What’s your game? How are you playing?

20Apr09

Powerful personal brands make sure they stay at the top of their game.  You know, it’s  “bringing your A-game”.  Or, being an “A-player”.

I once had a Fortune 500 CEO tell me that he had hired consulting firms with deeper expertise and more resources than I, but I was the only consultant the company had ever hired that at least one person on the senior team did not hate!  Because of that, he said, I was able to accomplish more than any other consulting firm they had ever hired. That made me an A player for him.

Since this blog is about work, then the first question to ask yourself is: what is my game at work?   To bring the “A” version –  to win –  you first need to be sure you understand the game.

Your game at work is not made up of those things you do that add the most value to the organization or to your professional practice or to your own business.  It’s those things you do that add the most value for your target audience.

For example, let’s say you come up with a new way of doing something that makes your work easier.  It adds a lot of value for you.  But it may not add one thing of value that your customer or boss notices.  Your audience (customer, boss) doesn’t necessarily care how you get things done unless how you do it results in a better outcome for them.  

You have to figure out your game yourself.  Your audience will be of some help but you can’t count on them to define it. Your customers may say they value your expertise.  Good.  But they may not say, as my client did, that what sets you apart from your competitor is not that you are so much more expert, but that you are so much better to work with.  It’s that combination of value that you need to understand.  Then you have the A-game PIN code. 

To keep bringing your A-game you have to keep getting better at all the things, in combination, that set you apart.  New competitors are entering your game every day: new talent in your own company, new talent working for the competition. Know what getting better looks like. Then do it.

Do you think all “A-players” have common attributes?  Come on in and comment!

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