creative.
Today, for example, my employee has told me that he is fascinated by how I rush into implementing a project – currently the optimization of our homepage. But at the same time, he finds me impatient and with a short temper.
I am now asking myself the question of how I can be challenging and goal-oriented, while at the same time remaining clear, patient, and appreciative.
Why have I not asked myself these questions sufficiently in the past?
Is it because I already have a lot of experience?
Is it because I’ve become comfortable, because I’ve been successfully self-employed for fifteen years?
Is it because I’m already working for a lot of high-profile clients?
Success is dangerous
Success carries with it the danger of becoming comfortable and no longer trying so hard, or even of being sloppy.
While I’m not lazy – I work more than 40 hours a week – I haven’t yet looked at this point in enough detail.
I firmly believe that it is always good to question oneself and put one’s own thinking and actions to the test. Not every day, but regularly. If you’re not doing so well, then it is even more important, and if you’re doing well, then this will help to make sure it stays that way.
I’m sure that anyone who carefully considers these three questions is very likely to have a more purposeful and fast-paced career. I am also sure that anyone who thinks about this and, of course, initiates the appropriate actions, will do a better job every single day. As a leader within an organization, as a self-employed person, or as an entrepreneur.
And depending on which areas of life you might also want to consider, for example as a father, mother, daughter, son, wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-worker, or teammate, you decide which areas to look at.
You have The Choice. This is both the beauty and the responsibility of the matter.
How do you want to live?
Do you want to consciously set the course?
Do you want to change, optimize, get better?
Or do you want to carry on as before?
Carrying on as before is not bad in itself, because you are successful. I am making this assumption because otherwise you wouldn’t be reading blogs like this on a regular basis.
Here you can download Scott McKain’s PDF, which he is happy to share with everyone. Take at least 45 minutes to go over it. Put your phone in flight mode and don’t check your emails.
If you still need some inspiration to protect yourself from distractions, check out my Blog Impulse 190 – Interruptions by Energy Vampires – so far in German only though.
I wish you every success in your positioning, in your thoughts, and in your implementation. Then you can enjoy being even more competent, differentiated, and successful.