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Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Have You Done for Me Today?

Everyone has a history, some may be more exciting, but everyone has one.  Accomplishments in prior jobs provide some sense of ones abilities for getting things done in the future.  Thus, a RESUME highlights those accomplishments and future employers review then during a candidate search.  This is why resumes tend to have the positive spin approach to cast a better image to those reading it. 

Many people tend to offer their credentials in daily discussions.  Sometimes it is the “Mine is Bigger than Yours” type of discussion.  Impressing the boss or a colleague is important to some and it helps create an inflated image.  Look at people running for public office.  How many times have you heard things that were just a bit different from the reality of the situation in order to help sway an improved opinion and get votes?

The whole process reminds me of a cartoon I saw a number of years ago. Picture the following scenario:  Scientist have performance objectives that include the number of published papers, number of inventions, and the total dollars received in grants as part of the annual review criteria.  It is not easy to put much of a positive spin on the information because all one need do is count them.  Now, picture a scientist in front of his supervisor.  The supervisor reading from the list provided documenting the annual review. 

Reviewer:  “So you published 35 papers last year.  You were investigator of the year 3 years running in the past.  You filed for 10 patents 6 years ago, and they brought the institution $50MM.  2 years ago you were voted as most outstanding scientist in the institute.”

Scientist: “That is Correct”

Reviewer: “That is great, but what did you do for me today? What results will I get from you this year?”

The point is even better demonstrated by a review of intuitional bankers a company intends to retain to assist with a financing or an M&A activity.  Banks and bankers come in all shapes and sizes and clearly, some of the bankers can afford clothes that are more expensive.  But, when it comes to getting a deal done, the past does not reflect completely on the future ability to get either a financing or a M&a completed. 

In reality, there are only two types of deals, “those that get done, and those that do not.”

The same holds for people in managerial positions.  They will either perform their activities or accomplish them in the future or not.  The past is suggestive but many factors influence one’s ability to complete a task.

The Point:  There is always some hype and some reality in most situations.  Ability of individuals may be reflected in past performances, but, individuals are no better than their ability to get the next task or deal successfully completed!  The chest thumping and bravado just do not get one very far.  The ability to sort through the details and complete any task is measured by actually doing it, not by what you did yesterday.  Hence, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME TODAY?” In fact, “WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR ME THIS YEAR?”

Take it to the next level.  Think of your board or your investors as the supervisor mentioned above.  You may look good on paper, but that does not last forever.  Your accomplishments do!  Those accomplishments must translate to increased value for the investor to benefit.

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon