The SO Factor
How to Make Your Business Stand Out In the Marketplace
Everything has become a commodity; we constantly find more inexpensive versions of the same things. Companies quickly catch up with what others have done and even a good idea quickly becomes commodicized.
How do you keep your edge? How do you get remembered? How do you develop your SO the Stand Out factor?
Even though we know that new, different, and distinct is what gets peoples attention, most of our services and products look like what people expect or what has already been done. We are stuck in a pattern doing what weve always done. Bland. Boring. Blah!
The issue is actually deeper and more personal. Most of us dont like to stand out or to be different. We started off as unique and independent seeing things in our unique patterns of synaptic responses. And then we were corralled into school. We were taught that the grass is green, the sky is blue, and the sun is yellow. What if, in your mind, the sun is not yellow but some other color? Our first thought is, thats not right. The universe has an order, and the sun has always been yellow. We perpetuate the conventional approach by requiring what should be instead of encouraging what could be.
In todays thinking or service economy, our value is in our thinking. Passionate performance happens when we have freedom to imagine, create, and innovate. Business and life successes are in the could be, not in the what is. The result is that much of the workplace, and the workforce as well, is now bland, taking yesterdays approach even though today is different. Customers and employees become bored, and the effect is employees changing jobs hoping to find more excitement and the ability to significantly contribute.
Customers and employees look for organizations that commit to the largest experiences and impact in what they do because its a lot more fun. And if an organization can be either ordinary or extraordinary, why not work and shop in a place that is extraordinary?
In stand-out thinking, being different is key. The goal is to know what others do and insist on doing something better. We dont try to fit in; we separate ourselves because, in a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. As Tom Peters states, in a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.
If the point of being in business is to develop a loyal customer base those customers who return and bring their friends it is not going to happen by doing what others do. Regardless of the case, it is about getting noticed and being remembered. Standing out is about creating something original, exciting, and dynamic.
Stand-out thinking starts with the permission to let yourself invent. This happens in an open and accepting environment. It happens when your workplace is diverse in both background and experience and when all employees are required to openly invent, think, and participate in decision-making, and allowed to say what is on their minds. This is way to invite the new, the different, and the great.
As we were herded into similar thinking, much of our ability to stand out was challenged, diminished, or eliminated. Over time we became great at doing what others did. We learned to be OK with blending and fitting in. The good news is that we can relearn how to stand out.
Focus on the following two areas to get back in touch with your stand-out abilities.
1. Learn to reconnect with your creative side.
More than 90% of 5-year-olds are creative, but only 5% of 13-year-olds (and older) are creative. We have trained ourselves out of being creative. Train yourself back into creative thinking by learning how to revisit a problem, issue, or opportunity in the following ways:
2. Build a culture of creative thinkers in your organization by taking the following steps.
Organizations that openly encourage all employees to think, dream, and invent create the possibility of standing out. And standing out is the only way to compete in this information-blurred and over-commodicized economy. Service that stands out encourages customer loyalty.
Likewise, workplaces that stand out encourage employee loyalty. At a time where there seems to be so little loyalty by either party, a bold commitment to being remembered is a critical advantage.
So, remember the bad Bs: bland, boring, and blending as a way of going bust.
To succeed, stand out. Think unique, valuable, exceptional, and exclusive. Think success by focusing on what makes you different and distinct. Then help your employees show up to get it done, step up to do it right, and stand out to be remembered.v
Jay Forte is a performance speaker, consultant, and founder of Humanetrics, LLC. He applies years of research, along with his training as a CPA, to help organizations maximize performance and profits through improved employee productivity, creative thinking, and customer service;www.humanetricsllc.com