McKain, Scott. The Collapse of Distinction. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
I am not generally a fan of motivational books, and that is what I expected that this book would be when I picked it up–a lot of cheerleading and motivational speaking without that much practical advice. I already know I need a good attitude to succeed. I don’t particularly need a good attitude toward people who tell me about a good attitude and then charge me for it.
In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. While there is some motivation in this book, and there is some repetition, there is also much good information, and a basic idea that is very important–you have to stand out from the competition to succeed.
Now that may sound pretty obvious, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you were trying to attain that distinction from your competition in many of the ways that McKain describes. Then he explains why our normal process of creating distinction doesn’t work.
The first four chapters get things set up with stories and examples. The real meat starts in chapter five with the four cornerstones of distinction: Clarify, Creativity, Communication, and Customer Experience Focus. Again, each of those things sounds like ideas we have all heard, but what you need to do is get the complete picture. How do you make these things happen?
McKain lays it out pretty clearly. I have operated this business, Neufeld Computer Services, since 1997, and I’m now emphasizing Energion Publications and no longer expading the computer business. This book both explained to me the success of my computer services business, and also helped me bring some additional focus to my publishing business.
For a number of years I wondered why I had a high degree of customer loyalty and good personal referrals for new business when I was working part time, lacked the sophisticated shop and equipment that major companies take for granted, and as one person often had to make one client wait while I finished work at another.
On reading this book I put customer comments together with the ideas presented and realized that my distinction was simply taking responsibility. While I do often have to refer customers to a software provider or an equipment vendor, I always followed through. I never said “this isn’t my fault” and then left the customer hanging. I’d follow through and make sure that the person to whom I referred them followed through.
If I wanted to expand this business, I would use that in my marketing. As it is, that information has led me to start working on a new marketing approach as well as new services and ways of providing those services for my publications.
I strongly recommend this book to any entrepreneur who is either starting a new business, or hopes to expand one.
ISBN: 978-1-5955-5185-6, Hardcover, 250 pages including front and back matter.