Steps to Management Success – Step 118: Do Your Homework

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 15th, 2010

STEP ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN

Do Your Homework

Whether you’re making a sales call, going on a job interview, or preparing a report, there is no substitute for being as well prepared as possible—and no good excuse not to be!

WHAT IT MEANS: Doing your homework—getting up to speed with the facts, skills, and presentation materials you need to sparkle and shine—will make you far more likely to sparkle and shine. You need to take full responsibility for owning every aspect of this endeavor—after all, it’s your career. If your research skills aren’t sharp, either sharpen them or enlist a sharp delegate who can help. Gather evidence that will build your case.

Statistics and results always speak louder than opinions. Decide how to best weave your selling points together into a coherent and compelling flow. Learn as much as you can about the process beforehand. For example, if you’re getting a performance review, request a copy of the evaluation form prior to the review, so that you’ll be in a better position to anticipate and discuss each criterion. In general, the better prepared you are, the more confident, polished, and successful you’ll be.

ACTION PLAN: Do your “homework” regularly, by reading up on your industry and gathering data to support your ideas and projects even before you are formally charged with developing and/or presenting them. Explore what online sources might be available to support your case. Envision what it would take to be perfectly prepared for the task at hand, and then do the necessary homework—including practice—to get an A+.

EVEN BETTER: You don’t have to bury your audience with proof, but more is usually better than less. If you already have an article or case study that clearly supports your position (or claim), don’t stop there. Find another one. Let the weight of evidence (other articles, market research, internal and/or industry data, etc.) support your presentation with a resounding thud!

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)


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