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This is an insanely busy time for some of you, while others are taking the chance to settle back a bit and prepare for next year’s challenges.

But wherever you’re at, it’s always good to maintain perspective. That’s what leaders do, right?

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Last week I talked about the depressing race to the bottom. That’s a strategy of focusing on reducing prices over all other considerations.

When several companies do this at the same time, it destroys profit for everyone and can even kill an industry. We see this all the time.

Fortunately, there’s a different strategy you can embrace. It’s not any easier, but it sure can be more rewarding.

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I’ve heard several reports recently which talk about companies doing everything they can to drive profit. And of course the quickest variables to fiddle with are cutting quality and cutting employees.

Cut expenses, then you can reduce prices, so you’ll gain market share and win more profit. Here’s the problem with that logic. In a competitive market with multiple companies doing the same strategy, you don’t gain market share (or profit) at all when you reduce prices. Not unless you can do that faster than the competition for some reason – but that destroys your profit.

Unless you have a magic wand, of course. Most people out here in the real world don’t have one. You just have a bunch of companies all racing to the bottom, where NOBODY is eking out any kind of profit.

Fortunately, that’s not the only way to play the game.

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What you measure gets attention. What gets attention gets worked on. And what gets worked on is improved.

This is such a basic train of thought, yet how often do we actually lead this way?

Let’s say that the key to your particular business success is developing personal, nurturing relationships with your customers. Yet when you have meetings and talk about progress, you’re showing revenue, expenses, on-time delivery and defects. Where did customer relationships even get mentioned?

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WE FOCUS AN AWFUL LOT on product features. We’re faster, more powerful, more fully featured than the competition.

Honestly, a lot of customers are getting burned out on that.

They’re recognizing that “good enough” is plenty sufficient for most things in life. There are a few things that each person deeply cares about, but other things … it’s OK to not have the best.

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