Summit: Reach Your Peak and Elevate Your Customers' Experience

Summit: Reach Your Peak and Elevate Your Customers' Experience

by F. Scott Addis


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Risk management expert and entrepreneur Scott Addis looks at your progression upward—from developing skills to cultivating business relationships to earning customer loyalty—as an ascent to a mountaintop. He takes you through four elevation levels—preparation for the climb, setting up base camp, assaulting the summit, and the final ascent—as he covers identifying your Unique Ability®, emotional intelligence, presenting yourself to others, nurturing creativity and innovation, building relationships, and winning customer trust.

Scott— an Inc. magazine “Entrepreneur of the Year” finalist and one of the “25 Most Innovative Insurance Brokers in America”—believes that as a professional in today’s workforce you are eager to reach your personal summit, and he gives you a clear path to get there. In his well-paced guide for novices and masters alike, he judiciously balances anecdotes with prudent advice and calls-to-action. The latter take the form of questions to address, steps to take, strategies to pursue, and attributes to cultivate along your path to the top.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626340411
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Publication date: 01/07/2014
Pages: 190
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.76(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Scott started his award-winning company, The Addis Group, in 1990—from scratch: No carriers. No revenue. Only a $50,000 credit line and a vision of providing elite risk management services to the middle-market business segment. It has evolved into a juggernaut in the industry, with more than 1,700 clients, total premiums in excess of $145,000,000, and revenues of over $14,000,000. Scott is a member of the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter's Advisory Committee. He currently sits on the Educational Advisory Board for Rough Notes® magazine. The Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Scott as one of the region's most influential business professionals in its “Book of Leaders.”

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Reach Your Peak and Elevate Your Customers' Experience


Greenleaf Book Group Press

Copyright © 2014 Scott Addis
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62634-041-1


Assessing Your Natural Strengths

The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good. —Brian Tracy

A number of years ago I had the good fortune of being introduced to Dan Sullivan, founder and president of Strategic Coach® (, an organization focused on helping entrepreneurs reach new levels of success and happiness. At the time, I was struggling to break through the "ceiling of complexity," a term Sullivan uses to describe what happens when entrepreneurs find themselves bogged down in activities that are boring, frustrating, and exhausting. The Strategic Coach® Program continues to play an important role in the way I think, act, and feel about my business and personal life, as well as how I interact with others.

A key principle in Sullivan's teachings is the concept of what he calls "Unique Ability®," a way of describing a powerful force that is at the very core of who you are as an individual. It is the essence of what you love to do and do best. Unique Ability® consists of your personal talents, passions, and skills. Sullivan asserts that every person has a Unique Ability®, but most people are not aware that they do. Because of this lack of awareness, these people have not experienced the infinite rewards that come from being able to harness and develop their natural talents and pursue their passions wholeheartedly. The more you are able to recognize your Unique Ability® and shape your life around it, the more freedom, success, and happiness you will experience.

According to Sullivan, each person's Unique Ability® has these four characteristics:

1. It's a superior ability that other people notice and value.

2. You love doing it and want to do it as much as possible.

3. It's energizing for you and others around you.

4. You keep getting better, never running out of possibilities for further improvement.

The synergistic effects of these four characteristics will give you enhanced confidence, inspiration, and motivation as you gain clarity about your Unique Ability®.

Most of us are not able to identify our Unique Ability®, let alone concentrate on it, however, because we are trapped by an erroneous notion we all learn at a young age: namely, that the secret to success in life is working on our weaknesses! Unfortunately, the focus on weaknesses results in failure, guilt, and loss of confidence. As a further result, our lives are filled with frustration, wasted potential, and missed opportunity. Moving beyond your lack of abilities to focus instead on the things you love is an important secret to maximizing your performance.

