The Story Behind Go to 11…

I was having a conversation with a good friend and colleague who was intrigued and wanted to understand why this site is called and what that name had to do with my business. I thought it only fitting  that I  share the response on this site.

Here was my response.

Our business is performance coaching and training—helping individuals, teams and organizations improve their performance, ultimately delivering better results for their businesses. Throughout my career, I’ve delivered many training sessions: different styles of sessions to different clients in different industries at different levels and types of roles within organizations. I’ve also had the good fortune of experiencing a variety of other inspirational motivational speakers and trainers.

In trying to find one simple and practical strategy that anyone could apply, I realized it all boils down to having this consistent mindset: making slight adjustments can often make the biggest difference.

For example, if you’re delivering a presentation, people aren’t going to expect you to be something that you’re not or behave differently than you typically do. On the other hand, what will make your presentation and your message more compelling, engaging and have greater impact is if you add more than you typically do. It might mean slightly increasing the projection of your voice or adding a little bit more emotion to your message. It might mean making your gestures and movement purposeful, yet more dynamic. Perhaps it’s adding an extra video or quote to your presentation. In other words, what is it that you can do to take your presentation from a 10/10 to the next level—an 11?

It’s often the slightest adjustments that make the biggest difference.

And that’s where the notion of “Go to 11” comes from. It’s the idea that, without dramatically changing the performance, by adding changes in manageable increments, the performance will significantly change over time. That in itself will improve my business performance and improve the performance of my business.

Another powerful yet simple example is when you ask someone to raise their hand up as high as they can. Try it now. Okay, great. Now raise it higher. See? You can and you did.  But the real question is: why didn’t you put it up as high as you could when I first asked? That’s where the mindset comes in: constantly being aware of what simple, slight adjustment you can make to be more effective. It reinforces the notion that whatever you think your potential is or the maximum output may be, there’s always something more.

So always be thinking about what more you can do. If you’re servicing your client, how better can you service them? If you’re doing research, what are more innovative ways you can do research? If you’re communicating or asking questions, what are some even more valuable questions you can ask? Or if you’re listening, how can you make sure that you’re listening with even greater intention and empathy to that person?

It’s a mindset of challenging yourself: how can you do a little bit more, ultimately increasing efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, reducing tension, building rapport—whatever it might be. That’s the premise for  “Go to 11” as it relates to business performance.

As you may know, a very famous (or infamous) demonstration of this philosophy, is in the movie Spinal Tap. There’s a great scene ( where Nigel, one of the main characters who’s a musician in the band, talks about his special amplifier. He says, “Most amplifiers go up to 10, but what happens when you’re up at 10 and you want to go a little louder?” He points to the volume control on the amplifier and shows how his “goes to 11.”  So when you need to go a little louder, you “go to 11.”

That’s where Go to 11 came from. When you want to do something better than you’ve done it before or better than your competitors, or if you’re pitching against competitors, always think: how can I Go to 11? What little extra bit can I do in order to win that business, win over that client, or deliver better service and be put in even better standings with my customers?

And that is the answer to my friend’s question. It’s the rationale behind the name of this site, but more importantly, the underlying mindset and approach behind our training and coaching.

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