In search of mediocrity

Winning companies consistently deliver a remarkable experience to their target customers. And they strive to always stay one step ahead of the competition. Seems obvious.

But let’s face it, far too many companies’ strategies are simply to close the competitive gap. That’s a start, but it’s not good enough.

When I was at Sears, we became obsessed with tactics to improve our relative performance versus key competitors like JC Penney and Kohl’s, acting as if we would win if our customer scores went from 4’s and 5’s to 6’s or 7’s, despite consumers rating our competition 8’s or better. One of my team members deemed it our “suck less strategy.” Inelegantly worded, but sadly accurate.

If your strategy is mostly about playing catch-up, but you have a sinking feeling that even if you accomplish it you will still be behind, it’s time to get a better plan.

If, when you are rigorously honest, you know you are on a quest for mediocrity, rather than doing something powerfully relevant and compellingly differentiated for your customers, you had better hit “reset.”

If you are throwing to where the receiver is, instead of where they will be, think again.

Good to great? Inspiring. Lousy to okay? Eh, not so much.

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