Through Dan Sullivan's teachings, I learned that people spend their lives in one of four zones of activity: incompetence, competence, excellence, and Unique Ability®. Here is my brief paraphrase of the four zones Sullivan has identified:

Incompetent Activities: Tasks that make you feel frustrated and stressed because you are just not good at them. What incompetent activities would you be happy to get rid of? What incompetent tasks drain your energy?

Competent Activities: Activities you are merely adequate at performing. A lot of people could do these tasks with greater success and less effort than you can. It is competent activities that create boredom in your life.

Excellent Activities: The activities you have superior skill in performing. People can count on you to accomplish these tasks. You may have even developed a reputation for your capability in these areas. However, deep down, you do not have a burning passion for these things. Even with all of the external positive reinforcement, these activities do not fuel your passion.

Unique Ability® Activities: Activities that enhance your confidence and create energy as well as enthusiasm are your Unique Ability® activities. When you engage in them, you bubble over with excitement. You could do these activities all day long and never grow bored. They give you endless possibilities for improvement, no matter how skilled you are at them.

Your success or failure in life depends on how much time you spend in each of these zones of activity. Unsuccessful people spend most of their time in the incompetent zone. High performers spend most of their time in the zones of competence and excellence. And peak performers—those who achieve extraordinary results during their lives—spend almost all of their time in the Unique Ability® zone. Sir James Matthew Barrie, the Scottish author, dramatist, and creator of Peter Pan, once said, "The secret to happiness is not doing what one likes, but liking what one does."


How do you discover your Unique Ability®? How do you identify tasks that fill you with excitement, passion, and purpose? And, conversely, how do you systematically identify activities that consume your life and drain your energy?

I would like to suggest that you begin with the following fivestep Unique Ability® Process:

1. Unique Ability® Question: Begin by asking yourself what activities give you energy, purpose, and passion. Consider asking other people who know you the same question.

2. Unique Ability® Habits: Begin by listing the things that you do automatically to produce your best results. These are the habits you have developed over the course of your lifetime. Pick the ones that reflect your core values.

3. Unique Ability® Statement: Consider expressing your Unique Ability® in one sentence. Begin with words such as "My Unique Ability® is characterized by my superior ability to ..."

4. Unique Ability® Future: Envision yourself at some point in the future spending 100 percent of your time on your Unique Ability®. This skill is a powerful part of the process of becoming clear about your ideal future. Visioning is understood and appreciated by top athletes, entertainers, and successful people in all walks of life. Visioning your Unique Ability® will give you a sense of clarity, confidence, purpose, and passion.

5. Unique Ability® Goal Setting: Consider the positive implications of goal setting. Goal setting is a powerful part of the process of becoming clear about your ideal future, designing an action plan to get there, launching into action, and persisting until you reach your destination. This final step of the Unique Ability® process is crucial. (The concepts of visioning and goal setting will be covered in more detail in chapter 3.)

I would also like to recommend that you consider an assessment instrument called the Kolbe A Index™. Developed by Kathy Kolbe, this unique index is a proven and reliable tool to assess your instinctive and natural approach to creative problem solving. It is different from any other mental measurement tool because there are no right or wrong or good or bad answers.

Kolbe's definition of success is the freedom to be yourself, to appreciate your natural talents, and harness these talents to guide you to your peak. Your ability to understand what these talents are—especially your Unique Ability®—will allow you to be highly motivated, creative, and focused.

The Kolbe A Index™ determines a person's natural advantage according to the degree of intensity exhibited in each of the four action modes. In her book, Conative Connection, Kathy Kolbe tells us a fascinating story about the Phoenix Suns professional basketball team. Sitting in the Phoenix Coliseum one night, Kathy cringed as she saw her team lose yet another game. She could see that the talented players were being reined in, their instincts crushed by their coach. Knowing how to enhance human performance, Kathy called the Suns' general manager the next day to offer her services. Within two basketball seasons, with a new coach who understood the power of instinctive action, the Suns moved from near the cellar of the league to a force to be reckoned with. (See Figure 1.1.)

