As I have reflected over the years on my time working for Drill Sergeant Eugene Moore (see my previous posts for more about Mr. Moore, but he was a rule-based manager of stock boys at a department store), rule #3 has caused more action in my personal and professional life than any other. That’s a real statement when you consider that I worked for Mr. Moore in the late 70’s and early 80’s and I am still referring to his rules today.
Rule #3—If you aren’t getting better, you are getting worse. This rule is like a persistent mosquito buzzing around my ear that I can never seem to squash. This rule drives me to never let the status quo satisfy me.
Mr. Moore was adamant about this one (I mean, really, why should #3 be any different than all his other rules!). And he very effectively played all of us stock boys off against each other…I can still hear him say, “You know, Tom got that done in 20 minutes last night, it’s still taking you 25.”
Today as I have graduated from Mr. Moore’s ranks and work for a business consulting firm, I think of this rule in the context of competition. If we are not getting better than our competition, they will surpass us. They will serve customers better, develop better products and services, sell better, make more money and build more customer loyalty. In short, if we don’t pass them, they will pass us.
With times as tough as they are, we must make sure that we are doing everything we can, using every tool at our disposal and never accepting the status quo. Don’t underestimate the competition, they are trying to get better than you every day.
One tool that seems to be too often underleveraged in account management is the voice of the customer. Do we really understand our customers from their point of view? Do we understand customer segmentation in a way that allows us to better serve our key accounts? If we don’t and our competitors do, we will fail.
Don’t let this be an area where you fail to get better and let your competitor put you in the losing position.