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Get in the Loop to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Planning is certainly important to set your direction. Analysis is necessary, but a lot of people take it too far. At some point, you just have to do it.

United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd developed a concept for the military called OODA Loops. OODA is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act.

It’s a useful concept in business as well. Boyd postulated that you gain an advantage if you work through this loop faster than others. This is particularly true in today’s highly competitive, rapidly changing business world.

Start by getting in the loop

Boyd’s four processes are overlapping and interacting. That’s why you gain an advantage by getting in the loop. As you move through it, you constantly receive new information. Feedback that you don’t get if you never act. You’re able to use that feedback to adapt.

And that’s what gives you an advantage – you know things that the “analyzers” haven’t discovered. You can’t know everything before you make a decision, even if you conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any number of other things.

Because they’re all speculative … conjecture … hypothesis. When you take action, you get real facts. Hard evidence. Things you only get by taking action.

Action is what creates the advantage
Nothing happens until you take action. Once you do, you start gaining information that others don’t have. You’re getting real data, while the others are still analyzing the situation.

By taking action, it’s not guaranteed that you will succeed. However, you have the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. That education gives you a competitive advantage over those who aren’t yet in this game. That’s part of the process.

So get in the loop … and do something – even if it’s wrong!

Using OODA Loops in business
Let’s say you’re in business. You spot an underserved market – customers want something that your competitors don’t offer. You start gearing your organization in that direction. You choose a strategy to penetrate that market. Then you do it.

Now while that’s going on, your competition is catching up. But you’re there first, so you’re learning things about the market they don’t know yet. You have new observations which you use to tweak your strategy to maintain your competitive edge.

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Our bigg quote today comes from Arie de Geus, who said,

“The ability to learn faster than your competitors
may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

So jump in the loop so you stay in the loop and gain the upper hand.

Next time, we’ll offer four tips that can lead you to a million dollars. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Sources

OODA Loop – Wikipedia

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War 

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Quit Jumping on Me Like a Dog!

We send out a Bigg Salute to Chris Brogan for coining this phrase and letting us run with it. He was describing a situation with an overly aggressive salesperson he had just met. This person was trying to win Chris’s business. As Chris said, “This guy wouldn’t quit jumping on me like a dog … and my tail wasn’t wagging!”

So if you don’t want to “jump on people like dogs”, here are four tips to keep in mind.

#1 – Don’t get too revved up.
It’s understandable that you’re excited about what you do. But they may not be as excited as you. At least not at this point. Look for cues. If they’re responsive to what you’re saying, then keep going. But if not, back off.

#2 – Don’t just pitch, pitch, pitch.

When you meet someone for the first time, get to know them. Start building a relationship. What are their interests? If you start the conversation by talking about them, you will almost certainly be invited to tell them what you do. When you are, keep it short. What’s your elevator speech?

#3 – Don’t go for an immediate sale.

Know what you want to accomplish, but keep it reasonable. It’s a step-by-step process. If you exchange business cards, and have a brief conversation, that may be a great start. Now you can follow-up and try to get to the next step.

#4 – Assume that now is a great time for them to talk to you in depth.

You don’t know what’s on their mind. What kind of day they’ve had. What kind of mood they’re in. Wouldn’t you rather talk to them about what your offer when they can give it the attention it deserves? Talk to them when they can give you 100% of their attention!

What internet marketers know about building relationships

Internet marketers ask us to “opt-in” … they get our permission to market to us by asking for our e-mail. You can do the same thing in person. Tease what you can do and then ask for permission to follow-up. If they say “No” … don’t sweat it. Someone else will say “Yes!” 

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Our bigg quote today is by Bob Burg:

"The successful networkers I know, the ones receiving tons
of referrals and feeling truly happy about themselves,
continually put the other person's needs ahead of their own."

So don’t jump on people like dogs because that dog won’t hunt!

Next time, we’ll discuss how to get in the loop to gain a competitive advantage. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes.

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Mom’s Lasting Legacy

Mother’s Day is bittersweet both for us since our moms have passed on. But their memories are always with us along with the lessons that we learned from them. That’s the lasting legacy of all of our moms.

Here are three lessons we each learned from our moms:

Mary-Lynn

Be confident in who you are.
I remember coming home from school one day in tears because some girls on the bus had made fun of me. Mom told me it doesn’t matter what other people say. She told me to walk away and ignore them. Don’t stoop down to their level because two wrongs don’t make a right. Then she hugged me and told me how special I was and how much she loved me.

Be willing to sacrifice.
Mom encouraged my sister and me to be in any extracurricular activities in which we were interested. She provided the rides – dropping us off and picking us up. She willingly gave of herself for us.

Think rainbows and butterflies, not gloom and doom.
This was one of mom’s sayings. She encouraged me to get in touch with my creative side and imagine the possibilities. She wanted me to feel free in that happy place. You can’t achieve your dreams if you’re in a gray, stormy place hiding under cover. I use this to this day when I’m having a down day.

George

It’s better to give than receive.

Mom always had this desire to help anyone in need. Even towards the end, as long as she was able, she would do anything to serve others. I remember one time she said that she had driven this “little old lady” to the doctor. Knowing that mom was about 85 at the time, I asked how old this woman was. “Oh, she’s about 87, I suppose.”

Make the most of your money.
Mom was a prodigious saver. She could stretch a penny further than anyone I’ve ever seen.  One way she did this was to make ordinary things extraordinary. There were a number of meals that I thought were something special as a kid. It turned out they were leftovers or made with food that was going to go bad if she didn’t do something with it.

