In every working group, there is a hierarchy of people based on widely held perceptions of their individual effectiveness and productivity. You can move up in this hierarchy – and reap the rewards naturally offered those at or near the top – by putting into practice some simple principles, tactics, and strategies.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Do More Than the Minimum
There are times – such as when the rush is on, during the busy season, when the team is short-handed, or when a project or task has gone off the rails and you’re struggling to get the situation back under control – when doing the minimum is smart. But most of the time, you can build up your reputation by doing more than others expect of you. Doing “more” can include:
- Performing the work more thoroughly,
- Meeting higher standards,
- Adding some embellishments or details to your deliverables,
and so forth.
Every time you do a little more than others expect, you raise your reputation a little higher.
Keep Your Word
Frivolous talk and empty words tend to diminish your standing with others. That’s why one of the best ways to strengthen your reputation is to say only what you mean, and mean only what you say.
For example, if you promise to finish a certain task by a certain day, make it your business to keep that promise. If you offer to help a colleague – perhaps by doing some work, sharing some information, or delivering some resources – make that help available as soon as you possibly can.
Keeping your word like it means something to you will enhance your standing as a person who is reliable and trustworthy, both priceless jewels in the crown of an enviable reputation.
Mistakes happen. Errors creep into deliverables. Misunderstandings and confusion are commonplace. When imperfection arises, you’ll enhance your reputation by accepting whatever share of the responsibility for it that is legitimately yours.
Standing up and taking the hit without flinching sends the message that you are confident and capable, and also that you expect relatively few such problems to arise. Taking responsibility and keeping your word are two sides of the same coin: solid gold personal reliability and trustworthiness.
Taking responsibility is also a good strategy when important work needs to get done. By stepping up and doing everything in your power to develop a solid plan of action, then to deliver your part and help others to deliver theirs, you position yourself as someone worthy of respect, responsibility, and influence.
Make the Best Possible Use of Your Time
Since all of us have the same amount of time in the day, and there’s no more of it to be had at any price, a hallmark of effectiveness and productivity is the practice of using it well.
Here’s where the concept of a “Basic Choice” is particularly helpful: Your “Basic Choice” comes up at each opportunity to choose what you will work on next. It’s the fork in the road you face every time you finish a task or a break and gear up to start working again.
When you regularly choose to work on the one task or project that will bring you the most important and/or most valuable results, most of the time you’ll find yourself producing the maximum. This level of output will quickly generate a widespread reputation for effectiveness and productivity.
The world is a rapidly changing place, and anyone who doesn’t make a strong effort to keep learning new techniques, procedures, facts, and ideas will soon fall irretrievably behind.
One way to keep learning is to maintain a curious, open mind. For example, whenever you experience anything you don’t recognize or understand, ask about it or investigate it on your own.
Another way to pretty much guarantee you will keep learning is by establishing your own educational program. You can regularly take courses, read books, and immerse yourself in new environments.
The result of continual learning will be a steady increase in your knowledge and capabilities, and a steadily growing reputation for effectiveness and productivity.
Ever wonder why most sports teams have cheerleaders on the sidelines? It’s not just to keep fans interested. It’s to offer players an extra measure of confidence, emotional support, and hope.
You can enhance your reputation by doing some of the same. Offering the people you work with a steady diet of encouragement, and regularly expressing confidence in their abilities will not only help them perform at a higher level, it will enhance your standing among them as a valuable and admired team player.
Give One Hundred Percent
All of us know how to coast, from time to time. But coasting along is an acceptable strategy only when you are content to maintain your current level of success.
If you want to accelerate your career and build your reputation, you must go full throttle, all out, expending maximum energy and doing your very best at everything you attempt.
The more often you deliver work that fully reflects your pride in what you do, the higher your star will rise and the stronger your reputation for excellent performance will become.