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The First Time versus the Insider’s Advantage

The First Time versus the Insider’s Advantage

After you get over your initial surprise that these people actually do exist, there is something very cool about watching someone who has never been in a Starbucks before, come in to one for the very first time.

It is easy to pick them out, for they are the only ones who walk in front of the overhead menu board, step back a few paces to take the whole thing in, and actually begin to read it.

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Everyone else who is already in line waiting, or who might be seated at a nearby table, looks at them and smiles to themselves knowingly. It’s that smile of understanding, of recognition, and in remembrance of their own first time.

Next, this insider’s smugness slowly but surely replaces those looks of understanding and recognition on the faces of all the bystanders. They love the thought that they are now veterans and in the know, and that their own rite of passage is over. They feel they’ve paid their dues and have arrived, and it’s a feeling they like way more than that first-timer’s memory.

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It is very rare to see anyone help the newcomer with a suggestion. On the contrary, sometimes you actually see the ranks close, and the line gets tighter, so the newcomer can be left with no doubt where that line begins and ends. People actually start to anticipate that funny moment the newcomer will approach the barista and order, saying they want “the medium size I guess” instead of the grande.

Starbucks is but one example. If you are a road warrior, think about those airlines you now frequent and those you don’t, and how class distinction is taken to a whole new level with premier lines and those for “everyone else.” There’s a whole slew of businesses where being the veteran with the insider’s advantage is definitely part of the reason you continue to patronize them. In fact, to not be part of a frequent-something club is considered to be downright foolhardy consumer behavior.

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However if you are a business owner, leader, or manager, what I propose to you is this: Capitalizing on making the first-timer’s experience your competitive advantage, because it is as good as it can possibly be, is where you might be missing the boat for both kinds of business potential.

To continue with the Starbucks example, imagine if the barista doing their turn at wiping down tables were focused on those newcomers first, and the dirty tables second. Imagine if they walked up to that newcomer and asked if they needed some help making a choice, and offered to explain some of the coffee lingo. Imagine how the bystanders would now feel, seeing that newcomer get a level of service they don’t recall they’d received their first time. Imagine everyone craning their necks to hear about offerings they’ve never tried because they had on veteran’s blinders, and they now realize that there’s a lot of things offered at Starbucks that they’ve never bothered to try because they’ve just been too comfortable, and they’ve been too accepting of the level of service they no longer get now that they have been trained so well by the coffeehouse’s so-called “insider’s advantage.”

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Interesting to imagine all that, isn’t it?

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: A Reinvention Revolution; 3 Sacred Cows to Start With.

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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement to Ensure Peak Productivity

Most of you made personal, one sentence resolutions like “I want to lose weight” or “I vow to go back to school.” It is a tradition to start the New Year with things you want to achieve, but under the influence resolutions are often unrealistic.

If you’re wondering when will be a good time to write a mission statement, NOW is the time to take a personal inventory to make this year your most productive year ever. You may be asking yourself, “How am I going to do that?” You, my friends, are going to write personal mission statements.

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A large number of corporations use mission statements to define the purpose of the company’s existence. Sony wants to “become the company most known for changing the worldwide poor-quality image of Japanese products” and 3M wants “to solve unsolved problems innovatively”. A personal mission statement is different than a corporate mission statement, but the fundamentals are the same.

So why do you need one? A personal statement will help you identify your core values and beliefs in one fluid tapestry of content that you can read anytime and anywhere to stay on task toward success.

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For example, Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire came to the realization that he had lost track of what was important to him. After writing a personal mission statement, we saw him start his own business and he got the girl, Renee Zelleweger. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? A personal mission statement will make sure that, through all the texting, emailing and constant bombardment of on-the-go activity, you won’t lose sight of what is most important to you.

Mission statements can be simple and concise while others are longer and filled with detail. The length of your personal mission statement will not be determined until you follow this simple equation to create your motivational springboard for 2008.

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To begin your internal cleansing, you will need to jot down the required information in the following five steps:

  1. What are your values? Values steer your actions and determine where you spend time, energy, and most importantly, money. Be specific and unique to yourself. Too much generalization will not be as effective. It is called a “personal” mission statement for a reason.
  2. What are three important goals you hope to achieve this year? Keep your list of important goals small and give them a date. It is better to focus on the horizon and not the stars. Realistic goals are keys to ultimate success.
  3. What image do you hope to project to yourself? How you see yourself is how the world will view you. Think about this carefully. Your image should encompass what you look like and feel after you have achieved your goals.
  4. Write down action statements from each value describing how you will use those values to achieve your three goals. Start with “I will…”
  5. Rewrite your statement to include only your action statements. Make portable copies for your wallet, car or office.

If you followed the steps above, congratulations! You have just written your first personal mission statement. Your personal statement will change over the years as your goals change. You can have more than one statement for the different compartments of your life such as your career, family, marriage, etc.

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Writing a personal mission statement is an effective method to ensure your productivity is at its peak. It is an ideal tradition to start so that when next year rolls around, the outdated practice of resolutions will be something you permanently left in the past.

Featured photo credit: Álvaro Serrano via unsplash.com

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