Have You Set the Bar High Enough?

Posted by:

How good is good? Consider the Beatles’ Let It Be album. It contains three #1 hits: the title track (Let It Be), Get Back, and The Long and Winding Road, along with several other wonderful songs (e.g., Two Of Us, Across the Universe, and I’ve Got a Feeling); the album itself went to #1; it won a Grammy for Best Original Score (since the album was basically the soundtrack to the movie of the same name),; and, if all that weren’t enough, it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score.

And it’s generally considered to be one of the worst, if not the worst, Beatles albums.

By the standards of any other band in history, the Let It Be album would be a career high—an unequivocal success. By the Beatles’ standards, it’s their career low point. You know you’re good when the Let It Be album is considered a failure. So how good are you?

See, the Beatles had raised the bar so high that anything that wasn’t 100% genius from beginning to end was seen as a disappointment. And the Let It Be album had a few moments—just a few, mind you, among the brilliance—that felt a bit like “filler.” The Beatles’ fans—their customers—expected more.

So the question is, what do your customers expect from you? How high have you raised the bar in your own business?

Federal Express promises overnight delivery: “When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.” That’s a pretty high bar! But when you have to send something overnight, who do you think of first? FedEx raised the bar so high that if something happens and your package arrives in just two days instead of one, you consider it to be a failure. Think of it—you send a package from New York to Los Angeles on Monday, it gets there on Wednesday, and that’s a failure! But when it comes to FedEx—like the Beatles—we, the customers, expect brilliance and perfection.

Can your customers expect brilliance and perfection from you? If not, why not? If you’re in any kind of a competitive industry, your customers will expect brilliance and perfection—and if they can’t get it from you, consistently, they’ll eventually go somewhere else. It’s about exceeding expectations. And overused phrase, yes—but not one to be overlooked.

I’m in the speaking business. I want each of my audiences to be “wowed” every single time. Not some audiences. Not most audiences. And not some of the time or even most of the time. Every audience, every time. That’s how high I want the bar to be, and that’s what I want my audiences to expect of me.

So take a look at your own business. Are you “wowing” your customers every single time? Can they expect that of you? Or, to put it another way, if you were to come out with your business’s version of the Let It Be album, would your customers be thrilled…or disappointed? It all depends on how high you’ve set the bar.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
  Related Posts