As an employee, there are few more important reputations you can acquire than this one, “She gets things done!” Despite what you may want to think, the primary reason anyone gets hired is because another person (boss/owner/executive/manager etc.) wants to achieve a result–and they need someone else to help them achieve that result.
No owner or executive I’ve ever known (apart from family/friend) has hired anyone just because they wanted to give another person money to make their life easier or to help them pay their rent or buy them clothes or send them on vacation. No! Every good executive/owner/manager/boss hires someone because they want to get something done that they can’t do (or can’t do alone).
Once you realize that—that you’re not hired because you’re you—but because someone wants to achieve a result through you—everything changes. It’s never about you. It’s always about them and what they want to achieve through you.
Knowing that, what’s the best reputation you can acquire? Exactly! To be the person on their team whom they know, “gets things done!” (or, in the more proper language of business, to be the person who executes well).
Having said that, I need to let you know that being great at execution is not as easy as it sounds. There will always be a whole legion of forces fighting against you becoming great at this. For example:
1 Your peers. While there will be some of your peers who will want you to be great at execution, most won’t—especially when it comes to getting things done quickly. Why? Because they don’t want to be shown up. They want to work slowly because they want to justify their time and effort because they wrongly think that they get paid for their time. Or they don’t want you to advance ahead of them. Etc. So always be careful, those who appear to be your friends, often won’t be when it comes to getting things done.
2. Your fears. Everyone has them. But they’re lethal when it comes to getting things done. As you’ve undoubtedly already noticed in life—your fears (of failure or rejection or even success) will often stop you from taking action. “What will happen if I don’t succeed?” Or, “What if they never want to work with me again?” Or, “If I get this done quickly, what will my boss think of my friends here?” But as you’ve heard me say frequently, “Fears are the wrong use of your imagination.” Imagine the best, not the worst outcome and you’ll get unstuck and be able to move forward.
3. Your personalities. Both of you are “P’s” in Myers-Briggs terminology, which means you both prefer to be spontaneous (i.e. to not order your world). But personality preferences can be adjusted (e.g. you know I’m an introvert, but function like an extrovert when I’m with people–because that’s what’s required). In both of your cases, when you’re at work, you’ll both need to adjust your personalities to be more organized and ordered than you would be on your own. Make lists. Create systems. Organize flow charts. Set up spreadsheets with milestones. Use best practices from project management, etc. not because that’s who you are, but because that’s what’s required to get things done (at work, at home or at church)–especially when multiple people are involved in executing something.
4. Your passions. Another one of your personality preferences which will get in the way of being great at execution, which is true for both of you, is that you’re both F’s (meaning feelers). While this is a great trait for relationships, its often a great hindrance to getting things done. Why? Because not all work is fun or sexy or cool or interesting. Some work is “blocking and tackling,” (i.e. the ordinary stuff that comes along with any job). And some work just has to get done by someone–even though you’re not really interested or excited by it. Which means that if you want to develop a reputation as the person who “gets things done!” you’re going to have to learn to fight against your personality preferences.
However, what I will say, is that when you fight the forces against you and acquire the reputation as the person in your workplace who “gets things done” (i.e. who executes well), your career will take off! Why? Because that’s why you were hired. You were hired to achieve results. And since the vast majority of workers don’t get this, you’ll quickly move up the ladder in any organization or business you work with/for (or be recruited by someone who does get this).
So, never focus on being busy or the amount of time you spend at work. Focus on results. Figure out, “What needs to get done?” and then get it done. Get it done fast. Get it done well. Get it done beyond expectations. And you’ll do incredibly well no matter where you work. Trust me on this. You always want to be known as, “The person who gets things done around here!”