A loyal reader emailed the other day asking me if I had read one of the latest and greatest bestselling business books and it turns I had.

Given how much time I spend on planes traveling to see current and prospective clients these days, along with two busy kids at home, it’s one of the best times for me to catch up on reading.

I won’t mention the book in question, but the structure of the question was similar to one I get quite often. The reader told me that he’d generally enjoyed the book, but couldn’t begin to see how his company could put any of the recommendations from it to use.

Every few months, I get the same question about different books, because the books all tend to have the same premise. The question, quite simply, is usually: “Why did I enjoy the book so much, but see no way to apply any of the things that it said were required to succeed?”

I have a lot of thoughts on why this, but I think it’s primarily because these books aren’t really written for the companies that I do most of my work with (midmarket firms with revenues from $10M-$3B+) See if this sounds familiar:

The world has changed! It’s no longer enough to have a rock-solid sales process, to train your people impeccably, and to use all the best and shiniest software to manage your team appropriately. Now, you also have to implement the 8-step magic bullet formula that you’ll find in the following chapters.

You get the point–the book might as well have said, “It’s no longer enough to be a 6’3” underwear model with a $30M/year salary. These days you also need to spend 8 hours a day meditating to be really happy…”

It may well be true for the 6’3” underwear model CEOs, but what does it have to tell the rest of us about what we should be doing?

Here’s a truth that I’ve noticed–very few companies meet the ‘bare minimum’ requirements that these books start out by saying is no longer enough. And yet every one of them that I’ve talked to is still succeeding! There’s still kicking butt in most areas.

They’re not doing it by going from Good to Great. In fact, some of these companies may even score themselves as “grim” in some areas. But they recognize that, and they’ve identified what they need to do to go from Grim to Good. Then, they work like mad to ensure they’re consistently good–a theme you’ve heard me talk about many times in my tidbits. Because paradoxically, being consistently good is better than occasional moments of greatness.

The Road to Damascus isn’t going to be found in one of these books. Instead, the real key to success is found in daily discipline and not in brilliance.

Your Key Challenge: Spend a few minutes and think about this.

What is something your company or your people could be doing every single day to drastically strengthen the relationships with your existing customers? 

Once you’ve identified something, ask yourself this….

You came up with something that could have a dramatic impact on your business in a shorter time than it took you to read this post…so why aren’t you doing it?

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “We all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is disciple weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn