What exactly do super successful marketers do differently? Before I answer that question, let’s get clarity on what’s super success versus common, typical everyday success.
In the gallon-driven petroleum world, kudos most often go to the CEOs snagging the largest volume gains. Every refiner convention, you see the list. But those volume gains don’t always translate to biggest profit gains and certainly don’t guarantee the happiest owners!
Knowing what happens behind the volume gains from seeing countless financial statements, I prefer to define super success this way:
Super Success = Achieving Desired Profit and Desired Lifestyle with Joy.
Sounds like a tall order dosen’t it? But a fulfilling life is made of exactly that. I was reminded of that fact recently.
I was in Guatemala along with 150 other coaches teaching Leadership Values to over 20,000 in a massive cultural transformation project with one of my mentors, leadership guru John C. Maxwell. During our week together, John said, “Mere success loses its appeal when you’ve tasted significance.” This phrase caught my attention. Isn’t that what we all crave?
Use these seven replicable, proven daily leadership practices to live a life of significance fueled by Super Business Success:
Practice #1- Create Company Culture Cornerstones. As a petro company grows, decision-making and hiring naturally spreads to more and more individuals within the company. With this management diffusion, the only way to maintain integrity and quality throughout your organization is by identifying and communicating solid core values which become the foundational cornerstones for Culture. Culture is values being lived out daily and modeled by the Super Successful CEO.
When the inevitable prickly personnel issues or customer service challenges occur, these values must show up in action. It’s those times when things aren’t going right that culture eats strategy for lunch. (And yes I borrowed that phrase from our Focus on Competitive Advantage speaker, Curt Coffman, from his book of the same title!)
When I work with Super Successful CEOs, they have no difficulty telling me their values and what they personally do to live them out each and every day. Their values aren’t just sitting on a wall in the break room or buried in the “About Us” page of their website. They talk about them in meetings and use them for daily decisions. When I’m working with a company and a lower level employee, without prompting, definitively tells me a company’s core values and how they live them out, I know there is a Super Successful CEO at the top!
Practice #2 – Hire Really Smart People. To admit there are people far smarter than one’s self takes an extra dose of humility. The best CEOs are not out beating their chests. Instead, they are beating the bushes for the absolute best talent that FITS THEIR CULTURE and shares their values.
Super Successful CEOs surround themselves with amazing people. So amazing, you may ask yourself, how on earth did they find them? When I ask about their team, most times they will tell me they are always looking for great people and when they find one, they will create a position for them rather than passing up the opportunity to hire them. Super Successful CEOs know the only lid on their success and ability to live a life of significance is the quality of their team.
Practice #3 – Play to Strengths. The Super Successful make it the norm in their company, both for themselves and their team members, to clearly identify what they are extraordinarily good at. Many of these CEOs talk about “giftings” or God-given abilities and they design work so that they and their team members spend as much of their day in their strengths as they possibly can.
So what about weaknesses? They acknowledge them and then hire to them! They realize they can’t change the spots on the leopard, or the stripes on the zebra, so why try? For example, super successful CEOs are NOT always super organized, but when they don’t have that ability, they hire an assistant who is. Super successful CEOs are NOT always brilliant strategists, but those who aren’t hire the best to help them create market strategies. I’m sure you are getting the picture.
When it comes to their teams, they take the same approach of leveraging strengths, coaching strengths, not focusing on weaknesses. So as you are reading this, take a minute to jot down what are you best at and what type of person you should possibly be hiring to shore up your personal and corporate weaknesses.
Practice #4 – Act with Humility. With an emphasis on strengths in self and others, you might suspect that the Super Successful are brazen and bragging, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Super Successful work at being humble, often being masters of self-effacing humor that literally endears people to them.
I got an early taste of this over two decades ago. My very first Meridian client was one of the quietest men at a petro convention you’d ever meet. Always low profile, you’d think this guy had nothing special. What I found out as soon as he became a client was his company was spiraling in growth, he was an amazing guy who sat on bank boards and non-profit boards, he had a wonderful sense of humor and was a world traveler. I never would have known all this if I hadn’t pulled it out of him as we got to know each other!
Fifteen years later I had the pleasure of selling his powerhouse company and having the joy of knowing I had some small part in helping him live out his senior years very comfortably. He is turning all that success into significance through a multitude of charitable endeavors.
Practice #5 – Ask Great Questions. When you think of Super Successful CEOs, you might envision a person who decides quickly. The appearance of speed stems from one basic reason – they ask great questions. By the time they need to make a decision, they have ample facts to decide quickly.
At the next industry meeting you attend, try this little experiment:
- pick out who you think is the most successful marketer in the room
- Watch them as they circulate through the room.
- Take notice how many times after they get into conversation, they quickly shift into asking questions, not making statements or giving answers.
- Count how many they ask?
Great questioning looks like an art form but it’s a developed skill.
With the Super Successful, this questioning practice happens daily with their employees. When one of them asks “What should I do?” their first response is “What do you think are our options?” Or, “what do you suggest?” They are masters in the art of great questions that let people shine and develop, not make them feel awkward or put on the spot.
Practice #6 – Accurate Risk Quantification. While you might think of the Super Successful as high risk takers, some of the best marketers in the industry actually abhor risk. What the Super Successful share in common is a discipline and practice of risk quantification. They assess the financial, emotional, relational and physical risks to any decision through established systems.
At Meridian, we often see their methodology and quantification processes at work in acquisitions. The Super Successful use concrete risk assessment models along with goals and targets linked to various risk tolerances. There is no guesswork for them.
If your risk assessment is still only in your head, I challenge you to have one of your team members help you get it out of your head into a model that can be used and followed by others in your organization.
Practice #7 – Early to Rise. I leave the simplest and easiest to last. Multiple studies across industries have proven that the Super Successful wake up early every day of their lives. Whether it’s exercise time, planning time, reading time, devotional and prayer time, or simply jump-starting emails, the Super Successful do not sleep in!
The next time you are at a petroleum convention, watch who quietly slips out of the hospitality functions just a little bit early. You’ll rarely see the Super Successful closing down the bar. And, you’ll likely see those same people in the coffee shop or gym at 5:30 AM. I’ve even done merger talks in quiet corners of convention hotels at that hour.
So, one of the easiest steps you can take to drive to Super Success is just set your alarm 15 to 30 minutes earlier and use that time productively.
So there you have it. Seven practices for Super Success that you can do! I wish you more volume, bigger profits that are capped off with joyful significance!