Collapse of Distinction: Stand out and move up while your competition fails

The author Scott McKain makes a strong case for Organization Distinction.  He states that too many organizations have lost customers trying to meet their competition conditions rather than making their own.  McKain explains that organizations can succeed by focusing on four cornerstones, Clarity, Creativity, Communication, and Customer.

DistinctiveThe author’s fist cornerstone discussion and one he insists must be first, is Clarity.  How can you sell anything unless you know what it is?  This concept certainly made me think about my own situation.  What is it that makes the organization different than the rest of the pack?  I quickly realized that I couldn’t state in “High Concept” what our company really does.  High Concept is a short, less than five words, statement of who an organization, a team, or a person is.

The second cornerstone is Creativity.  Thank you, Scott McKain for taking me out of the box called “Out of the Box.”  I agree the term has become so convoluted that it is confusing.  Creativity cannot grow without roots, the knowing why and what we are creating.  My manager certainly doesn’t want a song when he needs a story.  The author gives a series of steps that are well worth considering and applying to your situation.

At first the third cornerstone, Communication, the process of telling the organization’s story, seemed a bit hokey.  Why an organization is created seemed quite obvious to me, the organization wants to sell or promote its product or service.  However, the author is saying because your competitor has the same product, you need to tell why you are different.  This difference is solely because of your story and includes all of the reasons you chose that particular product or service to support.  Secondly, you need to let everyone know what it is that makes you unique.  Finally, McKain tells us you can’t sell what you don’t know.  I found this was exceptionally beneficial for me.  It is well worth the effort to write the story down before you try to sell the world about your passion.

Finally the last corner stone is the customer.  Here the author hit the nail on the head.  One of my pet peeves is trying to purchase an item only to have the salesperson tell me that I want something else.  Just as he stated, I seldom go back to that business.  Certainly, customers may not know about or understand new products, but they do know what they are looking for and what they will spend their money on.  Taking time to learn the wants of your customer is not only an important way to develop truly impressive distinction, it is critical if you are to succeed.

While reading industry books, I often make write comments in the margin.  In this book,  “Good Point” far exceeded the “I’ll think about this” or “Missed” notations.  This book compelled me to consider what it is that makes me distinctive.  What makes my organization distinctive?  How I can become distinctive?  I highly recommend this book to any organization trying to survive in these turbulent times, and to take up the author’s charge; Don’t be simply value-added; Be Distinctive.

About the Author

Martha Rice

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