The Long & Winding Road: Small steps, big journey…

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Liverpool

Twice this week I have found myself using the phrase ‘small steps’ to people when discussing work.

In many respects the small steps we take in business and in life are the unheralded heroes of our accomplishments. Ask any ‘overnight success’ and you may well find that the ‘night’ part of the journey was arduously long. There is no quick fix in business, there are sometimes quick results but any long term success is based upon consistent production of quality products and services.

In social marketing the key to success is within the long term plans made not in the sales pushes designed to bolster flagging quarterly figures.We often talk about authenticity and honesty in business yet often think that these are qualities that we can address after we have succeeded. We all love the stories of some of our biggest companies early days, the corner stores which grew to become national and multinational corporations but how often do we contemplate the thousands of small steps taken to achieve their success. Human nature dictates that we focus on the prize not the preparation for it, perhaps that is why so many fail as they seek the prize.

When I first moved to live in the USA an English friend of mine, who had already lived in the USA for 30 years suggested I pondered on the following:

‘Patrick’, he said ‘you have to understand the mindset here, it is not like Europe…let me put it this way….in China , they play ‘Go’, in Europe, they play chess and in the USA, they play poker!’

Whatever did he mean? Well , he meant that people’s definition of and approach to success varies from place to place, acceptable complexity of issues to be expected varies from place to place and the time spent mastering each situation differs from place to place. No mindset is inherently better or worse than the other but we should acknowledge the fact that a long term plan in the USA is vastly different from the long term plan in China , for example.

In successful social marketing the goal should be to have a long term plan akin to a long term plan from China because these are the relationships which foster more trust and therefore more productivity. Please do not misunderstand my reference to China being one of ‘all things Chinese are great’ because they are not but the concept of how they plan is more suitable to our business than is the ‘poker mentality’ of quick results based upon high risk and smokescreens.

When deciding to achieve something, I must have a plan. Remember ‘plan your work and work your plan’?

If I want my customers to develop into more than customers, into a community, I want them to develop habits which revolve around my company. Logic dictates therefore that I too must develop habits which allow this to happen….. like polishing a table, the shine appears gradually yet seemingly suddenly, so it is in social marketing when we build a community.

If it’s OK with you, I’ll take the long way home!

see you on the long and winding road……  Patrick

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