I’m asking a series 20 Clarity Questions that every company should be able to answer in order to set a clear business focus and direction. Today, let’s consider together what kind(s) of work you will choose to do – specifically, what is the best work you can be doing.
Clarity Question #6 – What’s Your Best Work?
If you’ve been in workplace for any amount of time – either as an individual or as the leader of a company – you’ve known the discomfort of doing work that really isn’t in your sweet spot.
We all have to do this at times (especially early on) – sometimes we have to generate revenue to keep the lights on, whether or not it’s our preferred type of work.
To make money, I have flipped burgers. Painted houses. Cleaned restrooms. Waited tables. Split firewood (I actually love splitting firewood). Later on, in more career-like positions, I have fulfilled roles that weren’t ideal, but the work needed to be done.
And those companies I’ve worked for, at times, took on projects that were sub-optimal, because….well, revenue.
But we all sense, deep in our minds and hearts, that this state of affairs is far from ideal, and that we’ll be far more productive if we’re doing the work that is characterized by the highest percentages of the following:
- In line with our big-picture goals
- In the zone of our strengths
To my astonishment, as I’ve done Clarity Therapy sessions with a number of small businesses, I have found that most company owners have actually NOT defined their ideal client/work (the two go together). They let circumstances dictate what they do from month-to-month and year-to-year, instead of pro-actively defining exactly what their sweet spot is, and pursuing THAT work with clear focus.
I was speaking recently with a company founder who was doing a lot of work that was within the company skillset, but these projects weren’t scalable, they weren’t really in line with big-picture goals, and it wasn’t ever going to scale. It was a case of the Revenue Treadmill. It always comes down to a choice to gently prune your second-best or third-best work in order to hit the bulls-eye. And that takes clear-eyed definition.
Taking the 5 characteristics I’ve outlined above, I’d urge every company owner to take an hour or two, and examine a couple years worth of your current and present book of business. What stands out as great work, and what doesn’t? Get ruthlessly honest with yourself. Have pruning shears at hand, and even if it’s going to take you a year or two to move from less-productive work into your sweet spot, set your compass (and your message) around the work you SHOULD be doing. Don’t wait for circumstance or customers to tell you where you’re going – you’re the captain of this ship and you need to set the course. Just by taking an objective look at the work you have been doing, any questions about what you ought to be doing may well be settled.
What’s your best work? You’ve probably already done it in the past (or gotten close). Now your goal is to define it, market it – then do it. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
Here’s where we’ve been thus far in this series:
- What are your Company Strengths?
- What is Your Company’s Domain Expertise?
- Who Loves You?
- What’s Your Company Culture?
- What is Your Company’s Big-Picture Goal?
Further insight: Give a listen to this Marketing Profs podcast on getting your point across in six seconds. Especially – listen to the point between minutes 13 and 14 about doing YOUR work.