Don’t act your age.
I alluded to this earlier with the “little old lady” story. You’re only as old as you feel. Mom was 43 when I was born. I remember one of my friends coming over when I was a teenager. Mom got out and shot baskets with us. My friend commented on how cool my mom was because his mom would never do anything like that. Just so you know, his mom was at least 20 years younger than mine!

Turning memories into a gift for your mom
On the show, George shared a fantastic gift idea that was his sister Pat’s idea. Along with their two other sisters, they each wrote roughly 90 memories and gave it to their mom so she had a memory to read each day of the year. George said he doesn’t think his mom ever got a gift that made her so happy.

Obviously, it’s too late to do something like this Mother’s Day. But you could give your mom the gift of a memory e-mailed to her every day for the next year. It’s an amazing idea that’s very inexpensive yet very personal. 

Tell us about the lessons you learned from your mom!
Leave us a Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is by Nancy Friday, who said:

“When I stopped seeing my mother with the eyes of a child,
I saw the woman who helped me give birth to myself.”

So thanks, Mom … and Happy Mother’s Day!

Next time, we’ll discuss why you should quit jumping on me like a dog. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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How to Crack a Crabby Co-Worker

Bigg Challenge
Melissa e-mailed us about a co-worker that she works with regularly on projects. Her co-worker is never in a good mood. In fact, she’s often downright unfriendly to everybody. Melissa tried taking a personal interest and killing her with kindness, but it didn’t matter. She wonders how to deal with this difficult co-worker.

 

Bigg Advice
Ah, the crabby co-worker with the hard exterior shell that you just can’t crack! It seems like every office has one. We’ll offer some suggestions, Melissa, but just remember you can’t change anybody but yourself.

You’ve tried being nice, but it hasn’t helped. Sometimes the nicer you are to people like this, the meaner they get. They’re like the bully that we all picture from our childhood days.

So don’t be afraid to stand up to the bully. One of two things will happen when you do – they’ll either be more of a bully or they’ll respect you for standing up for yourself.

So confront her directly, but don’t be in-her-face about it. There’s a good chance you’ll catch her off guard, because bullies aren’t used to being called out for being rude.

When she says something curt, just ask, “Have I done something to offend you?” You can expect one of two responses:

  • She may say “Yes”.
    That gives you the opportunity to follow up. Just ask, “I wasn’t aware I had offended you, what did I do?”

    Now at least you can have a conversation. She may get it off her chest and you might become one of the few people she treats well.

  • She may say, “No, why?”
    That will open the door for you to say something like, “By the tone of your voice, I just felt like I must have upset you.”

    In some cases, bullies have behaved this way for so long (and gotten away with it), they don’t even realize that they’re doing it. By bringing it to her attention, she might change her attitude toward you.

No matter what, Melissa, be sincere. Don’t worry about her attitude and don’t take it personally – it’s her problem, not yours.

Lower the bar

On the show, George shared some advice that he learned from one of his mentors. This mentor said he discovered early in his career that he wouldn’t like everybody with whom he worked. However, he worked hard to not dislike any of his co-workers.

So lower the bar! Try to find ways to not dislike her. For example, maybe she’s really good at what she does and you can respect her for that.

Thanks, Melissa for sharing your bigg challenge! 

If you have some tips for Melissa, share them with all of us! Comment below!

Our bigg quote today is by Anais Nin:

“From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life.”

So don’t fret too much about your crabby co-worker. Plenty of people will melt like butter from the warmth of your personality.

Next time, in honor of Mother’s Day, we’ll talk about mom’s lasting legacy. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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How to Offer Criticism Without Being Critical

Today’s blog is about an important relationship-building tool. It’s important at work and home. It’s crucial for leaders and first-time managers.

It’s about understanding when to use your “active” voice and when to use your “passive” voice. It may sound simple, but it’s amazing how many times we get it wrong.


Today, we’ll quickly review active and passive voice, and offer some tips on how to use each one effectively.

Active voice
The subject of the sentence appears before the action. Stated more simply, the noun occurs before the verb. The active voice is often more direct and easier to follow.

For example, “You performed exceptionally well on this project.

Passive voice
The action appears in the sentence before the subject, if the subject appears at all. The verb comes first, the noun comes later.

So the example above, spoken in the passive voice would be, “This project was done exceptionally well by you.”

Note that this sentence actually sounds a little strange stated in the passive voice. That’s often the case.

Use the passive voice to offer criticism.
The passive voice has its uses. For example, which of the following two statements would you rather hear?

“You performed below expectations on this project”

“Expectations weren’t met on this project.”

The first example is in the active voice. So the focus is on “you”, not the “project”. The second example does the opposite – using the passive voice, it puts the focus on the project.

The second example sounds better on this go-around, doesn’t it? Can you picture yourself getting defensive with the first sentence? Probably so, because it screams, “You screwed up!”

So when you want to discuss anything negative, use your passive voice. You’ll find that your conversation is much more productive! They won’t feel backed into a corner. They feel more like you’re on their side. You’re not fixing the blame; you’re trying to fix the problem with their help.

Use the active voice to praise people.
Going back to our original example, we’ll bet you would feel great if your boss said, “You performed exceptionally well …”

Can you imagine how your performance would improve if your boss said something like that to you in front of all your co-workers? This is an incredible tool for managers to improve the morale of their troops.

So when you want to tell someone that they did something great, use your active voice. Put them first in your sentences. You’ll feel great because you’ll make them feel great!

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Our bigg quote today comes from Abraham Lincoln:

“He has a right to criticize, who has the heart to help.”

Actively accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives with your passive voice.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to deal with a difficult co-worker. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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