Why You Can’t Be the Best

be the best
Why You Can’t Be the Best

What is the best car on the road?

What are the best flowers to give on Valentine’s Day?

What is the best computer you can buy?

At the risk of sounding like a consultant, the answer to all of these questions is…It depends.

The best car?  You can get the best selling car or the one with the most options.  You could say the best one is the most expensive car, or perhaps the least expensive one.

Best flowers?  That depends on the tastes of the person you’re buying for.  It could also depend on the message you want to send.  If you’re sending to a platonic friend, sending the traditional red roses may give the wrong idea.

Best computer?  You could go for the one with the most horsepower or the most storage.  But what are you going to use it for?  Is it for grandma who wants to send emails and use Facebook?  Then you probably won’t need a lot of storage…or horsepower.

How are you the best?

I meet competitive people who have a deep-seated need to always be the best.  Playing racket ball?  They’ll try to win at all costs.  Driving to the Movieplex separately?  They’ll beat you there and get a better parking spot.  They win.

Companies often act the same way.  Maybe they’re run by the same competitive people.  They have strategies to “be the best professional services firm in town” or “to have the best customer service in our industry”.

Can you be the best measurably?

The problem comes when it’s time to measure that goal.  Are we the best?  It depends.  Depends on the people you ask and what they wanted.  You can’t strive to be the best and then expect people to live up to it.

You can however, use satisfaction surveys and strive for a specific aggregate rating.  Hopefully, you asked the right questions on that survey.  You can strive to be the top seller in the industry if you can obtain verifiable sales numbers on your competition.

See my related post: Why Utopia is Unattainable

If your goal is to be the best, you had better go back to the drawing board and determine how you’ll measure that.  Then set your goal with specific numbers that you can measure and see whether you met your goal or not.

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

And that’s my best advice.

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms. 

Related Posts
Why Do You Want to Work From Home?
Working from home is a growing trend in the business world.  In an effort to cut back on office space and other overhead costs, many companies have set up their ...
READ MORE
Client Expectation Management
When a client hires a consulting firm, whether it’s a single independent consultant or a full project team from a large firm, they know they are paying a high billing ...
READ MORE
Consulting Skill: Aligning Interests with the Client
In Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s best-selling book Freakonomics, they propose a scenario in which you are selling your house with an asking price of $300,000 and receive an offer ...
READ MORE
Staffing The Right People
Like most things, coordination is critical in consulting.  Consider the following scenarios: Great news Cindy!  We’ve landed the Johnson account.  We start Monday and we want to hit the ground running.  ...
READ MORE
When Expectations and Reality Collide
A detour Sam was making good time. He was cruising down interstate 94 ahead of schedule to meet his daughter in college.  If he could keep up at this rate, he ...
READ MORE
Old School Consulting
Some of the concepts I promote in my book and blogs could be seen by many as an old school approach to consulting. Suggestions such as showing up to meetings on ...
READ MORE
How to Lose Business by Gold Plating
I worked my way through college waiting tables.  At one place I worked, we had a cook who treated employee meals differently than customer meals.  Customers received the standard fair.  ...
READ MORE
Client Focus: Telling Him He Has No Clothes
  As you may know, the folk tale The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen is the story of two dishonest weavers who convince an emperor that they can make ...
READ MORE
Do You Deliver a Transparent Status Report?
I once managed a project for a multi-site organization to implement software at each location. I held a weekly status conference-call with the company’s executives which included the branch manager from ...
READ MORE
How to Manage Client Perception
I was always taught not to worry about what people think.  That’s easier said than done. It doesn’t always work in a customer-facing scenario, particularly in the consulting world.  In a ...
READ MORE
Why Do You Want to Work From Home?
Client Expectation Management
Consulting Skill: Aligning Interests with the Client
Staffing The Right People
When Expectations and Reality Collide
Old School Consulting
How to Lose Business by Gold Plating
Client Focus: Telling Him He Has No Clothes
Do You Deliver a Transparent Status Report?
How to Manage Client Perception