After successfully completing Keystone's 14th year in business, we've learned a few things about success. Furthermore, we believe these concepts translate to most areas of life as well.
Master the Craft
I've played drums for more than 20 years, yet I take drum lessons from Steve Ebe every week. On Steve's door is a one-panel cartoon from SavageChickens.com. The violin student chicken says to his teacher, "I don't want to practice! I want to skip ahead to the part where I'm awesome."
You can imagine how things work out for the chicken or anyone who wants to be great yet is unwilling to do the necessary work. The same is true in the marketing and IT consulting business. You cannot fake experience or knowledge. You simply have to do the work. You simply have to be willing to "Master the Craft."
There is a reason why our staff is filled with top talent...and the less seasoned apprentices we hire are carefully mentored and trained to become masters of their craft.
I met a prospective customer on Saturday. He became a prospect after I told him what I do for a living and he expressed his frustrations. He's recently fired one vendor and is considering ending a relationship with his current marketing provider. What is the problem? Both vendors have the inability to explain what they're doing in simple terms.
I've made tremendous progress as a drummer in the last two and a half years. Steve is incredibly good at explaining what I should do and more importantly why I should do it. And Steve does it in language I can understand. And then he explains it again using a real world example. And then he uses an analogy. And then he shows me how it's done. And then he watches me do it.
At Keystone, we work diligently to explain the what, how, and why of what we do. As our "Be Bold" value says: We are polite, professional, realistic, and authentic. We communicate promptly, clearly, and candidly in a respectful manner. We display a positive, helpful attitude, and maintain a healthy sense of humor when the going gets tough.
Make It Better
We have a saying at Keystone: "If you implement someone else's bad solution, they'll never blame themselves when their solution inevitably fails." We're regularly asked to cut corners. The bottom line is, if the shortcut would meet all the objectives, we'd do it.
Learning to play a shuffle beat is not easy. Most drummers can't do it. If you're trying to play Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain" and you can't play Bonham's half-time shuffle, you're going to sound like a train wreck.
We'd love to be that company that provides you with the cheaper solution that yields the same result. The problem is that the cheaper solution is typically not giving you the complete solution. "Free" software like Kaspersky's free anti-virus product might come with a down-side.
Fortunately for our customers, we're driven to "Make it Better." We're going to "meet the goal, provide the right solutions, and do the job right the first time." We won't allow ourselves to knowingly cut corners. It's just who we are!