March 11, 20150 Comments

image001Our team is frequently hired to advise companies on how to become more relevant. Actually, companies want us to tell them how to be “the MOST relevant” in their industry. This is a challenge because we have yet to come across the 100% perfectly relevant organization. You’d think we had found that perfect company by now because we get the unique opportunity to study hundreds of organizations each year. Some are multi-billion dollar NASDAQ companies. Others are mom-and-pop operations. Some make an embarrassing amount of money. Others are struggling to keep the lights on.
But the smart leaders (large and small) all worry about the same thing.
None of them are totally satisfied with their level of ‘relevance.’ They can’t sleep at night thinking, “What should I be doing that I’m not?”
Achieving Total Relevance is like chasing the end of a rainbow. Our economy is too evolutionary to ever find that hidden pot of gold. You will always covet what your competitors have, and they will always covet what you have. You will want their leadership and they will want yours. You will want their offices and they will want your distribution network. Nobody we have seen will ever get everything they want–when they want it. 100% relevancy might actually be something you’ll celebrate for awhile…but that state is temporary because market conditions and circumstances change too quickly.
We are not saying we can’t help you find relevance. We can inspire you by cross-pollinating what the best people and their processes are accomplishing. We will also encourage you to keep driving toward best-in-class expertise. But here’s a secret. Many of your competitors will just get tired and give up. And you can take more market share by just showing up!
Ok, knowing that perfection is a highly elusive goal, the best strategy for you is to do better than you did yesterday and diligently stay on your path. Be prepared that the path is fraught with dead ends and U-turns. Just when you think, “we’ve nailed it,” your plans will be derailed by the unexpected competitor, the manufacturer defect, or a silly government regulation. Curse the heavens if you like, but then calm down. Accept reality. And react quickly to your changing landscape. You don’t have to be absolutely perfect to be a highly profitable world-beater. We “get” the six-sigma in you that wants to perform at a mission critical 99.9%. We hope you do. But if you don’t, comfort yourself in knowing that 87% perfect is still perceived as perfection by your customers.
Ross Shafer is a popular keynote speaker and author of Are You Relevant? Absolutely Necessary, Nobody Moved Your Cheese, The Customer Shouts Back, and Grab More Market Share.
To contact Ross: Call (910) 256-3495 or email

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