Recall the phrase “out of sight, out of mind?” What do people remember about you after an interaction?
Your goal should always be to remain in people’s minds—to leave them always wanting more of whatever job you do, or whatever product or service you provide. What makes you better than those who also do what you do? What makes your performance memorable and remarkable?
Consider: can you give 2-3 substantive reasons why someone should hire you, or follow you, or give you a promotion? If you can’t, you probably don’t pass the test for memorable or remarkable.
Let’s say your boss is having lunch with a colleague today and your name comes up—what does he or she say about you? Adjectives like “nice,” “capable” and “pleasant” are certainly positive, but you should aim for more. Consistently great performance conjures up words like “fantastic,” “exceptional” and “extraordinary.”
If you decide to take another job one day, it would be reaffirming to hear your boss say, “What can we do to keep you here?” and not, “Bon Voyage!” To develop this kind of reputation—remember it doesn’t happen automatically—aim to always do a good job but know when a remarkable performance is called for.
If you want to gain a really remarkable reputation, stay on your toes. Like a professional athlete or a famous rock star, you are only as good as your last game or your last hit. Your fans (or, in most everyday cases, your coworkers or clients) won’t love you unconditionally: they will continue to judge you based on your work and the results and benefits they enjoy from it.
It can be difficult to have an objective view of your own performance. It is easy to assume that you are doing a good or even great job and be content with that illusion. To avoid a rude awakening at a performance review, you need to maintain a clear view on how strong—or weak—your performance actually is.
The best way to do this is to actively seek ongoing feedback. Listen impartially, without defending yourself, and your ‘audience’ (boss, coworker, etc.) will offer insights you can use to improve. If you really want to know, ask this simple question, “What could I do to make my performance remarkable?” Even if this feedback isn’t the pat on the back you’d hoped for; it will be something valuable – clear direction on how you can become a better performer.
The goal in whatever important work you do isn’t to be good; the goal is to be memorable.
The Pursuit of WOW!
Thank you for a great post.
I refer to your book, ‘The Encore Effect’ (as also ‘The Fred Factor’) quite often at work.
And I like this quote by Tom Peters: “The difference between great and average or lousy in any job is, mostly, having the imagination and zeal to re-create yourself daily.”
Yes, Excellence is indeed more fun than mediocrity and remarkable performances do help to create memorability.
Okay, it is Friday… Friday humor on memorable. With one patient I know for a fact I met your suggestion of “memorable.” His appointment was the first appointment after lunch. Besides that relevant fact, I had never met him and he was scheduled for an initial evaluation for his shoulder pain. The first part of the appointment is always the sharing part of the session where the patient tells his or her story and I ask questions and try to understand the patient’s perspective of the problem. Anyways, I’m comfortable and settling in to my role and in the zone of listening and trying to understand when… he says very calmly to me, “there’s a big bug on your shoulder.” I try to calmly check out my shoulder but when I saw the big, ugly praying mantis with front claw leg things and big, black bug eyes looking at me, I kind of lost it with my fake, calm yet partial squeal of, “get it off me!” I’m sure it was hilarious to him… along with my really, really quick jump away from him and away from it when he brushed it off me. I’m really not a fan of bugs but I know the praying mantis is a valuable creature because of what it eats… so I stand there staring at the thing wondering how the heck I can gracefully and calmly get the thing outside. I was spared that task… the patient was laughing at me and took the thing and put it outside. I remember when he came back and sat down and I said to him, “well, that made a great first impression! Thanks for saving me from the scary thing. I’ll make sure I don’t bring friends in from lunch the next time I eat outside!”
I don’t quite think that’s the “memorable” you mean though. I always wonder what patients remember about physical therapy – in his case, I have no doubts what he remembers.