“How did you do that?”
I’ve lost count just how many times I have been asked that.
I’ve worked in the past as a magician, and from time to time I still might incorporate a magic trick into one of my presentations. For several years, I had the amazing experience of working for a company called “Fabjance Studios”, a magic company founded by the late, great prestidigitator, John Fabjance.
Working for his company gave me the opportunity to work with some of the best, very talented and most well-known magicians of the time, and to perform my magic act on stage with them. In addition to running the catalog and mail order parts of John’s company, I also worked in the magic shop itself, demonstrating and selling “magic”.
As you have probably heard, a good magician never reveals his or her secrets (and I was a good magician)! But they will sell them, which is what I did at Fabjance Studios. When a customer purchased the magic trick, I would share the secret of how the magic was done and teach them how to perform it.
Sometimes, learning the secret turned out to be a disappointing experience on behalf of the customer, because what may have fooled and astonished them just a few moments before now seemed to be quite simple and mundane. “Really,” they might ask, “that’s all there is to it?”
Once you know the secret, it’s no longer a secret. But you still must believe in the magic the secret holds, which is why so many people who bought a magic trick likely never even performed it for anyone else. Maybe they didn’t believe it would work for them or they lacked confidence to try, or perhaps they simply didn’t want to put in the effort to really learn and practice performing the trick.
Why do I share this story?
Simply because I’ve come to learn that in any business, there are secrets to that magical thing called “success”. We read books and articles, and attend seminars and conferences in our quest to learn these secrets. Sadly, however, when these secrets are shared and learned, very often they are not recognized or never put into practice.
And just like learning the secret of a magic trick, the secrets of the magic of business success may also seem “simple and mundane”. They are not usually “bright and shiny and new”.
During my long consultinf career, however, I’ve had the gratification of seeing many individuals and organizations learn these secrets with magical results. They realized that if others could do it, they could do it, too.
It became my passion to learn and share these secrets over the years through my presentations and the courses and seminars I taught. Based upon my experience working with numerous people and organizations, observation, and research, I worked to distill down what I came to believe constitute the elements of the “Magic” of stakeholder value, with “V*A*L*U*E” being an acronym for: VISION, ALIGNMENT, LEVERAGE, UNIQUENESS, and EXECUTION.
- Just as in performing a magic act, the first thing is to know and decide what you’re out to accomplish, to define the outcomes you desire and then establish that as your Vision (V).
- Next, comes Alignment (A). You want to commit to your Vision and outcomes by Aligning to it - establishing a mission, setting goals, and prioritizing time and resources.
- Of course, you want to Leverage whatever you can to make it happen. What tools or technology can help? What people or organizations can be of assistance? Consultants, partners, vendors or associations like HDI come to mind.
- Of course you blend in your own Uniqueness. What are your strengths and weaknesses, and what is your personal “style”? Then put in the effort to practice and continually improve.
- Then, finally, you Execute. It sounds simple enough, but this is where many a magician fails. To deliver the magic, you must make it happen!
Yes, there is magic in the value you provide to your customers and other stakeholders. Learn the secrets, focus on VALUE, and believe in the magic!
Ken Wendle is an author and speaker with Edify ITSM.