“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching” – Thomas Jefferson
What are you going to do with the new year? What are your resolutions? Do you plan on making change happen in your life? If so, let me encourage you to apply this principle I instilled into my life last year. Always do everything in such a way that you do not have to worry about someone finding out
what you did or how you did it. Work with transparency, live with transparency. Do what you say you will do and when you commit to doing something, do it whole-heartedly.
When called and asked by your spouse when you will be home after work, do not tell them you are working late when you are actually just hanging out with friends and talking. Instead, tell them the truth, let them know a time to expect you to be home, and then BE THERE. Tell them the same thing you would if they were asking you face-to-face.
When asked by your friend whether or not you can be expected to attend an event, do not tell them you are planning on going while you are simultaneously plotting the “unexpected event” that will “suddenly pop up” and “keep you from making it”. Instead, just tell them you have other plans as if they would see what you were actually doing at the time they asked you to attend.
When asked if you can perform a certain task within a set amount of time, do not tell your boss or client it will take longer in order to create “buffer time” to do what you want. Do the work as quickly as you can and move on to the next thing. Do the work as if you are being watched all the time.
Here is a quick professional example of how this concept helped me in business last year.
When we started our newest company it was expected that we will provide our clients with the fastest, most accurate, and the highest level of service available in our industry and to do so with integrity and transparency so we never had to apologize for working in a way that was unsavory. Our entire brand is focused on being client-centric so while our competitors might pitch a project completion within ninety days, we promise to have a better product completed and delivered to the client within twenty-one days. We are able to pull this off because while the competition’s project managers are juggling dozens of projects simultaneously (trying to have a long current client list to look like a BIG corporation), we focus on one to three at a time. This structure allows us to focus and complete tasks much more quickly and accurately (creating client elation) as well as closing a project and moving to another customer more quickly. With this principle in place, we are able to have lower overhead, faster project turnover rate, and can charge the same or more than others in our industry thus making us more profitable. We are also the only fully-distributed company in our industry space and we are PROUD to let people know it. While the other guys tout a large central office with dozens of full-time, salaried employees, we have workers spread throughout the country who are only paid for what they produce. Many see our structure as a weakness, but due to our embracing and openness toward it, this characteristic has become one of our biggest marketing strengths. The bottom line is that our clients know we can provide them the maximum amount of value in the shortest amount of time by a project manager that is focused on their needs and that their dollars are not wasted on “buffer time” or wasted effort.
You see, while the other guys surround their process with a lot of mystery and say that their product is worth more because it takes longer to produce, they are actually missing an opportunity to make their client intensely happy by just giving them what they want when they want it. In their effort to look bigger and more complex than they have to they are actually creating pressure points and hurdles for their customer. We happened to get lucky enough to learn this lesson before the launch of our business.
When you are able to work transparently and are honest about what you do and how long it takes to complete you can provide excellent work in a timeframe that is expected. People appreciate a refreshing dose of openness and like it, even more, when you deliver what you promise when you promise. The old adage of “Under-promise, Over-deliver” is dead and replacing it is a simpler but overdue “Promise, Deliver”.
Let’s get rid of the smoke and mirrors and instead let people know what we do and how we do it. This will remove much of the fluff, over-scheduling, and embarrassment from our lives and allow us to streamline to become more proficient in providing the people in our lives what they expect and need from us.
Use this idea to build your employee-manager trust. Use it to build your client list. Most importantly use it to build your character and relationships.
To new beginnings.