Good afternoon. By a show of hands, how many of you are here? That’s a good question to ask. Just a few months ago I was in St. Louis speaking to the St. Louis Chapter of the National Speakers Association and one of my colleagues, a speaker named Scott Ginsburg, raised his hand during the question and answer session and said, “Mark, what are the three or four things you do every day to ensure your ongoing success?” I thought that was a great question, because what Scott asked me to do was to boil it down to the irreducible, to the things that I needed to do every day, the daily disciplines, the regular routines that would not only make me successful, but help me stay successful. And that’s a fascinating concept.
Let’s look at more. More is quantity. What is it that you could do more of that is valued by your customer that doesn’t cost too much to provide.
A restaurant opened in community some time ago. There was a 90-minute wait to get in. This particular restaurant brand was big food; steaks that hung off the plate, potatoes the size of footballs, cake the size of your head. The food was huge and so people would line up to go and to eat at this restaurant.
We waited 90 minutes and we had dinner. We went back a month later, we waited 60 minutes, we had dinner and at the end of the meal, I had an epiphany. The food sucked. It was big, bad food. It really wasn’t very good. And it dawned on me, the restaurant knew that if you gave people a lot of something, even if it wasn’t the best, they’d appreciate it.
Now when you run a restaurant, your big expenses are the building and the lease, and the employees. So this particular restaurant said, “We’re not going to be the best food, we’re going to be the biggest.” More is quantity. What could you provide your customer or your boss that he or she values that wouldn’t cost you much more to provide.
The second key is better. Better is quality. It’s rare how little we think about what it is the people we value, our customers, our colleagues our boss, our employees really value and find out what it is. I’m going to give you an definition today, and with a degree in economics, I can tell you that value is a ratio between cost and benefit. That’s the technical definition of value. But I want to give you the philosophic definition of value so that you can perpetually achieve by continually producing value. And the equation is this, V=E+E+SE. Value, V, equals E plus E plus SE.
The first E is expectation, finding out what the people you value expect from you. I believe that most relationships, whether it’s at work or at home, end because of a value disequilibrium. People want one thing but they get another. If people feel they are investing more in the relationship than they’re getting back, that gives them a reason to consider ending the relationship, whether it is as a customer or a colleague or even as a friend or a spouse. So we need to be intimately in touch with, what does the other person value.
If you have a job today, I’m going to give you two questions that you can ask that will hopefully keep perpetually employed as long as you act on what you learned. Here are the two questions: Number one, what do you believe is…
Embrace discipline. Discipline is the connective tissue between an idea and a result. It’s the muscle that takes what you know and converts it into what you enjoy. And I don’t know who originally said it but I love the quote, “If we do what we don’t want to do, when we don’t want to do it, some day that will enable us to do what we want to do when we want to do it.”
Discipline is the ability to do what needs to be done even when you don’t feel like doing it. That’s the secret of discipline. Discipline is not doing something; it’s doing what’s difficult because it’s easy to do what you like to do and what’s fun to do. Discipline is the ability to do what needs to be done when you don’t feel like doing it. And without discipline, you’ll never reach that seventh level of second habit, that unconscious practice every day of the mindsets and the methods that work.