There are three things to consider if you want professional success, either in your job or with your business:
- what results you can provide others
- what relationships can you leverage
- what reputation you can develop for yourself
Let’s go through each of these in greater depth:
Results are the positive outcomes you can provide others consistently and reliably. These include things like
- more time for others
- less energy or effort to do something
- less uncertainty
- more money for other people
- less money people have to spend
If you can provide these results to the company you work for, then your boss and co-workers will start to rely on you more (i.e. better job security). If you can provide these results for customers, then your customers will come to rely on you (i.e. more return customers).
To build your ability to produce results for people, look at your current skill set. Ask yourself: with my skills, how can I save people time, energy, anxiety, or money?
Relationships make up the network of people who can help you find and increase opportunities for yourself. They make up a few different kinds of people:
- Partners or co-workers
All of these could be beneficial to you, so it’s good to keep a growing list of these people. There is no harm in knowing too many people – any one person could be one degree away from an opportunity.
Essentially, forming relationships is a matter of taking the time to list and cultivate them. Make a list of everyone you know, everyone who could be of value to you and to whom you could be of value. Make a system where you keep in touch with these people fairly regularly. See how they are doing, do them a favor.
Before you know it, opportunities will abound.
Reputation is how people know you, see you, think of you. If you’re a business, it’s the main thing that people come to you for. It’s what people say about you to others to make them either want to be connected to you, ridicule you, or avoid you.
A good reputation is a result of good relationships. But more specifically, a good reputation comes from how well you can satisfy or exceed people’s expectations.
In other words, reputation is the synergy between results and reputation. When you give the right results to the right people, then you’ll have a good reputation.
My advice in building a strong reputation: be known for one thing. One quality, one trait, one skill, one niche that people know for sure they can come to you about. Don’t try to be too many things to everyone. Just be one special, noteworthy thing to a bunch of people.
Oh, and once you have a good reputation, then you must guard it with your life.
For maximum success in your career or your business, you need all three Rs: results, relationships, and reputation. You might be the best at what you do, but if no one knows about it, then what’s the point?
Likewise, you can know everyone, but if you can’t actually provide them with value or take advantage of whatever opportunities they may present you, then those relationships are useless.
And if you are too many things to too many people, if people are speaking about you, if you haven’t “wowed” people, then you’ll have a rough road ahead of you attracting new relationships, opportunities, or clients.
Cultivate all three aspects of your career or business, and you’ll start to see stable upward movement in your future.