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As 2017 draws to a close and we think about the year to come, I’d like to share with you my thoughts about what Breakthrough Masters has achieved for our clients this year, and what we plan to achieve for our clients next year.

You may recall I started my career working for Hallmark Cards where I learned that only the best is good enough. Their famous slogan, “When you care enough to send the very best”, was not only inspiring to me as an employee but captured my personal commitment to my work and through it, the people I served. There is a company you may have heard of – Yeti – that has a story I relate to as well. This brand’s attributes represent values that I admire and respect. I would like to share these attributes with you as we close out the year, hoping they inspire you as they inspire me:

Start with the end in mind

The Yeti brand was developed with knowledge of what the customer wants and how the product is used. It wasn’t created by tweaking the current solution; they started by defining an acceptable outcome and then figured out how to deliver it. The goal was to keep drinks hot or cold for much longer—days even. According to the founder, “YETI was born out of frustration and molded by experience.” I have test driven this Yeti and it keeps my drink hot all morning! When Breakthrough Masters tackles a project, we don’t ask how to make an organization better, we ask what is the potential of the organization? What is possible? And then help our clients figure out how to get there. Are you starting with the end in mind?

Offer the best quality

Yeti uses quality materials and cares about the design of their products. They not only work, but they look good while doing it. Users don’t generally care much about the process of producing the products—just whether it does what they say it will and hold up to the test of use. Yeti’s founder pledges “We’d never sacrifice quality for a few extra bucks.” Quality matters in everything we do and it doesn’t just happen. It requires knowledge of “best practice” and the ability to apply innovative concepts to traditional problems. Breakthrough Masters strives to provide the best quality work in the industry, constantly seeking to improve capabilities to enhance outcomes. Are you satisfied with good enough, or do you choose to innovate and reach new levels of achievement and growth?
• Focus on results: Yeti was born because there was a problem. The Seiders brothers invented Yeti because, “The coolers that were out there just weren’t up to our outdoor adventures — the handles would break, the latches would snap off, and the lids would cave in.” And I might add, ice melted way too fast. Great work doesn’t try to improve performance as much as it fixes problems. When we focus on making improvements to what we already have, we usually end up focusing on process or activities, and rarely do we get the results we want. Something significantly better is created when we focus on the results we desire and then figure out how to achieve them. At Breakthrough Masters, we ask our clients to imagine what is possible rather than what is probable. What is possible for you?

For the long term

One of the driving factors for Yeti products is longevity. Will it break easily or last a very long time– standing up to not just normal wear or tear but even abuse. As one founder put it, “Because having your cooler’s lid cave in when using it as a casting platform should never be part of anyone’s fishing trip.” A good relationship and a good strategic plan, like a good cooler, should withstand the test of bumps in the road, unexpected challenges and still be solid enough to keep on doing its job well. When I founded Breakthrough Masters, it was important to me that clients knew they were “clients for life” and that I am always here for them—as an advisor, coach and friend. Walking a different path, and sticking to it, is never easy so it matters that our clients have someone they trust to walk with them.

Thanks for participating in this blog in 2017. Have a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year!

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