Aim Higher: Making Failure Fantastic with Mark Sanborn

Making Failure Fantastic

Turn Failure to Success


How do you define providing great service for your customers? Would you say something like, “We give our customers 100% of what they ask for, 100% of the time!”



Well, I don’t think that’s enough. And I’m not talking about a phony statement like, “We give 110%” or “We go the extra mile!” I mean thinking about delivering 100% as essentially the ground floor of what’s expected of you.

100% is what you paid for. You don’t just “deserve” 100%. It’s what you anticipate and believe you’ll get when you put your money down.



My guest on this episode of “Aim Higher” is one of the world’s foremost writers and speakers on the subject of leadership. My good friend Mark Sanborn has written numerous books, one of which, The Fred Factor, has sold over 2 million copies. And he’s been ranked the #5 leadership expert in the world by When we sat down, he told me two secrets of successful leadership that, when you put them together, can turn any service failure into a fantastic experience for your customers.

The first is the idea that “sameness isn’t memorable.” Nobody tells a story about the time they went out to eat, got what they ordered, had a good meal, enjoyed themselves (at 100%) and went home on time. We want to tell our friends stories about truly memorable experiences.




Overcompensate for Service Failure

Mark’s second point is to always overcompensate for service failure. Don’t just “make things right.” That only takes us back to the uninspired 100% that we expected in the first place. When something goes wrong, that’s the time to show creativity, do something extra and really make sure the customer leaves with a story to tell. Because at a point of service failure, guess what—they already have a story to tell when they get home. But whether your company is the hero or the villain of that story depends entirely on how you, as a leader, model and train your people to respond.

Mark is such an engaging, entertaining, witty and wise friend. I had a great time with him during our talk, and I think you will, too.


Listen to our interview on Apple Podcasts here.



For more information, visit Mark’s website or see:

You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader


The Fred Factor




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