The One-Degree Difference

November 15, 2017

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

Meet Deb

We often think the difference between winning and losing is a significant amount, that it will take so much extra effort to win that we don’t even try.

But as you can see in the video, very often the margin of difference is minute – a split second, a few feet, or even just one degree.

“One degree is the difference between hot water and steam…and steam will power a locomotive.”

As a business leader, you know competition is fierce. Margins are tight. You may feel as though a major effort or significant innovation is required for you to win over the competition. While that may at times be true, more often than not, it is just one degree that makes a difference.

How can you create a one-degree difference?

Offer Outstanding, Unforgettable Service

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the wave of the future. It is already here. Human service providers are disappearing in fast-food restaurants, from toll booths, and at the grocery stores. You can make banking transactions without any human interaction. While the automation certainly has its merits in terms of speed (once the public gets accustomed to the technology), there is one point being missed: the customer is still human. And humans expect a certain experience in a transaction. No matter what your method is for service, it must deliver an outstanding customer experience.

How can you compete with automation? Deliver outstanding, unforgettable service.

Notice the Needs around You

The greatest innovations are rooted in the little things – the need for lighting, the need for communicating, the need to get from one place to another, for example. From these simple needs, we have electric light bulbs, cell phones, and planes, trains, and automobiles. These all came about because someone first noticed a simple need.

How can you find new ideas? Notice the needs around you.


A decade or so ago, a concept began to spread like wildfire. The concept was that you could start a business online, deliver information, and spend your days at the beach while money miraculously showed up in your bank account. Those days are gone, if indeed they ever truly existed. The fact is, people are looking for engagement, not information. They are looking for interaction and someone to actively help them solve a problem.

How can you succeed in an online business or any business? Engage with your customer. Actively help them solve their problem.

Deliver Quality

Customer reviews are powerful. They can make a business – or break it. As a business leader, you cannot afford to cut corners when it comes to quality. On the other hand, if you deliver the best quality product or service, you create the one most important quality in business today: trust.

How can you and your team sell a product or service in a tight market? Deliver the best quality possible in your product or service.

Energize Your Team

Companies spend millions of dollars every year to get customers excited about their offerings. But how much time and effort goes into getting the internal team excited about the company and its products and services? Are you including your team in goal setting, decision making, and brainstorming sessions for new ideas? We may be adults, but in each of us, there is still that little child who loves to share their creation. Allowing your team a level of ownership in your organization gives them the energy of having been able to create…and the natural outcome of that is that they will want to share that excitement with your customers.

How can you energize your team? Give them a creative voice.

Get to Know Your Team

Having the right people in the right positions in your company can most definitely create that one degree of difference for your organization. Those who are placed well tend to naturally perform well. They are more enthusiastic about their work, more skilled, and more efficient.

How do you create a strong team? Learn their strengths, and place them well.

Resolve to Push for One Degree

The difference between making a sale and losing a deal is very often one call. Make the extra call. Go the extra mile. Do something extra and unexpected for your customers. None of these take a great deal of time or expense, but this extra little push is often the move that creates a winner.

How can you win? Push one degree forward!

Eliminate the Inhibitors

It is a matter of physics – if you pour ice into boiling water, you no longer have steam. As a leader, one of your most important job functions is to keep the steam in your team. This necessitates protecting your team from people, processes, and problems that essentially cool down the power of your team.

Do you have a team member who is not working well with the team and who refuses to accept responsibility for their actions? It may be time to remove them from the team or from your company.

Do you have antiquated processes that slow progress? Be open to new ideas and new processes.

Are there problems that are inhibiting progress? Work with your team to resolve the problems. Empower your team members to identify issues and offer solutions. You can’t afford to lose even one degree.

How can you keep the steam in your team? Eliminate the inhibitors.

Expand Your Influence

Consider your best-paying customers – your strongest clientele. Chances are you have a majority of “prospects”, a lesser number who are “occasional customers,” and an even smaller percentage who are “loyal customers.”

To expand your influence, follow the order noted below.

  1. Ask how you can serve your loyal customers in an even greater way.
  2. Consider ways you can create more loyalty from your “occasional customer” pool.
  3. Consider whether any of your prospects could be converted to occasional or even repeat customers.

Very often, business leaders get it backwards. They spend all their time and effort trying to win the “prospects,” but forget to serve their strongest prospects (their loyal customers).

How can you expand your influence? Determine how you can better serve your most loyal customers and clientele.

You, your team, and your organization can succeed, and all it takes is a good head of steam to forge ahead of the competition. It takes a one-degree difference.

As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.

When you have a strong team that collaborates well,
you have a competitive advantage.

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  1. Totally awesome and timely post. The one degree is going to be etched into my mind, but more importantly my heart. Thanks for the insights. Due for a re-read tomorrow!