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36 and a Quarter Ways to be Brilliant - # 11 - 20


Thank you for returning to your journey of being brilliant and continuing to follow this list. Below is the next set of tips, just waiting for you to absorb and try.

If you missed numbers 1 to 10, please catch up here.

11. Stand out and be memorable

How do you want people to remember you? If you left your current role, what would people say about you? How would they remember you, if at all? Brilliant people are memorable people. We all remember the brilliant people that we have worked alonside. Ask yourself what made them so memorable? Was it something they did? Something they said? How they made you feel? Something they wore?

Well, they obviously left some impression, because you still remember them. So, how will you be memorable?

For more ideas on how to be memorable, there is a great article by Jeff Haden on 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People :

12. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Simple, simple advice, but one that is so effective. That means that if you want a managerial role and all the current managers in your organisation wear shirts and smart trousers, then ditch the jeans and T-Shirt and smarten up. A small way of convincing people to see you in a different light.

13. Learn to deal with people

Whatever job you do in life, sooner or later you will come into contact with “People”. Real people! Those that progress quickest in their careers and are brilliant at what they do, are those that have mastered people management. There are no easy short cuts here and “people management” covers a multitude of disciplines. However, you have to start somewhere. Study line management, review and learn influencing and negotiations skills. Understand the principles of Emotional Intelligence. Learn how to motivate people and learn how to adapt your leadership style to get the best out of people. Balance the arts of delegation and self deployment. Build the skills and the confidence to run successful performance reviews, objective setting and giving feedback.

Basically act like a sponge and soak up any piece of people management training you can find online, in books, from peers, coaches, mentors and podcasts. Observe other people and take note of those tat are great people managers and leaders. What is it that they do? Learn from them and emulate them.

14. Don't be afraid to have some fun

Mary Poppins got this spot on when she said :

In every Job that must be done,

There is an element of fun,

You find the fun,

And the Job’s a Game

No matter what your chosen career, I would propose that you could “gamify” some of the activities to bring an element of fun into proceedings. This could be applied equally to your personal life. Imagine trying to convince a small child to tidy their room. For those with children, you will know how hard this simple task can be.

However, by turning it into a game, it suddenly becomes a different prospect. Set them a time limit and reward accordingly (“Bet you can’t you tidy your room in 5 minutes and get a treat”) I have even seen laundry baskets with basketball rings attached to make the age old chore of putting laundry away much more fun.

In the corporate environment, the fun can be directly related or indirectly related to the work. Indirect examples that I have actually seen (and perhaps incited!) include cake baking competitions, Wii playing at lunch time or painting demonstrations. A great example of a directly related fun activities was a helpdesk manager arranging a pizza and dvd evening at work, so that the team could crack through a backlog of tickets and have a bit of fun at the same time.

So, next time don’t complain that your work is no fun ……go and look for some, or, even better, instigate it yourself.

15. Prepare you day

How far ahead do you plan your work or your life? If the first time you know what your plans for the day are is when you check your calendar in the morning, then you are a “same-day planner”. Driving to work, you will realise that you have three meetings today, some of which you may not have prepared for, booked a room for or properly given your full attention. You will also probably have to stop for petrol along the way because you forgot to fill up yesterday. Unorganised, “scatter-brains”, last minute people are often same day planners and this style leaves very little room for error or to rectify mistakes.

Try consider moving yourself to a “night-before” planner. Slightly better than the “Same-day” planner as it allows more time to plan and organise. Have I got everything I need for tomorrow, have I got everything covered?

So, before you go to bed tonight, plan your day for tomorrow and become one of the night-before planning gang!

For more information on this topic, please read my separate blog "Are you a same day planner or a night before-er?"

16. Be Curious

Some of the most Brilliant people I have worked with have had the most curious of minds. Never accepting the status quo and challenging the way that things are done. Being curious and wanting to fully understand something is a brilliant trait to have. Only once you fully understand something can you fully make a difference.

The "5 Why's" technique is a great way of teaching yourself this discipline. If questioning someone to understnd something, never accept their first answer alone. Ask them why? Then ask them Why again. Each time you do so, you will get nearer to understanding the real problem.

Here's a great example :

The vehicle will not start. (the problem)

  • Why? - The battery is dead. (first why)

  • Why? - The alternator is not functioning. (second why)

  • Why? - The alternator belt has broken. (third why)

  • Why? - The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)

  • Why? - The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule. (fifth why, a root cause)

In this case, if the first answer was accepted, then the battery would have been replaced and the root cause never fully understood or addressed. In this case, it was more about follow maintenance procedures.

In the corporate world, good managers would have suggested replacing the battery. Brilliant managers however would also have addressed the maintenance issue.

17. Be good at your job

This one is so simple, yet so hard. Whatever you do in life, work or with the family, be the best that you can. If you are a project manager, be the best project manager there ever was. Doctor, Dentist, Bin man, receptionist, till operator, Director, whatever your vocation, be the best you can. Easier said than done maybe. However, in order to be the best, you need to invest in yourself . Do you have all the right training to perform your job. What else could you teach yourself in order to rise above all the other thousands of people that also do a similar job to you. Turn the question round on yourself. What would a brilliant receptionist / bin man / doctor do differently to the rest? And there is your answer......

18. Write a ten year plan

A high percentage of successful and brilliant people have a ten year plan. It may or may not be written down, but they will be very clear what they want to achieve in the next ten years. Having defined what they want to achieve, they will then be able to asess every decision in life as to whether it is moving them towards their target or away from it.

Statistically, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Why? Because it will force you to clarify exactly what it is you want. It will highlight what the most important things are that you need to do in order to realise your dreams. It will help to motivate you and it will serve as a constant record of your achievement and keep your spurred on.

19. Celebrate Success

Life and work is tough enough without letting success drift away unnoticed and unrecognised. Has your team delivered a successful project? Don't let them just move onto the next one without recognising that fact. Buy a cake. Invite them all to take 5 minutes out from them busy day, make a big deal of the success. Share some cake, coffee and chat. Only 5 minutes, but it will be rememberd for much longer.

20. Take a walk

Changing both your mental and physical state is one of the quickest ways to re-energise yourself. Every once in a while, get up from your desk and take a walk. It doesn't need to be purposeful, just a gentle meander around the office, the factory or the home, will be enough to get the blood flowing, delivering essential oxygen to your heart, brain and your centre of brilliance. Feed your centre of brilliance with this rich oxygen and then feel empowered to tackle your job again.

In addition to physical and mental benefits, the walk may also be an opportunity to network. You may bump into people and have small, but essential updates with them. It will also help increase your visibility within the company and an opportunity for you to practice all your other brilliant skills that you have learnt.


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