Career Success: Figuring out your USP? (Unique Selling Point?)

Typical View - there's water everywhere

Typical View – there’s water everywhere

Just back from a short hop to Stockholm. I’ve admired Sweden from a distance over many years but never got to see it up close and personal. The city is magic. Set on 14 islands, the architecture gives the place a feeling of coordinated beauty, with public and private buildings built on a grand scale.  They either have a great planning system, a desperate shortage of brown envelopes, or both.

Highlights: The Palace where a huge crowd attended to celebrate the Kings 40th anniversary. While there we witnessed an outbreak of spontaneous happiness with people dancing in the street to celebrate his coronation anniversary. Regardless of whether you’re a Royalist or a Republican – it’s hard not to be impressed by thousands of couples jiving – without a drink in sight.  If my back hadn’t been acting up, I might even have ‘shaken a leg’ myself – being surrounded by all those statuesque blonds (the women were good-looking too).

Lowlights: Pulling open the door of a disabled toilet in a Museum to let my wife run in for a swift visit (all the regular loos were occupied) to discover that this one was actually in use, just unlocked.  I’m not sure who was more embarrassed – the lady using the toilet or myself. Following a strategic retreat, it’s lucky I’m not penning this blog from solitary confinement somewhere in the Arctic Circle.  As a consequence, I’ve made a life-changing decision. Linda can find her own toilets in future and that’s final!

Small Hotel: We stayed in a small hotel, the Nordic Sea. It’s set in a great location (200 metres from the airport shuttle) but is otherwise unremarkable.  Except for one thing. The hotel houses the original ‘Ice Bar’. This is a very cold room (air temperature kept permanently at 50 centigrade) from which they sell truckloads of vodka. At €18 a shot we didn’t stay too long, but it was great fun climbing into all the gear and taking stupid photos.  For the 3 nights we stayed in the hotel, that bar was packed every night.

USP: Isn’t marketing a wonderful science? You take something ordinary (e.g. a hotel) and turn it into something extraordinary (a hotel with a built-in ICE bar experience). It’s almost on par with a makey-up birthday for Arthur Guinness or discovering an 8th cousin in Moneygall for Barack Obama (a blood relationship that most of us didn’t even know existed).  Inspired!

Copy Exact: In terms of raw intelligence or technical ability, most of us come in a fairly standard package. Perhaps, I’m underestimating your ability as a math savant or deriding the fact that you are gifted in some other exotic way.  But more likely, you are ‘smart but pretty ordinary’ – just like the rest of us.  If that’s the case, the trick is to figure out one outstanding feature, something that you will bring to the party that’s special.  Perhaps it will be innovation, cutting edge ideas, blue-sky thinking? Or getting things done? (there’s always a market for someone who delivers).  Maybe it’s high emotional intelligence, building sustainable relationships with customers and staff? You get the point.

The Good News is that you decide what it is that you’re great at (or will be great at in the near future). The Bad News is that if you can’t figure it out, no-one else will be able to figure it out either. Because, without the magic – ordinary hotels and ordinary executives – are grey, anonymous, even a little bit boring.  In contrast, defining your USP is a recipe for success. Now, go figure.


 Lighter Moment: Technology on the Farm

 Paddy was shocked when the Vet announced that all his cows had Bluetongue.

“Be Jeysus!” he said, “I didn’t even know they had mobile phones!”

 Blonde Women (this one from Nicola Horgan; I’m sensing some ‘pushback’ here).

Two Irishmen were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking up. A blonde female walks by and asked them what they were doing.

Paddy replied:

“We’re supposed to be finding the height of this flagpole, but we don’t have a ladder.”

The blonde took an adjustable wrench from her bag, loosened a few bolts and laid the flagpole down. 
She got a tape measure out of her pocket, took a few measurements, and announced that it was 18 feet 6 inches.
Then, she walked off.

Mick said to Paddy: Isn’t that just like a blonde!

We need the height and she gives us the feckin’ length”.

Funny Picture of the Week: Why some women remain single!

Continuing our popular series. This is photo number 3. You couldn’t make this stuff up!  I have this guy’s email address. Contact me immediately if you are that desperate! My real concern for this guy is around the question of interior design. Those walls need some serious attention. What do you mean, you didn’t even notice the walls?

Why Women Stay SIngle

Why Women Stay SIngle

Check our website or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
This entry was posted in Career Coaching. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Career Success: Figuring out your USP? (Unique Selling Point?)

  1. Paul Donovan says:

    Great concept of USP for all. Managers (and parents) take note.

    PS. The photos of why women stay single are brilliant. I love what you and Linda are doing with the place by the way! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s