I am fired up for this summer's Olympics. I can't wait to see Michael Phelps cranking away in the pool and bringing home more gold medals. I am fired up to watch Usain Bolt outrun cheetahs. The combined talent of all Olympic athletes is mind-blowing. But there is one problem: I remember only the athletes who win gold. You know, the ones who are the best.
Of course, I am not alone on this. We all remember the best. We love the best. We reward the best with millions of sponsorship dollars, the covers of magazines and Wheaties boxes. The other contenders? They are forgotten. Every. Single. One.
In some ways, this is depressing. The countless numbers of amazing athletes who could destroy me (or you) in a sprint or swim or shot put or anything athletic are forgotten within weeks of the Olympics if they don't win gold. But when you look deeper, there is a great business lesson here for all of us.
Sometimes, certain athletes lose the race but are still remembered. How about the Jamaican bobsled team, for example? They lost (badly). Yet they stayed "first place" in our mind. And, they did it by using the rule of the suffix "-est."
This is how it works: Simply put the letters "-est" at the end of the adjective that describes what makes your company different from your competition. Once you embody that superlative, you win. People notice and remember the "-ests." The Olympics happens to have the fastest runner, strongest woman, highest jumper, sharpest shooter, and so on. Whoever has the "-est" wins the gold.
In your industry, the "-est" wins, too. But the nice thing is that there can be many, many "-ests." There can be dozens or even hundreds.