Everyday on my drive in to the office, I take about five minutes to think of what decisions I made yesterday that made an impact.
Sometimes it pertains to the tasks and functions at the office from the previous day, and sometimes it focuses directly on communication with a client. I like to sit back and reflect, and really get a firm grasp on how I was able to really leave my mark on that day.
A mentor of years past used to tell me,
“The ability to lead doesn’t always deal with what you say, sometimes it deals with deciding what to do.”
At the time I had a narrow-minded perception of what he meant. As I got older and I began to study things that interested me, I really started to focus on leaders from different fields. These leaders fascinated me, and I started to see a common trend among those I admired.
They all seemed to operate with this sort of thought process: this is how I will lead, this is what I’m going to do, and this will be the impact.
I think one of my favorite leadership and impact stories deals with NBA Hall of Fame Coach Red Auerbach, and the day that he snubbed the local legend Bob Cousey during the 1950 NBA draft.
Instead of selecting the hometown legend Cousey, he drafted the first African-American ever selected by an NBA team, Chuck Cooper.
Red didn’t care about the Boston public’s opinion, he knew they would be upset, but he was committed to making an impact on the team and community that day.
We can’t all make earth-shaking decisions like Red’s on a daily basis; however, we can focus on making decisions that leave a positive impact on those that make your business: your customers. Not every impact has to be major, but focus the ones that will continue to bring value to customers. Impacts they can see can allow you to become recognized as leader in your industry to them.
Focus on the little things such as service and knowledge; items that customers can quickly recognize that will help leave a lasting impression. Make gestures from calling your current customers and thanking them for their business every month, to inviting a key client to breakfast (when was the last time you invited someone to a breakfast instead of lunch?) and asking for their feedback. It could even mean planning and holding a customer appreciation day once every quarter, or simply, writing a thoughtful blog post or newsletter article to engage customers so they can get to know you – being real, and personable can make an impact too.
What have you done recently that has made an impact on a valued customer or your business as a whole?