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Low Maintenance High Return

by Randall Craig on June 3, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management, Promotion

Tagged as: , , ,

Does your car need service every three months, six months, or just once yearly? How often do you need to change the oil, check the tires, or fill up the tank? Each car is very different.

Like cars, every person is different. Some people are high maintenance, and others require less service. High maintenance people require an excessive amount of your time: you will be giving them additional instructions, providing emotional support, or actually taking care of things that they themselves should be doing. They seem to require constant reassurance, or require knowledge of every detail, in order to get something done. Needless to say, low maintenance people are easier – and often more desirable as a result.

Think of yourself: are you high maintenance or low maintenance? Despite the phrasing, it isn’t a black-or-white question. Each of us requires some maintenance – the trick is to require less. The higher your “maintenance factor”, the less likely you will be considered for any new opportunities. Consider these maintenance-lowering activities:

  • Ensure that you understand others’ expectations of you.
  • Before asking for help, think through the issues and alternatives.
  • Do an attitude check.
  • Thank others when they do help you.
  • Over-deliver on your promises – exceed expectations.
  • Look for emotional support from your friends and family – not your colleagues.
  • Before you ask your manager for help, imagine how they would answer your question.
  • Don’t leave tasks until the last moment.

This week’s action item: Resolve to lower your hassle factor by being aware of how much maintenance you require.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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