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Business and Leadership Business Travel

Professional Tip: Make a Difference That People Love

I recently attended a presentation by the author David Sturt, who spoke on the subject of creating great work as opposed to good work. David Sturt is an executive vice president of the O.C. Tanner Institute and author of The New York Times best-selling book, Great Work. This difference between good and great work is how people make a difference others love. He focused on how inspired employees rise above and contribute more than expected.

Though Sturt’s career began in market research, he enlisted two PhDs from Harvard and Cambridge to help him design a research study for the book. They first reviewed 10,000 samples of award-winning work. To gain further insight into what makes work great, rather than just good, they also conducted 200 one-on-one interviews. In the process, patterns that influenced the great work emerged and they organized them into five consistent skills. He summarized the common success factors into the following five skills:

Common Success Factors For Great Work

  • Ask The Right Questions

    • Great work begins when we ask the right people what they would love.
    • Think about the people your work serves; customers, team members and partners.
    • Ponder improvements with the recipients in mind.
    • Learn how to ask the right questions:
      • Pause before you begin
      • Consider who your work serves
      • Ask the questions to those who your work benefits
  • See For Yourself

    • Difference makers get out of their own bubble and look with their own eyes:
      • They observe everything and everyone affected by their work.
      • Difference makers watch what people do to see how people experience their work.
      • They look at the process to find out what’s working and what’s not.
  • Talk To Your Outer Circle

    • You won’t get any new ideas if you always talk to your inner circle. Your inner circle is always in a bubble. They are a lot like you.
    • Collect ideas and seek points of clarification from others.
    • All of the best thinking comes from the thinking of your outer circle.
  • Improve The Mix

    • Find out what you need to add and subtract to optimize the work or product.
    • Add what is missing and subtract what is not needed.
    • Look at things that people don’t like; imagine ways to reduce and simplify.
    • Bring old things together in new ways.
  • Deliver The Difference

    • Good workers stop when they feel like the work is good enough; great workers are obsessed with sticking with it until people love it.
    • The real value is created after the feedback from those who benefit from your work begins.
    • Insist on knowing what worked and why; stay with it relentlessly until people love it.
    • Create great work that inspires others; become a catalyst for great work.


The takeaway from his presentation and book is clear – everyone is capable of great work. They just need the environment and skills to ideate, innovate and deliver their product.  If you are looking to be inspired, or create passion in your workplace, I recommend this book.

Christopherson Business Travel is an award-winning corporate travel management company with more than 60 years of experience. We are proud to be independently-owned, with more that 300 employees nationawide. Learn more about our own company philosophy or our unique travel management services.

Categories
Travel Industry Travel Management

Innovation Begins with Asking the Right Questions

What if we could … ?

What if you could? And what would actually doing it mean for your organization going forward?

These are the kinds of questions that drive innovation and success in organizations. Asking them means you’re not satisfied with the status quo, but are instead using the natural curiosity we all had as children to figure out “what could be.”

When my youngest daughter was five or six, she asked really good questions. Dad, is the sun a big ball of fire? Dad, is the wind invisible? Dad, how does the car know where to go? This natural curiosity allows children to learn quickly, understand their environment, make good decisions, and adapt to new conditions. Sometimes as adults we lose this capacity for curiosity simply from lack of use. But it is time to start asking good questions again–questions like …

How can we make it easier for our clients to use our products and services?

How can we simplify our work processes to cut out unnecessary costs?

How can we help solve our client’s biggest challenges?

How can we build stronger partner relationships?

What under-served markets can we support?

Innovation has been the driving force of America’s success. Innovation is the solution to re-building our economy. And innovation begins with one person asking the right questions.

Start looking for opportunities in your own organization and you will find them everywhere. When you hear someone complain about something, this is your chance to simply start asking questions! With good questions you can quickly gain an understanding of the issue and spot the opportunities for innovation.

At Christopherson Business Travel we have a natural curiosity and a drive to improve the business travel experience, and we want to provide our business travel management services to our clients at the lowest possible cost. Contact us today to see some of the answers that we have come up with recently.