Do your most
important job first each day
It seems so simple
but hardly anyone does it! But doing this one thing will
make you so much more effective.
There’s an interesting story about this. In the 1930s the
steel magnate Charles Schwabb had a meeting with a young
entrepreneur. This young man offered to teach Schwabb a
way to increase his entire company’s productivity. All he
asked in return was that Schwabb pay him what he thought
it was worth.
The idea? Just write down the six most important things
you should do each day and do number one first, before
going on to number two. After trying this incredibly basic
technique for a few weeks Schwabb sent the young man a
cheque for $25,000.
Become a specialist, not a
generalists ruled the roost. Their knowledge in many
fields gave them the competitive edge. But now most
industries are getting so complicated that only when you
specialise are you likely to be acknowledged as the best
in your field.
Better to be a
master of one important area than an also-ran in three
areas. Become a specialist, not a generalist.
Dress like the person above you
in the company
If you look and act like someone more
senior than you are, when the time comes for promotional
reviews, it’s easy for your boss to visualise you in a
more senior position.
If you dress like a junior, your
boss will always see you as one.
meetings under ten minutes
Impossible? Try it, you’ll be amazed at how
often you can pull it off. And there are great
advantages. A ten-minute time limit on meetings
forces people to think about the issues they
want to discuss prior to the meeting’s
It also stops people babbling on with
Thirdly, it forces you to concentrate, and thus
the resulting ideas are often better.
Two tips to speed up meetings:
- Have an agenda presented prior to the meeting, notifying
participants of a start and finish time.
- Do the meeting standing up.
let the boss know what you’ve done
secret of success in a corporation is not doing
a good job. It’s doing a good job and making
sure your boss knows about it!
Many a middle-ranked executive has failed to
make it to the top because they neglected to
keep the boss closely informed about all the
good things they were up to.
On the other hand, many mediocre workers have
been promoted because they constantly let their
boss know about their successes.
Get smart, and get communicating. As long as you
don’t gloat, you are your own best
business magazines a month
I know, they’re expensive, but just think about
If you read five business magazines a month
you’ll have read 60 a year, and probably over
6000 pages of business information. Isn’t it
likely that somewhere in all those pages will he
at least 20 to 30 great ideas for your business?
Maybe even 10 to 20 superb ideas for a new
business as well.
You may think you do not have time to read that
much: if so, make time. Reading is vital,
virtually all the great leaders do it, it just
goes with the job.
If you’re not up to date with your industry, and
those who lead it, your chances of excelling in
that industry are, frankly, minimal.
meetings by asking questions
a very powerful and little known fact. The
person who asks the most questions is usually
the one in control of the meeting. The simple
reason is that the questions have to be
answered, and people naturally begin to direct
their conversation to the questioner. The
questioner thus becomes the focus of the
Try it, you’ll be amazed at how well it works.
than you’re paid for
The world is full of people who only
do what their official job entails. This may mean they can
leave work earlier but it leads to a life of very mediocre
If you really want to achieve in your
career, you have to do more than you’re asked. It seems
such an obvious thing to say, but so few people ever do
it! If you work harder than you’re asked to, and do more
than other people in your office do, it’s virtually
guaranteed you’ll get the pay rises and promotions you
desire. But if all you do is your job, do you really
deserve a pay rise at all?
you’re an expert in your field
otherwise known as ‘Fake it till you make it!’
In business, indeed in life, people are always
looking for people who look like they know what
they’re doing. In a world of ever increasing
complexity, people are craving certainty. One of
the ways to get that certainty is to surround
yourself with experts.
To be successful, you need to look like you’re
one of those experts.
Now you may be years from mastering your field,
but if you can practise looking, talking, moving
and generally behaving like an expert you’ll
make a lot more progress up the career ladder.
Rest assured, all the greats acted like they had
made it, before they actually made it. In fact
it often became a self-fulfilling prophecy. As
the Hollywood legend Cary Grant once remarked,
‘I acted like Cary Grant for so long, I became
memorable business card
Ninety percent of company business cards are dead boring.
No wonder most people throw them away.
Get a card that’s a little different.
Not silly, but memorable. Prospective clients will not
only be more likely to keep the card, they’re also more
likely to remember the person who gave it to them.