One of the best ways to distinguish yourself in an organization is to speak and act in specific deliverables. Instead of saying, “I’m working on X,” say “I’m going to deliver [specific result] by [specific time].Reframing work into specific deliverables with a deadline is a learned skill. Click To Tweet
People who speak in general “I’m working on X” or “It’s on my list” or “Yeah, we should do that” rarely accomplish much.
We’re time-bound creatures. A substantial part of our behavior is driven by deadlines. (Curiously, the origin of the word ‘deadline’ comes from the American Civil War period. Prisoners who crossed a “deadline” in POW camps were shot.) The best leaders set their own deadlines and work proactively to beat them, rather than be dependent on others to set deadlines for them.We’re time-bound creatures. A substantial part of our behavior is driven by deadlines. Click To Tweet
It’s useful to speak in specific deliverables when you’re talking with yourself. Don’t schedule time to “work on” vagueness. What will you finish/create/deliver/ship in that 90 minutes? What’s the outcome from this meeting? What is the benefit of focusing your time this way?
Your customers will appreciate specificity. “I will check on that problem and call you back in 30 minutes.” It’s ok to say, “I don’t know when it will be fixed” if you add “and I will give you another update within 90 minutes.” A local plumbing company in my area is generating positive word of mouth because they tell customers a 30 minute window to expect them, rather than “sometime between 1 and 4pm.” Specificity about deliverables and service will help you acquire and keep customers.
Your boss will treasure specificity. “I’ll have a draft for you to review in your inbox by 9:30am tomorrow” is far better than “I’ll get you something soon.” Concrete, actionable, measurable – these make you stand out and get recognition for your efforts. Even when you’re working on large project deliverables over longer time periods, look for ways to break work into specific deliverables. “By Thursday at 3pm our team will confirm the communication process with the warehouse managers, and clear up any questions about our plan for the quarterly inventory.”Concrete, actionable, measurable – these make you stand out and get recognition for your efforts. Click To Tweet