Sameness, Differentiation, and Distinction
Scott McKain’s recent book “Create Distinction” got and has kept my attention. He puts forward an interesting question. “What do you do when great isn’t good enough to grow your business?
As time has passed and markets matured, supply chains have become full of people doing much the same thing. There is a “Sameness” about all of them. This caused a lot of smart people and consultants to bring forward a fresh and new offering “Differentiation” to the market. You don’t want to be the same as everyone else, do you? You are different, you are better, you deliver same day service, you have the part in stock and you offer technical advice. To some degree these differentiators have become the same as well. Everything has become a “commodity.” Oh, I can get that anywhere.
So how do YOU become the “go to source” for your products or services?
McKain suggests you need to have “Distinction.”
At Learning Without Scars you have been reading articles over the past several months from special individuals who share their expertise and thinking on many subjects. From retired executives, to educators and consultants, and thought leaders in their fields. We are trying to create a “Place” that provides and produces thought provoking and thoughtful articles. This is but one of the steps that we have taken in our quest to become your “go to source” on all operational aspects of the parts, service, product support selling and parts and service marketing in the Capital Goods Industries of Construction, Agriculture, Material Handling, On Highway Transportation, Engine and Light Industrial Equipment to name a few.
In our quest for distinction we have also created comprehensive and objective job function assessments for most of the operational jobs in the operational aspect of the distribution channels we serve. These assessments have gained significant traction, even during the difficult year we are experiencing. They are used to improve success in hiring by having prospective employees take the assessment during the interviewing process. They are becoming more common in the annual performance reviews that are becoming a staple in best practice dealerships. They are becoming a significant part of employee development by understanding and addressing the skills gaps that exist with each individual employee. The assessments, eighteen of them, are available in English, Spanish and French.
What we believe is another source of distinction for us are our “Learning Paths.” After more than thirty years in front of classrooms and on webinars with tens of thousands of students we have developed specific classes to address four basic “Skill Levels” for each job function; Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert. At each level, within each job function we have identified specific classes that represent the subjects required to improve their individual employee skills. This is unique to Learning Without Scars in the Industry.
We are currently updating each of our ninety-four English classes to address the recent research that shows learning and retention provided by the traditional model of a fifty-minute class can be improved dramatically, by fifty percent, if the class is broken down into ten to twelve-minute increments, broken up with mini surveys and questions. As you can imagine with our pre-test, interactive video presentation of our classes with slides, audio tracks and film clips, this is a rather large undertaking. But we feel it is important enough to continue to keep us at the forefront of the training and learning offerings in our Industry.
Finally, we continue to seek accreditation from IACET, the International Association of Continuing Education and Training. This will allow our products to earn Continuous Education Units (CEU’s) which combined will earn credits at many Universities, Colleges, Junior Colleges, Vocational and Technical Schools worldwide.
With the knowledge we have gained over the past ten months about this virus, the testing, the therapeutics, and now the vaccines we believe that the end of this pandemic and its impact on our lives will soon be behind us. We want to be ready when everything starts to open up and your business returns to “normal.” I have always been a glass half full person and I don’t see any need for me to change from my optimistic viewpoint.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, our progress report.
The time is now.