Just before we moved into our newly purchased home last fall we went on a shopping spree at Sears to purchase some new upscale appliances for the kitchen. We chose Sears because they carry a wide variety of major brands, are price competitive, and offer dependable delivery and installation. They have been a household name in this country for generations and based on our recent experience I would attest they are still a good company. Yet, if you pay attention to financial news sadly it is a company in decline. Example, only a few days ago I was in the same store shopping for a power tool and during the half hour period I was in the store I did not see one other customer. What has happened to this fine old company?
Or consider the airline industry. Compare, for instance, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines, both of which I am a frequent customer. Both are good airlines, seem to always get me to my destination safely, efficiently, and mostly on time – fine companies, good at what they do. Why, then, is one consistently profitable and the other in financial decline to the point of bankruptcy? Or how about RIM (Research-In-Motion), maker of the Blackberry and early innovator of the smart phone? I still use a Blackberry and love it, but Apple’s I-phone is eating their lunch. What happened?
I recently heard someone explain that there was a time when one could manage poorly and still grow. Today, though, one can manage well yet still decline. I would further suggest that that is true not only of businesses and organizations, but our individual careers as well. So what is the solution? It seems to me that it is no longer good enough to simply be good at something and manage it well. We must instead find ways to be remarkable. It is the difference between growth and decline, profit and loss, being employed or unemployed. Sears is good – very good in fact at certain things – but they are up against some remarkable competitors. American is a good airline, but I would suggest Southwest is remarkable. And my beloved Blackberry is rapidly becoming a dinosaur compared to the remarkable technology of Apple’s I-phone.
We were all created to be remarkable in some way, and I believe any of us can be if we set out to discover our own unique remarkability and develop it to its full potential. I’ll bet you’re really good at what you do, but are you concentrating on finding ways to become remarkable?