The CEO of a well-known company, once said: "All things being equal…" He was referring to his VP of Sales' projections for the upcoming quarter.
"All things being equal…" is a great way to start if you love losing. It's also a lie that too many in management tell themselves.
We cringe at the phrase, because all things are NEVER equal. No two companies or products are ever completely the same. No two operations work the same way. A product may be similar but warehousing and distribution may be different.
Access to management may be different, credit terms, support, accounting staff, etc. Take, for example, the recent 3M crisis, where transplant CEO James McNerney tried forcing General Electric's six-sigma culture down 3M's throat. Wildly successful at GE, it was unpalatable at 3M.
Like people, each company is unique, not equal. That's why the premise for anything you do shouldn't be based on a condition that doesn't, can't, and won't ever exist. As someone in management, you wear a lot of hats in a day. That means you have to think, plan, and make the best decisions without being held back by ignorance.
Believing that all things are equal is a barrier to blast down. The earlier you do, the faster you'll see results. Here's how to get started:
1. Within you, control your tongue by eliminating all self defeating comments. "All things being equal," is the equivalent of saying you're a commodity with absolutely no differentiation. What should roll off your tongue is why you are special.
2. Operationally, identify your uniqueness and then capitalize on improving the performance so that others see you as a leader in the field. Wouldn't it be great if all your competitors believe there's no difference between them and you, yet you come out with faster delivery options.
Conway Trucking converted two-day truck lanes to one-day truck lanes so that customers receiving shipments from California to Arizona received their packages a day earlier.
3. In sales and marketing, identify five characteristics about your company, product or service that are different and then, here's the biggie, spend some time creating the exact words someone should use in discussion. Make sure the characteristics are so powerful that they'd "wow" any intelligent buyer.
4. Internally direct resources to mastering innovation—not to be confused with creativity. Creativity is the gas and innovation is the engine. Creativity expands ideas while innovation, done right, brings products to market.
5. In the marketplace, don't let others pigeon hole your company or products based upon your own language. Consider that all humans have basic characteristics and yet each one of us can identify why we are different.
Differentiation can arise from developing new skills that shout, HEY LOOK AT ME. This means telling your story to the market so that others are aware of how "all things are not equal."
6. In your career, break the mold. Are you still trying to emulate your mentor with disappointing outcomes? His or her career conditions were not equal to yours.
Is your mindset rigid, robbing you of the ability to see alternative routes to career goals? What existed as opportunity years ago is not equal to your conditions today. You are a product; what differentiates you? The tools of management are mental.
They can be skills, strategies, experiences, and the ability to cross-pollinate what you know in order to move your organization and its people on the path of success. Once you are aware of false and defeating beliefs, like thinking that all things are equal, you move yourself onto a faster track of achievement.
David and Lorrie Goldsmith are managing partners of MetaMatrix Consulting Group, LLC. Their firm offers consulting and speaking services internationally including clients from Fortune 200 to international associations. David also has named by Successful Meetings Magazine as one of the "26 Hottest Speakers in the Industry." A best selling author characterized David in this manner,"David Goldsmith is unique in that he can see a 30,000 feet view of business and then delivers the hand-to-hand tools for combat. Few people can do what he does." You can reach them at (315) 682-3157 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org