One hundred percent of your mental energy and creativity is distributed across the action modes listed in the figure. A corresponding number from 1 to 10 in the Kolbe A Index™ determines your mode of operation, or modus operandi (MO). As you discover your unique MO, you begin to understand and appreciate your instinctive, or natural, ways of taking action. Figure 1.2 is a representation of my Kolbe A Index™ of 5762.

As you can see, I possess a natural talent for "follow through" yet also have positive instincts for fact finding and being a quick start. The Kolbe A Index™ has allowed me to understand that I have a natural advantage when arranging, designing, scheduling, and planning. It is an important first step in allowing you to discover your Unique Ability®. As Kathy Kolbe writes of Abraham Maslow, the guru of self-actualization, he discovered that a person seeks "to be true to his or her own nature, to trust him or herself, to be authentic, spontaneous, honestly expressive, and to look for sources in his or her actions."

As a perfectionist, I often have a difficult time letting go of projects that do not reflect my Unique Ability®. For example, while I am a capable account manager, my Unique Ability® is articulating the value proposition of The Addis Group and Addis Intellectual Capital. Far too often, I get mired in day-to-day account management responsibilities when I should be conveying each of the firms' unique messages in the marketplace. When this occurs, I frustrate myself as well as those people who support me.

Focus on Your Natural Advantage and Uniqueness; Delegate Everything Else

Peak performers focus on their natural advantage and Unique Ability® and delegate everything else. These individuals hand off work to others who possess a Unique Ability® in the areas to be delegated. There are people sitting around you today who each possess a mental energy and creativity that differs from yours. Tasks that drain your energy will fill the bucket for them.

* * *

If you're frustrated, bored, and losing energy, it's imperative that you discover your natural strengths and Unique Ability®. Furthermore, assessing these attributes is critical to the process of planning where you want to go in your life and how you're going to get there. Discovering your natural strengths and Unique Ability® is essential for the climb you have ahead of you so you can reach the summit!


Finding Your Passion

There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential. —Rusty Berkus

Just as important as knowing your natural strengths and your Unique Ability® is discovering your passions and interests—knowing where your emotional energy resides—before you set out on your climb.

Business consultants spend a lot of time trying to understand sales performance. This includes, but is not limited to, an analysis of prospecting, sales skills, and customer relationship management. The consultant's performance indicators focus on a host of quantifiable and activity-based measures, including the number of prospect calls, point-of-sale proposals, cross-selling initiatives, and retention.

True, performance can be enhanced through these strategies, activities, and measures. And there is no question that a strategic business development plan that incorporates a differentiated sales process is essential. But what is often overlooked in the analytical process is emotional energy—your passion for the business.

In The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, John Maxwell states, "If you look at the lives of effective leaders, you will find that they often don't fit into a stereotypical mold. For example, more than 50 percent of all CEOs of Fortune 500 companies had a C or C- average in college. Nearly 75 percent of all U.S. presidents were in the bottom half of their school classes. And more than 50 percent of all millionaire entrepreneurs never finished college."

Similar observations can be seen in Time magazine's 2013 list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World." While each person no doubt had been blessed with talent, it was apparent that their desire, supported by purpose and passion, served as the fuel for their ultimate success. When you think about influential leaders, you will be struck by their passion: Gandhi for human rights, Winston Churchill for freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. for equality, Bill Gates for technology. Influential leaders have a burning desire to make a difference.

Thus, in order for apparently "ordinary" people to achieve great things, they need passion.

Very broadly, passion is defined as "a strong or intense feeling or emotion." It is the fuel for your will. Passion creates powerful energy. Typically, passion begins as a focused desire but eventually swallows all of the emotions it engenders. For example, if you want something badly enough, you will find the willpower to achieve it.

Historically, expressing passion in the traditional business setting was considered unprofessional. There was a belief that the display of emotion in a business deal could jeopardize the outcome or at least make the transaction less productive. Times have changed, however. In fact, many of today's notable business leaders are emotional people—Jack Welch, Michael Dell, and Mark Cuban, to name but a few.

