Improve the Details of Your Work

Make a list of 15 things that you do in your work.

Here’s one example:

Talk with employees. Talk with prospective employees. Talk with customers. Talk with prospective customers. Talk with suppliers. Talk with potential suppliers. Talk with peers. Talk with the boss. Design work flow from product creation to product delivery. Provide customer service. Solve problems as they pop up. Develop cutting-edge products to open new markets. Price your products/services to support your brand. Develop clearer compensation plans. Evaluate all current employees for future positions and responsibilities.

Now take one item and focus on improving it for the next two weeks by answering these questions:

  1. For this item, what do I do well right now and why is that effective?
  2. What do I do now that is not effective and why is it not effective?
  3. What could I do to be more effective and why would that be better?

Focus on just improving that one item for the next weeks. Then go to the next item for two weeks. In seven months you will have improved all 15 parts of what you do.

The Value of Ordinary Moments

Please never lose sight of the value of ordinary moments in your life where a message has stuck with you for a long time. Dig for the lesson inside of the message and apply that lesson every day in your work in order to consistently deliver excellence.

In 1970 my family bought its first ever electric typewriter. My dad put it on the kitchen table, plugged it in, put a sheet of paper in it, and started typing. He typed 10 lines and then put the sheet of paper on the kitchen table. We all leaned in to see what he had written.

It said:

Good things come to those who wait.

Good things come to those who wait.

Dan wrote that same line 10 times. It was his mantra. I heard him say it over 500 times in my lifetime. By it he meant that if you work hard today somewhere in the future something good will happen for you.

In 2009 during the great recession I had the worst financial year of my career. I worried all night about how I would pay my bills. At the same time my dad was dying of Dementia with Lewey Bodies.He didn’t know my name, and he couldn’t talk, but as I sat next to him I felt him saying, “Good things come to those who wait. Work hard today and something good will happen in the future.”

Dad, you were so right. The key is to put in effort without knowing when it will pay off.

I encourage you to examine ordinary moments in your life where a message has stuck with you. Look for the lesson inside the message. Apply that lesson every day in your work in order to consistently deliver excellence.

The Psychology of Deadlines

It is way better to be told your table at a restaurant won’t be ready for 60 minutes and then be seated in 50 minutes than it is to be told you will be seated in 30 minutes and you get seated in 40 minutes.

When you communicate a deadline, you are creating an expectation in the minds of other people that they believe you are committed to delivering. When you miss that expectation, people think you are not committed to them.

That creates huge problems in relationships, especially business relationships. People stop trusting you. People like co-workers, bosses, employees, customers, and suppliers.

Build into your deadline the likely possibility that a lot of things will go wrong. It’s better to let people know a later date that you actually meet than an earlier date you consistently miss.

Logical Pricing

Prices are not expensive or cheap. They are either logical or illogical.

If your organization’s brand is very strong and very much in demand, you can charge more money to be known for higher value, but you might choose not to do that if you want your brand to be associated with the idea of lower prices.

If your organization’s brand is weak and not in demand and you charge higher prices than your competition, you might get laughed at by prospects. Or it might shift the way prospects think about you.

If your price is so low that you can’t make a profit on what you’re selling, then you will go out of business. You will either need to change the way you produce your product or service, what you spend on marketing, or charge more.

If your price is so low that people think you are selling an inferior product or service, you are hurting your business.

You have to make logical decisions when pricing what you sell both in terms of your viability as a business and your organization’s brand today and desired brand in the future. Write down various prices and see which one makes the most sense for where you are today and where you want to be in the future.

 

Goodbyes

Throughout our careers we say goodbye to people.

They retire, resign, get fired, start their own business, go to a competitor, change their type of work, become sick, or leave for some other reason.

You’ve been with this person for years.

Write the person a letter. Let him or her know how much you’ve appreciated working together. Explain specific things you learned from the person. This is a GREAT opportunity to let the other person know that he or she really mattered and really made a difference in the world. People need to hear that just like they need food and water.

The Exponential Value of Perseverance

If you want to be good at something and you persevere, the payoff is extraordinary.

On day one you learn something. On day two you learn something, but you still have what you learned on day one. On day three you have what you learned on day three, but you also can combine what you learned on day three with what you learned on day one and you have what you learned on day three combined with what you learned on day two.

That’s just in three days.

Now do that for three years.

And then for a decade. It’s not 3650 days of learning. It’s 3650 times all the other days that were combined together. It’s mind-boggling to think about.

And all you have to do is want to be good at something and keep learning something every day.