August is a time for great reflection. The city seems dead, dry & desolate. It is through that back to school-like anticipation in the lead up to September that we can all take a step back and think about what it will take to end 2018 feeling like we gave it our all.
For me, the reflection is all about standards. The slippage from mighty to mediocre and what we can do to prod ourselves out of the rut.
Why are so many people so accepting of a 6/10?
At CRUXY we use the word remarkable. It is threatening. The standard itself is intimidating.
How do you define what would (in the literal sense) be so impressive it is remarked upon?
But, the point is, establishing this standard defines the void between exceptional, good enough & disappointing. Which of those we choose to be, for whom, is a strategic decision.
We had an unremarkable but acceptable working space for 4 years. It was a business decision that delivered a cash buffer we are now able to take advantage of. We are proud to be able to work from a superb office on Chancery Lane.
I am not urging everyone to suddenly prioritise all things and try to strive in areas that do not define their business. That would be a bizarre statement to publicly support, let alone create, as a strategy firm.
My argument here is that we have truly lost sight of what “good enough” looks like. But along with that, we seem to have stopped even striving for “remarkable”.
You know what good looks like, so why are you being so mediocre?
We have always paid it forward. Why? Well…simply because if you can do a small thing to help someone else, why wouldn’t you? How often are these introductions not replied to by the very person who asked for the favour? Or their reply is generic?
We all know how much we judge others on generic responses, yet the pace & specificity of what people send every day is just not good enough.
Results before fluff, please
It is obvious that the hype that surrounds tech can fuel (along with a good espresso in my case) endless conversations & connections. But how many people care about the result? How many follow up on a meeting with a pointed question a few months later that makes you realise they really understand what your struggles are?
How many proposals do you read where a generic template has had ‘find & replace’ applied liberally?
But if you are proposing a new solution for any problem surely you should start with obsessing over the life, challenge and results that are meaningful to the person you are talking to.
Since when did we think losing sight of the other parties “why” would be a key to success? When did this become “acceptable”?
Basics are not exceptional, so what’s your excuse?
People have started to think that basic professionalism is exceptional.
Thanking someone for a meeting. Sending a calendar invitation. Following up as you promised within a timely manner.
These things have started to be so rare in a market steeped in mediocrity that they are noticed.
But are these not all basics we should embrace given the efficiency and courtesy they instil in our lives?
If you are raising capital, crafting an investment portfolio, or like me, trying to change the staid view of an industry, please take the end of the summer to think about the standards that define you.
If we are all a little better to each other and strive to reach a little higher, the impact could be remarkable…