Passion in business translates into loving what you do. No business professional should feel guilty for sharing his or her emotions. After all, humans are emotional creatures. The key lies in learning how to harness and direct your passion so that it serves you in positive ways. When you follow your passion, you will become a more dedicated and productive person, and your passion will positively impact others around you. Your passion will have a measurable and sustainable impact on those whom you touch. While it is important that you demonstrate enthusiasm for your corporate culture, it is just as important that you show passion for your products, services, and resources. Consumers take genuine interest in people who demonstrate excitement and enthusiasm about what they deliver.

Likewise, consumers make buying decisions based, in large part, on passion. In fact, leading marketers use words and images to evoke emotions so as to create enduring psychological bonds between the customer and a product or service. Brand consultants often refer to the passionately strong brands of such companies as Urban Outfitters, Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and eBay.

In the business world, passion comes from an influential leader's belief in his or her company's value proposition and unique way through which the company creates value for those whom it serves.

Referring once again to Maxwell's insights about essential leadership qualities, he highlights these four truths about passion:

1. Passion is a first step to achievement;

2. Passion increases willpower;

3. Passion changes you;

4. Passion makes the impossible possible.

Over the years, numerous colleagues and clients have commented on the emotion I put into each and every business endeavor. I can personally attest to Maxwell's four truths. My passion has had a profound impact on my performance.


Your purpose is what fuels your passion. And your passion is the fuel for the fire in your heart and soul. It impacts your life and those around you. "A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion," says Maxwell. You cannot reach the peak without a clear appreciation for and understanding of your Passion Index.

What is your Passion Index? Think of it as the thermostat that measures the intensity of your emotions. To help you determine your Passion Index, take a minute to agree or disagree with the following three statements:

1. I cannot sleep because I get so excited about a new business system, strategy, or tool.

2. I find myself getting excited when I share my unique business model.

3. My energy is contagious.

* * *

If you agreed with all three of these assertions, you have a high Passion Index. Congratulations! If you did not, do not despair. While there is no magic pill for passion, it will be drawn out of you as you dare to be different in developing a vision and setting your goals, as you create your unique value proposition, and as you build your relationship network. Let's look at your vision for the future and your short- and long-term goals in the next couple of chapters.


Excerpted from SUMMIT by F. SCOTT ADDIS. Copyright © 2014 Scott Addis. Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction: The Purpose of Your Climb 1

Elevation I Preparing for the Climb (Developing Your Personal Readiness) 7

Chapter 1 Assessing Your Natural Strengths 9

Chapter 2 Finding Your Passion 19

Chapter 3 Identifying Your Vision, Setting Your Goals 25

Chapter 4 Balancing Your Work with Your Life 37

Elevation II Setting Up Base Camp (Preparing to Present Yourself to Others) 47

Chapter 5 Gaining Confidence 49

Chapter 6 Cultivating Servant Leadership 55

Chapter 7 Creating Your Value Proposition to Win the Battle Against Commoditization 69

Chapter 8 Building Your Relational Network 79

Chapter 9 Finding the Right Mentor 89

Chapter 10 Recognizing the Importance of Your Emotional Intelligence 95

Elevation III On to the Summit (Focusing on the Customer Experience) 103

Chapter 11 Mastering Customer Impressions 105

Chapter 12 Dare to Be Different 117

Chapter 13 Creativity and Innovation 125

Chapter 14 Understanding the Customers' Purchasing Decision 137

Chapter 15 Benchmarking the Customer Experience 145

Elevation IV The Final Ascent (Discovering Your Inner Strengths) 153

Chapter 16 Using Rejection to Take You to the Next Level 155

Chapter 17 Discovering Your Inner Game 161

Conclusion: Your Decision to Climb 169

About the Author 173

Index 175


Philadelphia, PA

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