Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Everyday Miracle of Small Differences

Note from:

Welcome to another brand spanking new ( and warmer) week.

Did you do the exercise I suggested on the weekend? Did you experience some shifts in your awareness?

According to some of the feedback, many of your fellow subscribers are entering this week with their relationships in a completely different condition. Amazing how that works.

If you didn’t get a chance to go over the suggestion and apply some of it in your day, go back to Friday’s note and you’ll get caught up on what it’s all about. Perhaps you could apply it in your dealings this week and assess for yourself if it’s worth adopting regularly. Try it.

On to today’s offering.

Our friend and contributor, Philip Humbert, presents the third in a series for us today.

The Everyday Miracle of Small Differences
By Philip Humbert

What are the keys to success? How do we explain the fact that two equally talented people sometimes produce dramatically different results?

Some people believe success is the result of talent or education, or "being in the right place at the right time." Some of us think it has to do with "who you know", or (let's be honest) that luck plays a part.

Well, I don't think "luck" has anything to do with it. I believe some people have a knack for doing the right things, in the right way, at the right time, and attracting the things they want in life, and that kind of "luck" is a skill that can be learned.

A few years ago, I read that the top sales people in a large insurance company earned 54 times more than the "average" salesperson made in commissions. Think of that-some people earned 54 times more per year than their colleagues who were selling the same products for the same company, with the same training. How could that be?

Were those top salespeople 54 times smarter or 54 times more talented? Would you argue they were 54 times luckier? Of course not!

It turns out, the differences in income were almost entirely the result of "small differences that made all the difference."

Now, the top sales people DID make more calls per day--but they did not make 54 times more calls, just a few extra calls. The top people did return calls more promptly and had slightly better phone skills. The top people read more, and had a better understanding of their products, and were perhaps better at communicating with prospects.

The essential piece, however, is that the things that mattered were the ordinary, routine skills that every salesperson has to master. It was the "little things" that made all the difference!

If you watch the Olympics, the Super Bowl or NBA play-offs, you see this principle in action. The winners were not necessarily more talented, younger, stronger or richer. Often the difference between winners and the others is a minor slip, or a moment of lost concentration. The winners are not 54 times better, or even twice as good. The difference between a gold medal and no medal is a tiny difference that makes all the difference!

Winners work for perfection in the small things. They pay more attention, they smile more, they read more, they get up earlier and stay a bit later. They don't necessarily work harder, but they do focus on quality, on performance, on the "winning edge." So can you!

The keys to success are not talent or wealth or luck or education. Someone once told me that winners are "ordinary people, doing ordinary things, extraordinarily well." I love that phrase and have it on my desk every day.

Today, do the ordinary tasks and routines of your life with extraordinary precision, with extraordinary energy, humor, warmth and passion.

These are the keys to long-term success!

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