I am writing this column from about 35,000 feet, on my way to an engagement in Kansas City; once again flying my favorite airline: Southwest. Not that they are the fanciest thing going or even the least expensive every time, but they sure are consistent and they have performance and productivity down to a art.
A large part of Southwest’s success comes from their ability to simplify their system and operate within it on a consistent basis. All of their planes are of the same type so that all of their pilots can fly pretty much any plane at any time, cutting down on cancelled flights due to unavailable crews. It also means that many parts are interchangeable so the chances of mechanical malfunctions stranding you are limited as well. Additionally, they have done a great job of identifying their target market and not worrying about satisfying travelers who do not fit the profile. In other words, if you absolutely require a seat assignment or first class cabin accommodations, you are not their customer.
How often do you find yourself trying to become all things to all people? There is a great deal of success to be had by merely identifying your target market, developing a plan to satisfy that market and then simplifying the procedures that you use to provide your services. High performance companies (and their people) know what they do best and who they do if for. They do not become side-tracked by catering to customers outside of those parameters. Focus and simplification are two traits that can take your business to new heights. Rather than being a “jack of all trades” you can be the true leader in your market segment.
My challenge to you this week is to look at your business or career and hone in on who you really want to serve. Then put a plan together that focuses on becoming the very best at meeting the needs of that group. As you focus in tightly on serving those clients in the best way you can, ideas will come to you fast and furiously. It is amazing how focus brings clarity of purpose and process. Keep it simple, focus your efforts and become the leader in your industry. By the way, Southwest Airlines is still the most profitable carrier in the nation.
Source: Craig’s Blog