Reaching Higher than Average
To best create loyalty, we must first educate. We must be willing to share our information and create an environment of learning and growth.
When David Simon was a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, he was told to write for the average audience, for people who could quickly digest the content.
"The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture," Simon said. "He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away."
So when Simon decided to write his critically-acclaimed hit television series "The Wire," he posted a sign above his desk: "F**K the average reader."
Simon wanted to write above his audience and believed that those interested in his work would follow along and crave to learn more. Dumbing it down wasn't an option.
His belief proved correct. Simon developed complex characters with interesting storylines that were not always easy to follow. But instead of losing viewers, he gained a strong, loyal following.
His newspaper had urged him to take the path of least resistance. Simon opted for the harder one — and was rewarded for it.
As leaders, coaches and parents, we need to follow the same trail that Simon blazed. To best create loyalty, we must first educate. We must be willing to share our information and create an environment of learning and growth. We must be willing to raise the bar by constantly passing our knowledge along.
In his book "Amp It Up," author Frank Slootman urges companies to take the next step, to be bold, daring, and raise the bar — putting forth five critical factors for changing the pace of a company:
1. Increase standards: Often times, to get things done and off their plate, people lower their standards. Don't allow this to happen.
2. Align people: As a business grows, alignment increases in importance. Alignment is about making sure everyone is driving in the same direction and knows what they’re aiming for.
3. Sharpen focus: To increase focus, think about execution in terms of sequential efforts instead of parallel efforts. Work on fewer things at the same time.
4. Pick up the pace: Leaders set the pace. And the pace is tied to people’s mindsets.
5. Transform strategy: Execution is more important than strategy, but the strategy is still significant. Think of strategy as a multiplier of your execution effort.
All of Slootman's beliefs can be summarized in what Simon posted on his wall.
We need to remind ourselves of the same before we start our day.