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. 

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