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Differentiation is the magic sauce of modern business & career success


DATE: 08 August, 2017

I want to share a piece of career advice that will seem outrageous. Lunacy! Stay calm when you read it. Ready?

“If you want to succeed, do NOT try to be the best at what you do.”

Huh? That sounded like madness to me when I heard it. Then, in the next sentence, came the magic.

This gem will make you think. It will challenge you. And if you can work out how to use it for your career, it will turbo-charge you to greater, faster success.


The global advertising industry leader was live on satellite link from Paris, sharing with the 200 industry leaders in the room his counsel on how to thrive in fast changing times. His key message:

Do not try to be the best at what you do. Be the only one who does it.

Wow! Now there is a true insight.

We spend so much time worrying and wondering about how to be the best at what we do, yet so little time working on how to be the only one who does it.

Imagine if your offer — as an employee or company — was genuinely unique. That your colleagues, bosses or clients would say of you: “Now that Michelle, there is no-one who can do what she does. She is special. If you want xyz result, then Michelle is the only one to call.

Being the ‘only one’ does not mean you have to invent something not already in existence. It does mean creating an aspect of your offer that is different, and valuable to your clients or employers. It’s as simple as that.

Differentiation is the magic sauce of modern business and career success.

We have to be good, fast and great value. But what’s the one thing about us the stands out, and differentiates us in a crowded market?

Give it thought. Think hard about what you bring to the party.

What is it about your ‘offer’ that you can develop, sharpen and expand that will begin to genuinely make you stand out from others? Differentiation is key. Brainstorm. Make a long list. Ask around. Narrow it down. Hone in on something. Make a plan. Get cracking.

And for your business? What is that one thing your business can do that will give it the same ‘stand out’ impact? Does not have to be hugely complex. Just something. To build fame around. To be seen as ‘the only one who delivers….x, y or z.”

It sounded crazy. “Don’t try to be the best at what you do.” Sacre bleu!

But then came the magic sauce. “Bee ze only won ou doez eet.

Be the only one who does it.


This post was originally published on the Firebrand Ideas Ignition Blog.