Aim to delight your customers and colleagues, not take them off-guard

Surprised man
Surprised man
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

It’s wonderful to ‘outperform’ for your customers and bring them delightful innovation beyond their expectations. However, you should aim for ‘no surprises’ with your customers. Set expectations appropriately at all times, deliver completely to those expectations, and be proactive in your communications to give clients plenty of head’s-up when something unexpected does happen. The nature of most business is that it is supremely delightful when clients can just rely on you without even thinking about it, where you deliver continual value while gently fading into the background. If you have a business that customers use on an ongoing basis, the…

“Keep your mind open, but not so open that your brains fall out”

Sign-posts pointing in different directions
Sign-posts pointing in different directions
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

An excellent article in The Atlantic has been circulating recently: Changing Your Mind Can Make You Less Anxious. It’s all about being open to information and open to changing your mind in the face of information. We all have built-in ‘resistance’ to a number of things, and admitting when our position is wrong is one area where people can dig in their psychological heels, to the detriment of the truth and to the detriment of their own mental wellness.

I fully agree that we need to be on a tireless quest for the truth, and we need to be open…

As you think about performance, focus on the habits you need to get you where you want to go

Sticky notes on a wall
Sticky notes on a wall
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. — Vincent van Gogh

We all want to be better at things that matter to us, whether that’s getting into shape, being kinder to others, or learning to play an instrument. And we all know that going to the gym once, holding the door for a mother with a stroller once, or taking a single guitar lesson aren’t sufficient. The only way to create lasting change and improvement is to develop…

Slow is smooth and smooth is fast

Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

In business, as in many things in life, we want and need both to do things correctly and move fast. To do these seemingly opposing things requires an appropriate balance between thoughtful analysis and decisive action.

Analysis is critical. There is a saying in the US Navy SEALs: “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast”, meaning that when you need to move quickly, don’t rush. Take your time to do it right and then move on. You can’t hit a target if you don’t take time to aim. …

When business context changes, people need to adapt

Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

It’s always all about the people

I have been an entrepreneur of 4 start-ups and have also worked as a business leader and CTO in several larger enterprises. In every case, success has been fundamentally reliant on the people involved. My business version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is: having the right people is foundational, then the right culture, and lastly the right mission.

I have had the good fortune of working with many talented people over the course of my career. And, as most business leaders do, I have brought a number of them with me on my career journey, working together in two or…

Anything is possible, if you make it happen

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty.” — L. P. Jacks

Many people I know who call themselves “realists” are actually pessimists, to my mind, and naturally focus on all the reasons why you can’t do something, claiming that they are simply accepting the challenges of the situation more truthfully than the pie-in-the-sky optimists. I believe in realistic optimism, which fully embraces the truth — confront your challenges, accept them, even get upset and worry about them! — but that also fundamentally embraces a belief that there is always hope, always a…

Perfect your actions, and the outcome will take care of itself

Image by Lisa Van Dorp from Pixabay

Years ago, while watching my son practice tennis, I had a thought. Now, I’ll admit that even though I did play on the Varsity team in high school :D, I am very far from being an expert tennis player. However, it seemed to me that my son was often overly focused on where the ball was going, on making sure it went in, when he should have been more focused on executing great swings. His narrow focus on the ball caused him to swing awkwardly too frequently. Sometimes he’d get the ball in with those swings, but they weren’t pretty…

Philip Brittan

Philip is an entrepreneur, technologist, business leader, writer, and innovator. https://www.linkedin.com/in/pbrittan/ Blog: https://medium.com/scaling-peaks

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