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Simply brilliant! – book review by William Taylor

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Today is a great day, you woke up in a great mood, it’s time for walking and, of course, shopping. And then! What a weekend can do without shopping. You have decided to buy a new phone. Why not? Come to the store and ask them to bring the model you like. Everything is going great, you are ready to pay off and rather run about your business, but then a nightmare begins in the form of additional sales:

“You need a film for this phone! Glass can be scratched and broken! Can you imagine how expensive the renovation will be? By the way, regarding repairs, we recommend that you take an extended ten-year warranty! And another cover! How will you be without a cover ?! Wait! And the headphones? The set comes with bad headphones, we recommend that you take these! “. And then the moment comes when you are ready to explode and say: “Damn it, give me this damn phone already! I am an man, I myself know what I need to buy and what not. ” But out of courtesy, you certainly don’t say that. However, the mood is completely ruined and the purchase does not bring joy.

Familiar situation? We’ve always wondered why companies behave so aggressively towards customers? Why do they take their customers for idiots who seem to themselves do not understand why they came to this store? Many store managers and directors will say that if they do not impose, then there will be no sales at all. And up to this point, we were inclined to believe them. Until… until you read William Taylor’s book “Simply Brilliant. What great companies do not like everyone else. ” And you know, it fundamentally changes the idea of ​​how great companies really should work, what principles they should be guided by, how to value their customers and find unique opportunities where no one sees them.

A few words about the author. William Taylor is a co-founder of Fast Company magazine, a columnist for the Harvard Business Review and author of interviews with business leaders, and author of several books.

One of the main principles, which the author writes about in his book, is customer focus, the ability to put oneself in the client’s shoes. Unfortunately, I would like to note that most of the companies that each of us encounters on a daily basis are deprived of this quality. Usually, we have two extremes: either in the store there are extremely annoying salespeople, or the salespeople do not notice us at all. For example, can you recall at least one case in your life when you were served adequately and did not try to “sniff” something? Most companies suffer from the problem of ripping off as much money as possible from the client, but this only leads to a short-term increase in profits, because then the client will never use the services of this company.

But let’s get back to the book by William Taylor. How should an ideal company deal with customers? And in general, does such a thing exist? In one of the chapters of the book, the author tells about the small fast food chain Pal’s, which is deployed in several states of America. What is so unusual about fast food restaurants? It’s boring! Yes, but not in the case of Pal’s. These guys are doing their best! Their concept is incredibly simple:

The client should receive his order as quickly as possible. Pal’s has no seats in the restaurant; people make all orders while driving their car. Surprisingly, only 18-20 seconds pass between the order and its issue. You will say: “This is all good, of course, but how is Pal’s fundamentally different from McDonald’s? What makes people visit this particular restaurant? ” Here are some guiding principles that all restaurant chain employees follow:

  • The client is most important.
  • The speed is maximum.
  • The quality of the food is as high as possible for a fast food restaurant.
  • No mistakes – the order issuance processes are fine-tuned to perfection.
  • Development – the acquisition of new knowledge is elevated to the highest priority.

The combination of these factors has made Pal’s the most visited restaurants in their regions. Pal’s is an incredibly successful company, in 2001 they became the first restaurant to receive the prestigious national quality award, along with such giants as Cadillac, FedEx and the Ritz-Carlton.

An interesting fact. The average US resident visits McDonald’s about 3 times a month. But what about Pal’s? Will they be able to break the attendance record for this global industry giant? Definitely yes, customers visit their establishments up to three times a week. Incredible, right? So what makes customers come to Pal’s over and over again? Thomas Crosby, CEO (CEO) of the company, gives the following answer to this question:

Customers don’t come to spend time with us. They want us to make their life a little easier. They are in a hurry, they have a lot to do, we help them improve their lives. And we treat them like adults – no ’’ extra suggestions, no “Would you like a drink?”. Our clients know what they want, there is no need to impose on them. We give you your time back. We give you confidence that when you receive the package, it will contain exactly what you ordered. You step on the gas and drive away.

Golden words, aren’t they? Separately, I would like to note the company’s approach to the education and motivation of its employees. Thomas Crosby is personally responsible for this item. The company has a corporate library with the latest business literature, as well as a must-read list for every manager. Once every two weeks, the CEO of the company invites managers to his office to discuss the books he has read recently, what everyone has learned, and what useful ideas can be applied in their area.

Unsurprisingly, with this approach, the Pal’s chain thrives and is a tidbit for any investor. This is a truly outstanding company. As David McCluskey, curator of Learning and Development at the company said: 

We decided to be outstanding. This is our choice. But the world won’t ask you for this [because everyone is used to average and below average]. You must fight for it. Every day you have to ask yourself: “What if the average leader does not want to do, I want to?“. The world will not force you to be outstanding. You must demand this from yourself.

Now we know what separates a successful company from an average one – mainly the approach to people and the desire to be outstanding in their field.

And if ordinary guys from Northeast Tennessee were able to create such an unusual and incredibly successful enterprise in such a seemingly ordinary sphere as fast food, then why can’t we? Success is in our hands.

About William Taylor’s “Simply Brilliant”

You can be outstanding in any business. No matter how competitive your industry is, what matters is the approach you take to your business. It is noteworthy that the author of the book talks about companies in the most competitive and already formed markets – banking, restaurant chains, real estate, non-profit organizations, etc. In William Taylor’s book, 15 companies have achieved incredible success using unconventional approaches. Reading a book is a pleasure. Also because it is 90% motivating storytelling. There is practically no theory, the author actually tells us about the real experience of the success of real companies.

Should you read a book?

Definitely worth it if you want to get not only the most valuable leadership experience from successful companies, but also a charge of motivation and inspiration!

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