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How Obsession and High Standards Drive Success in Business
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Discover how obsession with high standards can be the key to transforming your business and surpassing the competition.

“How you do one thing is how you do everything.” This quote is attributed to T. Harv Eker. There are a number of people that are obsessed. The obsessed demand high standards. Steve Jobs is the best example of someone who was obsessed with raising standards.

In a marketing class at Harvard Business School, the professor asked whether Apple should be considered a going concern when they only had 5 percent of the computer market. I raised my hand, and responded that all the BMWs and Mercedes in the faculty parking lot should be subject to that same test of market share.

The next day, I walked in with my MacBook. No less than 10 people surrounded that device, which wasn’t capturing much market share but was instead capturing attention and imagination. Jobs then launched the iPhone and iPad, before saving music with iTunes, followed by Apple TV.

You should find your obsession and a passion to rival someone like Jobs or Musk. You should also work like the obsessed. “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

Internal Struggles with Minimal Viable Standards

You are surrounded by people who are content to do just enough to be acceptable. You are also encircled by managers and leaders who uphold these low standards. These two groups work well together, as neither will cause the other to raise their standards. Once this takes hold in a company, you are better off going to the gas station, filling up a number of gas cans, and burning the business to the ground.

I would take the odds that you are aware of the two groups with low standards in your company. You may also have experienced a great employee leave your company because the standard was too low for their standards. You will have no trouble identifying someone with higher standards.

On a flight, I was sitting next to a senior sales leader. As we were talking about success and hiring, my seatmate said: “I only hire salespeople that are crisp.” I didn’t need to ask him what “crisp” meant because I was looking at it. White shirt. Expensive Tie. Creased. Thin, minimal attaché case.

External Impact of Minimal Viable Standards

“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

Often, you lose clients who have higher standards than you. When this happens, there is a great chance you will be displaced by a competitor who meets the contacts’ higher standards.

If you are known for doing lackluster work you will have a difficult time winning, retaining, and growing your clients. Your reputation will precede you as people talk about the underwhelming experience you provided them. This is not the same as having a problem or a single failure, as every great company has these issues. Problems are not the same as low standards.

Navigating the Conflict between High Standards and Low Standards

High standards often take root because the leader has high standards. Leaders with high standards seek out true believers, even if they struggle to build the teams they need.

The true believers with high standards will always conflict with those who are comfortable with low standards. The high-standards group will try to force others to raise the bar. High standards require a person to do hard things. It also means they don’t take shortcuts or fail to do what needs to be done.

Ensuring Client Satisfaction through High Standards

Those who acquire clients will want their delivery teams to ensure they provide the value they sold the client. No one wants to win a new client only to have to replace them soon after their delivery team starts to execute.

One strategy you might consider is to help your operations team understand the client’s expectations. This way, they can be certain they don’t do something that will cause the client to take a call from a competitor with higher standards.

In one business, we hired new employees with experience in the industry. When they were being onboarded and trained, three of them asked: “Do you really do this work every time?” confessing the companies they worked for previously hadn’t done the same degree of training, even though some of it is required by law. These employees were more than happy to do this work and felt better about their jobs.

Achieving High Standards for Business Success

To improve your business and deliver for your clients, leaders need to raise the standards of everything they do. This may mean you have to replace someone who refuses to do their best work. You may also have to hire people who are excited to work with others who want to do good work.

Achieving high standards takes time , effort, and higher-caliber people, but your clients and customers will notice. You want your team to chase “a standard of exceptional,” and you want to model that yourself.

Conclusion: Finding Your Tribe to Chase Exceptional Standards

In all endeavors, you will find people who do as little as possible. They are not engaged in doing the exceptional work that attracts clients. Instead, they tend to cause the most problems.

In these same companies, there are leaders and others with higher grade work. If you want to chase exceptional, you will need to find your tribe. You and your tribe will need to work on building teams that are capable of bringing this standard.

Here are a few resources for learning more:

Eliminating Your Minimally Acceptable Personal Standards

The Most Important Personal Standard

Excellence is Raising Your Standards

Never Lower Your Standards

Leaders Raise the Standard

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Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 22, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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