Be a gamer

We don’t stop to think about it much – but it is incredibly refreshing when people actually do what they said they would do.

And I’m not even talking about big projects and cumbersome plans. That’s a completely separate issue.

Rather, I’m talking about returning phone calls on time. I’m talking about showing up at 7 a.m. on Saturday when you volunteered to clean up a park. I’m talking about doing your part of that group assignment by deadline.

It’s tiny promises that we make to ourselves and to others. They’re just so damn easy to break – so easy that it becomes habitual.

And through the simplicity of being late, being slow and being forgetful is born a whole category of amazing people and organizations who reject these notions, who consistently fight the good fight on behalf of their commitment to follow through.

Toyota built a brand on reliability. People buy Toyota’s not because they look particularly attractive and not because they’re fast or fun to drive – they buy Toyota’s because when you turn the key, they start.

Domino’s gives you 30 minutes. Legally they can’t guarantee this – but they’ve returned their brand to the promise of a delivered pizza as fast as they can.

In baseball, “gamer” is a term for a player who rarely misses a game and performs reliably. It’s considered one of the highest forms of praise associated with sport.

It takes a long, long time and a lot of kept promises to be considered reliable. It’s a constant struggle, but the best organizations, the best employees and the best friends are the gamers.

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2 Comments

Filed under Branding, Life

2 responses to “Be a gamer

  1. jimthomsen

    Then again, the less you commit to, the less your reliability is tested.

    When the game is on the line and your team has the final possession, I’m the guy you want out there, drawing away defenders so somebody better than me can take the final shot.

    Which is fine with me.

    Somebody has to play bass and not sing in a band.

    Somebody has to block from the guy with the six-figure endorsement deal.

    Somebody has to be the person who gets just two lines in a movie before getting killed.

    Somebody has to make sure Barack Obama’s hotel suite is ready for him at his next campaign stop.

    Somebody has to copy-edit the stories written by Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporters.

    That’s the sort of person I aspire to be.

  2. The people who do those things consistently well are what I would call “gamers.”

    Cal Ripken Jr. is probably the best example. Nobody remembers much of Jr.’s 431 homeruns or his 3,000+ hits, or even his two AL MVPs and 1983 World Series ring.

    Cal Ripken Jr. is the Iron Man for playing in a staggering 2,632 consecutive games.

    So if somebody is copy-editing the Pulitzer Prize story, or if someone is blocking the blind-side of a Peyton Manning, or if someone is cleaning a hotel suite – the best are the ones who do it well and do it day in and day out.

    Gamers.

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