This is why a gulf in class beats the best

I’m a huge football fan (soccer to you North Americans) and live to sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ at the beginning of a football match and watch the Reds put me through agony every game they play.

In last year’s Champions League, the Reds defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 in a match to earn the right to progress to the quarter finals.

Of course the Liverpool media were all over the win, and a comment by the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce (https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/authors/james-pearce/) caught my eye.

He labelled the Red’s domination of their opponent this way: “Liverpool played with real maturity and control— rock solid defensively, tireless in midfield and packing a punch going forward. There was a gulf in class.”

Gulf in class

What an effective way to describe the way they beat their competitors. It wasn’t that the Reds performed better than Bayern; it was more that they completely dominated them in an incomparable way.

Liverpool outmatched Bayern and we’re in a completely different category than their opponents; it wasn’t an incremental difference between the two, rather it was a huge gulf.

I got to thinking about how ‘gulf in class’ is such a great way to describe an organization that was in a different class than their competitors. One that was unmatched by any other; one that was separate from the herd.

About the ‘gulf’, Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead said it best: “You don’t want to be merely the best of the best, you want to be the ONLY one that does what you do.”

How can you develop a gulf in class — a chasm — between yourself and your closest rival? There’s no silver bullet — no one thing — you can do; rather it’s several actions taken simultaneously that act synergistically and in unison to produce consistently amazing performance.

Gulf in class organizations distinguish themselves from ‘the best’ in these 5 ways.

Leadership

Gulf in class organizations have amazing leaders who are dedicated in mind, spirit and body to serving every member of their team based on their individual unique needs.

They are revered by their team and will do anything for them. In the face of criticism, they support their people; they take the heat when team members have an off day.

Their end game is to help develop each team member as a human being not just a player.

Family

Gulf in class organizations aren’t organizations at all, they’re a family and everything they do is to build and maintain it.

“When I die, don’t bring me to the hospital. Bring me to Anfield. I was born there and will die there.” — Steven Gerrard, iconic midfielder, LFC

They represent the ultimate of inclusivity in the truest sense of the word. EVERYONE is emotionally invested in the organization and committed to their success: employees, customers, stakeholders — all those who touch them.

Patience

Gulf in class organizations are patient with the intent to build themselves to win in the long term. They aim to outperform their opponents over the long haul accepting that short term blips along the way are just a fact of life.

They have a long term plan, they understand the competencies they need to achieve it and they consistently keep working hard to achieve their long term goals.

They live the ‘form is temporary; class is permanent’ mantra focussing on what is needed to create something that lasts forever rather than on transitory short term performance.

Loyalty

Gulf in class organizations focus their energy on creating undying loyalty rather than enhancing employee engagement.

They understand that loyalty is a two-way street requiring the organization to earn the right to ask for the support of their family members. They extend a hand and people respond emotionally to perform to the best of their ability.

Giving

Gulf in class organizations give unselfishly to the communities where they do business.

The family shows up at local events to help those in need; employees volunteer their time and expect little in return.

Community involvement is a high priority in a ‘gulf’ organization. It is viewed as a strategic program that commands a non-trivial portion of their annual operating budget.

It is included as a fundamental value of the organization and has specific objectives along with customer focus and revenue growth.

Gulf in class represents the ultimate expression of competitive advantage, but is rarely seen due to the incredible investment that it requires. But to those families like the Liverpool Football Club who have chosen to follow this path, success awaits.

Footnote

At the time of writing this piece in July, 2020, Liverpool has clinched the Premier Football League title in England establishing a record of the least number of games played to win the trophy.

This achievement added to their world championship title last year and is clear evidence that their gulf in class approach makes them unmatchable.
Written by Roy Osing
A leading executive in Canadian business and a recognized content marketer, blogger, speaker, seminar leader, business consultant, educator and personal coach.

Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President and CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Make sure you fill in all mandatory fields.Required fields are marked *