There’s this one funky thing I’ve seen no more than 5% of people demonstrate. Interestingly enough, that one thing is THE most valued feature to any executive or team lead.
What’s really strange is that excelling in this – the most valued characteristic to any team or company – is not a factor of education, intelligence, wealth or charm. It’s actually really dead simple.
Just do what you say you will do.
In other words, you neither need a PhD in particle physics nor to work your ass off in order to be a highly valued and promotable team member! Just frakking do what you say you will do, how hard is that?
Just for the sake of context – I’ve met no more than 10 people during last 5 years I would call 100% reliable.
Being reliable is something we can all exercise and ultimately excel in. Yet, no more than ~5% of people actually do. Reason? Lack of self-discipline.
Being reliable essentially boils down to be committed to deliver promised no matter what. Few things account for why this is so hard.
#1 – Laziness
One needs to understand really well what needs to be deliver so they can estimate properly. And most people are usually too lazy to scrutinize the problem in order to accurately understand all the aspects, make realistic estimate, and then follow through.
Why waste time when it’s so much easier to shoot a ballpark, and then analyse problem as you go :)
#2 – Fear of confrontation
People are essentially afraid of being considered under-performing. When faced with committing to a task, they fear frontal confrontation with their peers and superiors, hence use variations along the line of “I can’t promise anything” – counting on Oscar-winning “I did my best” impression.
Don’t do that. First of all – to any manager or executive, this is a zero value information, as it doesn’t give any clue to what they can count on. Secondly, it goes without saying you will give your best. If I don’t believe you’re giving your best, you’re done one way or the other. Commit yourself to what you estimated you can do – and than follow through that promise.
#3 – Lack of experience
Giving a sound assessment is definitely a matter of experience. One needs to be able to factor in various outside circumstances that might go wrong – all the way up to including your kid getting high temperature.
The most precious thing you can do to help your career is build up your self-discipline. Commit yourself to what you are prepared to deliver. And deliver it, or die trying. You do that, and there’s no team lead, manager or executive who will want to lose you to someone else – you can bet on that.