Reputation Matters: How to Brand Your Agency as “Productive” to Stand Out from the Crowd
As a leader in your field, you have your share of stories about who you trust to do a great job, and who you know you’ll never work with again. What makes the difference? Often, it comes down to the basic level of productivity; do people do what they say they’ll do, in the time they promised? Follow these five rules of efficiency and effectiveness, and you’ll see things get better – for your team, your agency and your customers.
1. Think twice before saying yes.
Most people say yes to too much, and they say yes to things that aren’t exactly on course for where they are going, or what’s important to them. Of course, it’s not always apparent on the FRONT side, but over time, and with practice, you can begin to ask “was that worth it?” to whatever it was that you just did, where you went, who you talked to, the meeting you attended, the business trip you went on, the class you attended…the list goes on.
When people lie, and say they can (or can’t) do something when they INTUITIVELY know they shouldn’t (or should) do it, they compromise their focus, integrity and power. Stop it. Get focused on where you’re going. Uplevel your Social Network (more on that later) and move in a direction that is on course for your talents, interests and strengths.
2. Call what’s done…done.
There’s probably a project that you’re done working on, but haven’t “marked as complete” because you think you’ll have more time to work on it “later.” You won’t. Out of the 20, 40, 100 things you’re managing right now (that is, the events, projects, deliverables you’re responsible for over the next 1-6 months), there might be 10% of those you’re actually NOT going to do anything more about or on. Good. Tell someone, anyone, and if you need, pass on the “as-much-as-you’re-gonna-do” to someone who wants to do more. Otherwise…Move On.
3. Stop wishing things were different.
At the water cooler. In the line at coffee. On the subway. Over dinner…these are the places I hear people talking about things they’re not willing to do anything about. Wishing (or worse, complaining) that things were different is perhaps the greatest sin of the worker, manager, entrepreneur or senior executive.
The Pareto Principle exists to remind us that (approximately) 80% of our results come from 20% of our assets. Study the 20% and identify what you could address that would have the biggest impact on your productivity and performance. I’ll share some ideas below; if you want a place to start, focus on the two out of 10 people in your Social Network (not your Social Media Network, that’s something different…) who are moving forward and willing to Mind Map strategies for success with you. That 20% focus, may just change 80% of how things are. That’s how you make things different.
4. Capture and codify your best ideas. Now.
Don’t try to “just remember them later.” OK, this is Ground Zero for inefficiency, ineffectiveness and under-performing. I ask people all the time, “When you have an idea ‘here’ for something to do ‘there,’ how do you get that in to your system?” Well, when someone says, “Oh, I just remember to do it,” I worry. No, I don’t think people CAN’T remember, I worry that while they are busy remembering one thing through the day, they may not have the opening to notice something ELSE that passes their periphery.
You see, if I’m so “full” with remembering what I need to do later, I won’t want to take in/on anything new. No new ideas, no new reading, no new conversations, no new media, no new meetings. But, in the NEW is where we see the DIFFERENT. And, when we start doing things differently – or, as Steve Jobs said, we Think Different – the opening occurs. We have the opportunity to engage at another, higher, level.
5. Convince staff to “ask for help.”
In a weird way, the educational system that most of us experienced is actually setting us up for failure during our first few years “on the job.” Students spend years working alone, doing homework “at home,” taking tests “on their own,” sitting quietly in a classroom as teachers lecture on about the topic of study. Then, they enter the workforce. Immediately, collaboration is king. I believe in the power of thinking – yes, we need to be able to do deep, integrative, developmental thinking on our own – AND, I know that people move further AND faster when they work together.
The moment I get the intuitive thought that I should “know better” or I should “know how to do something already,” that’s my cue to raise my hand and ask for help (or, send a tweet or status update, asking for help!).
As you move in to the next phase of your career, or pitch to that next client group, do these five things and see what happens. Who knows, you may just brand yourself as the most productive agency to work with!
Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA, advises business leaders worldwide on the topics of productivity and workplace performance. His book “Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More” is available in hardback and several eVersions. Visit his Website at http://www.womackcompany.com and share your questions and comments via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jasonwomack.