Winning Going Uphill

by Ray Reuter on September 20, 2010

This post is inspired by a similar post by Seth Godin, one of my favorite bloggers (see link to the right).  I love the message and I can relate so well because I love biking.

Interesting business lesson learned on a bicycle: it’s very difficult to improve your performance on the downhills.

When I go for a bike ride, I often dread the uphill parts of my ride.  On my recumbent bike, they are particularly difficult, and sometimes I must humble myself and get off and walk.  I endure the pains and the uphills and look forward to the comfortable, speedy downhill parts or the level parts where I can maintain a steady rhythm.

However, it is primarily on the uphill parts that change and improvement can be made.  There is not much “unfettering” that will be done “coasting” downhill.  On the uphills, I have a reasonable shot at a gain over last time.  The downhills are already maxed out by the laws of physics and safety.  I get stronger because of the uphills.

The best time to do great customer service is when a customer is upset. The moment I often earn my keep as a  speaker / trainer is when the room isn’t just right or there is a late start or the projector doesn’t work or the audience is tired or distracted.  The best time to engage with an employee is when everything falls apart, not when you’re hitting every milestone.  The best time to prospect and market is when everyone else is hunkering down and afraid.  The optimum time to support your spouse or child is when they had a crummy day.

Your competition is generally spending their days looking forward to those rare moments when everything goes right.  Imagine how much leverage you have if you spend your time maximizing those common moments when it doesn’t.

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