Are You Leading the Pack?

I see that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is bowing out of his presidential bid after a pedestrian performance last week in the Republican debate. I think more will start following suit.

But this is NOT a political blog or article. It’s a metaphor for comprehending where your business is now and where you aspire for it to be. Allow me to explain…

Before Walker dropping out, there were 16 candidates (or so…I lost count). There were so many that many of them had to eat at the kid’s table in the debate structure….that is they were the not ready for prime time players according to the polls. Carly Fiorina made such a splash in the first debate, she moved her way up the chain and forced her way to the adult table for Round 2. In the second debate last week, you had 11 (and at times it seemed more) candidates trying to get a word in edge-wise. The result was that a few improved their position (including Fiorina) and some others dropped like the proverbial lead balloon…Walker among them. If you are following the debates at all, you’ll notice in such a large field, not everyone can capture the attention. Those that don’t are left in the abyss, while others rise.

Here’s my point…

YOU have competition. Sometimes it’s others that do what you do, or live in the same industry. Often, you have competition within the organizations you’re trying to attract as clients (e.g. consultants getting push back from internal sources). Whatever the case, if you’re not adept at becoming an object of interest, you may be yourself eating at the kid’s table and not even know it!

In presidential races, it’s often the loudest and most bombastic that take the lead. Ultimately, the ones that are most skilled at influence rise to the top. The same is true with you. There may be others that are louder, but the ability to influence, persuade, and be interesting usually wins the day. Here are some quick tips to do that:

  1. Don’t shrink from being contrarian. Everybody regurgitating the same ideas gets boring and lost. Find a way to get your message across in a way that’s brand new and thought-provoking.
  2. Defend your position. If someone challenges you, that’s fine. Make sure you don’t shirk away from controversy. I’m not talking about being obnoxious. I am saying that you need to be prepared to defend your position with interesting examples, stories, and facts.
  3. Avoid vanilla. Delivery is everything. How you express your message is just as important as your message itself. It’s steak and sizzle. You need both becasue without any sizzle, nobody will buy the steak!
  4. Being ordinary gets you pushed down. In the debates, that means going to the kid’s table. Its really about distinguishing yourself. Can you distinguish your products and services versus your competitors? How do you know?
  5. Never get fazed. The ability to smile in adversity and remain cool is noticeable to others and carries great power.

Bottom line – your business (no matter the size) needs to distinguish itself as THE front-runner; and that is up to you. How are you faring in your own “polls?”

© 2015 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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