Portfolio

Not: “I worked at this company.” “I held this position,” or even “I performed this role.” But rather: “I helped these people.” (Please go and talk to them.) “I made this thing” (Have a look and try it out.) “I caused this to happen” (Let me tell you how.) And most importantly: “It made this difference.”

Rainmakers

Who makes good things happen in and for your organisation? Who gets referrals? Who finds new clients? Who gets donations flowing? Who brings in new volunteers? Who finds new rainmakers? Don’t neglect this harder-to-measure quality: slightly less skill in planting or with a plough – in other words, less than stellar technical performance – is forgivable in a person who…

Clayton Christensen on why customers pay a premium, or: bad products are expensive

If you hire a product to get a job done and it doesn’t do the job well, then you have to take it back, or throw it away, or give it away, or repair it, and go out and find something that will do the job well. And if that doesn’t do well then you have to test it, and…

Prominence

Making prominence your aim is like building a skyscraper without laying foundations: you might make something tall, but it’s unlikely to last and it will almost certainly cause damage when it collapses. Rather than trying to stick out from the landscape on your own, far better to aim at lifting those around you and be happily surprised if you end…

Raising the tone

Lowering the tone is easy, often funny, and sometimes desirable: lofty conversations gain traction (or evaporate) when touched to earth. Laughter liberates. It’s much harder to raise the tone, and harder still to do it with humour and grace… but it’s almost always desirable. It’s a way to lead. I propose that we aim for a 2-to-1 ratio of raising…

Test Scores vs A Body of Work

When you show up and say “here’s my resume,” basically you’ve just shared your SAT score … with the HR people. And the HR people are charged with filling the slots with the cheapest competent people they can find. On the other hand, if you build a body of work, if your body of work is irresistible, if it’s generous,…