Standing ovations are earned – every day

As a public speaker, I can assure you, there’s nothing more fulfilling than earning a standing ovation. It’s not just acknowledgment of a job well done, it’s recognition for performing at a level that truly touches the hearts and minds of the audience in a most memorable way. When you go to a Broadway show, the performers know that the only way to earn that coveted standing ovation is to play their parts full out from curtain up to curtain down. Standing ovations are earned by giving it all you’ve got.

A few years ago, we were having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. The meal was so extraordinarily wonderful that we gave our rave reviews to our waiter. Delighted to hear the accolades, he said, “The praise should really go the chef – it’s his first night with us.” I replied, “Can we go into the kitchen and deliver the praise personally?” Clearly taken by surprise, he escorted us into the kitchen where the four of us said, “Bravo.” There were smiles all around. I bet that chef still remembers how his opening night earned him a standing ovation.

What would it look like if a business could earn a standing ovation? Imagine your customers taking the time to stand and applaud the experience they just had interacting with your business. That would be pretty cool indeed.

Is your business going full out every day to earn such accolades? If not, why not? What’s standing in the way? Consider the following no-compromise strategies to earn your standing ovations:

  • Doing business IS just like a Broadway show: Everyone plays a role and needs to know their lines. One weak link is all it takes to reduce an extraordinary business to “average.” How many of your employees show up to be a contributing member of your team? How many show up as weak links – and what are you doing to address it?
  • Deliver on your promise to your customer: Too often, there is a disconnect between the actual performance of the business and the experience it promises to deliver to its customers. Does your business deliver everything it promises, or is it blindly stuck in its own hype? Most often, it’s the presence of indifference in the business culture that breaks the promise. Indifference sounds like, “I don’t care,” “It’s not my job,” and “OK is good enough.”
  • Structure, systems, accountability and commitment: Standing ovations are the result of disciplined practice and refinement. When a business promises extraordinary experiences and quality while short-changing the training and development process, that’s called compromise.
  • Challenge your team to go for standing ovations: Actually, going for the standing ovations is a non-negotiable. Don’t just raise the bar – challenge your team raise it higher. And when those standing ovations begin, you’ll be able to measure it in your customer-retention rates.

Here’s a final thought: Once you and your team experience regular standing ovations, assess exactly where you are. I bet you’ll be at that “next level” you’ve been talking about.

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Please share your thoughts with me about today’s Monday Morning Wake-Up. Click the Comment button above.

Neil Ducoff, Founder & CEO of Strategies and author of No-Compromise Leadership

Pass this e-mail on to your business colleagues, managers and friends. They’ll appreciate it.


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