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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > It’s the small things that get you noticed

It’s the small things that get you noticed

July 3rd, 2010

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Over the course of my career I have had the blessed opportunity to receive some pretty high praise. Sure, I have made my mistakes and had my failures, but when I succeed my clients can be quite effusive in their compliments. One thing I have noticed, though, is that the highest praise often doesn’t come at the completion of some large project. Rather, people are happiest when I provide a small solution at a critical moment. Having the small answer at the right time can be much more important to people than having the answers to the big questions.

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I received a call the other day from a friend/client. She was in the middle of a photo shoot and her camera would not stop recording, nor turn off. With several more hours of work to do, she was under a lot of pressure so she reached out to me in hopes I might have a quick solution. Sure enough, holding down the power button on the camera forced it to restart and she was back to work in minutes. You can probably imagine how happy she was with this solution. This is when it struck me that the right answer at the right time can be quite powerful.

It can feel good to have the answers to the big questions, but since these problems are so large, it can often take weeks, months or years before you know if your solutions were correct. When it comes to people recognizing your contributions to the big answer, time can dim people’s recollections and other people can claim a part in your success and the client may start to feel that the problem wasn’t really that big in the first place. Facing odds like this, you can see how praise might be muted, no matter how good your solution.

When you provide the right answer at the right time, the results are immediate. People know exactly how grateful they are. They know exactly how much time, money, energy you have saved them. There is a direct correlation between your solution and their results.  This is why these answers are so important to both you and your client and your ongoing relationship. Providing the answer has a direct value to the client, but providing the answer also has a direct value to your reputation, your work and your career.

Scientists have a rule that “if you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.” A similar thing applies to praise for your work. If the value of your work isn’t recognized, did it really have value at all. Too often, we can fall into the the trap of “what have you done for me lately?” The world has a very short memory, so opportunities to reinforce the value of your work are dramatically important. They stick in people’s minds long after the initial problem is solved. They are the reason that your clients recommend you to others and return to you again and again.

Look closely for opportunities to deliver the right answer at the right time. Sure, look for solutions to the big problems, too, but not exclusively. Providing the right answer, at the right time allows your expertise to shine — delivering the highest value to your clients while also having the largest impact on your work and career. Sometimes small is much bigger than you might realize.

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