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Ever Sharpening the Saw

Gail Schaper-Gordon, Ph.D.

Taking time away from the day to day, to take in new information and to reflect on your life and accomplishments, is more of a necessity than a luxury for getting the most out of life.

After an amazingly quick six days in New Orleans’ French Quarter, while my husband attended an international convention for pension plan trustees, I found myself refreshed and naturally easing back into thinking about clients and writing an introduction to a December newsletter. But not before having a fried oyster salad with glazed hot sauce and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at Brennen’s Palace Cafe down the street from the Ritz Carlton.

Feasting on the culture of the “Big Easy” — with live music filling the air from street corners and clubs for blocks on end, not to mention culinary experiences as extraordinary as their locations are inconspicuous — took us far away from our California lifestyle and everyday life.  Seeing this vibrant city and touring the Ninth Ward, six years after Katrina, instilled hope, as evidence of the human capacity for recovery and renewal.  Walking the mile-long, now-pristine convention center and seeing the once-again magnificent Superdome, I couldn’t help but remember the horrific images of desperate people gathered after the floods and waiting for relief.  High-water marks on poles and markings still left on some houses by the search-and-rescue workers were sometimes subtle, always powerful reminders of the disaster.  Seeing it today, it’s hard to imagine that people once thought this city might not be able to recover from the devastation.  But New Orleans is no ordinary city, because of the people who believe in the extraordinary New Orleans experience and in keeping that alive.

And that brings me to the Simon Sinek YouTube video How Great Leaders Inspire Action, a “must see” for everyone who owns or leads a business.  Simon talks about how most of us tell prospective or existing clients what we do and how we do it, when people really want to know what they should expect to experience when they buy and use our products or services.  He compares the success, or lack of success, of various companies, by using Apple and Steve Jobs as the model for creating a business based on the experience more than the product.

Most of you reading this article have been affected, some more than others, by the recent economic events.  Have you in adjusting, perhaps just to survive, sacrificed the “experience quotient” of your product or service?  Have you been so focused on cutting payrolls and other costs that you’ve lost the intangible experience that set you apart from your competitors?  Do you even know what unique impact you were having on your clients?  Or are you one of the few who have continued to succeed because you have stayed focused on the experience you provide to your clients?

If you are not one of the few who are succeeding, I suggest you rethink what you are doing and what you say about what you do.

To your business success!

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Gail Schaper-Gordon, Ph.D.
Vistage  Group Chair

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