Go from Rookie to MVP

Quick! Results Needed

To be successful in business today, you have to make an almost immediate impact. Anything less is no longer acceptable. The name of the game today is results, and results had better come quick!

Whether you are a new CEO or just starting your first job, the principle is the same. Speed to results is what it is all about. Ironically, the longer you are on the job, the more leeway you will have. Once you have a track record, then you will have a foundation of trust established. That trust will buy you time if you need it. But when you first start, you may lack a history together and you may not have a relationship. When you first begin a new job, everyone is weighing in with opinions about you. Like it or not, spectators are lining up to judge your performance.


First, seek agreement on the definition of success. The time to do this is when you first start the project or the job. Three questions to ask:

  1. What is expected? You want to know what the expectations are so that there are no surprises. This is the expectation goal.
  2. If you could paint a picture of success, what would it look like? This is where it is important to go beyond the expectation to the definition of winning. Once you establish this, it will become your achievement goal. Meeting the expectation level is not enough for you.
  3. On the other end of the spectrum, what would be a dismal failure so bad that it would get me fired or you would withhold payment for my services? Better to know this up front than to be surprised later.

Second, make sure that you ask these questions broadly. I’ve personally made the mistake of asking my boss and stopping there. That misses all of the other people who have a stake in the goal. Early in my career, as a sales manager, I would talk to the Regional Sales Director and set goals. That missed my peers, the Vice President of Sales, and the product and marketing teams. Better to involve everyone up front and avoid “shadow judges” weighing in on your performance later.

Third, make sure you establish the time period for the accomplishment of the goal. What you are aiming for in all of this is a reasonable goal in a reasonable timeframe.



Aim Beyond Expectations

Once you have the goal and the timeframe, you need to aim beyond the expectation goal. You need to aim for the success goal. You want to achieve it faster that you promised, and you want the results to be better than anticipated. Hitting the goal you agreed on isn’t spectacular performance. It’s a requirement.

More important than the final goal may be demonstrating progress and building credibility. Remember that you are proving yourself. The word will leak early about how you act, what you are doing, how you work on a team. You want to have examples and stories that show you are driving forward. As you work toward achieving the objective, look for smaller wins along the way. If someone on your team is doing something remarkable, highlight that person publicly.



Finally, relationships are crucial. Connecting with other people is more important than anything else. You can hit all the numbers out of the park, but if you are not able to fit into the culture, you will not succeed long-term. That means you need to spend time and invest in key relationships. A genuine interest for others cannot be faked. You want to have others working on your side. To do that, you need to understand what drives others. Find the win/win in working together. Zig Ziglar said so many times “You can get anything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

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