Aiming for Excellence in 2012

Our featured community member guest post is from Mark Goulston, M.D., a high stakes executive coach, international expert in conflict mastery training, former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, and a UCLA professor of psychiatry for more than twenty five years. He writes a weekly Tribune syndicated career advice column, blogs for Business Insider, Fast Company and the Huffington Post, and is a #1 international and kindle best selling author of five books including the international best seller, Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. Contact Mark at: — KS

Something I have observed in the work place is how impressive and how impressed people are with what I call “relevant excellence.”  Relevant excellence is greatly exceeding the expectations of people in doing something that is important, if not critical to them and that few others can do. Being excellent at something that isn’t important to them is irrelevant.  I think people are more impressed by your excellence than what you’re excellent at. Maybe it’s because there is a great deal of mediocrity in the world or because you are just that good.

After people become impressed with your excellence they will often ask you what other skills or capabilities you possess. Or they may ask you if you know people who are as excellent at what they do as you are in what you do. And that then becomes the basis of making referrals to others which has a way of coming back to you as they start to think of you.

But don’t leave it at that. Instead think of the people and places you have worked for and at. What is something you did or do that they would say is excellent, important to them and was something that few others could do? Next, reach out to those people and send them an email or letter saying: “Dear xxxx, Hope you and your family and company are doing well. You seemed more than satisfied with the job I did for you regarding x.  I am trying to determine what my greatest value to you was and I am too close to look at myself objectively. I would like to buy 30 minutes of your time (that demonstrates that you see their time as valuable, and most will just give you it) or take you out to lunch/dinner/drinks to pick your brain about the work I did for you and what to call it. Thank you for your support. Best regards, yyyy”

After they help describe what your special ability is, choose that as your “brand.” Think of companies and jobs where what you are excellent at is mission critical to their success.

Then, think of your network and who might help you get an interview with people at those companies who most urgently need what you offer.

Interestingly, when you meet with those people who have experienced your excellence and after they, and you, recall the service you provided them, they will often re-experience their appreciation and gratitude towards you. In fact, a fair number of them may even say right on the spot, “Let me make a call,” to make an introduction to someone they know you could help and who will be thankful to them for making the connection to you.

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