Make It Happen
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Oscar Performance

by Randall Craig on February 24, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Motivational,

Tagged as: , ,

While very few of us may be professional actors, how often is our “performance” Oscar-worthy? If you’re like most people, you like to do a great job, but are you doing the greatest job? To do the greatest job isn’t a comment on your effort, but rather that the results of your efforts both surpass expectations, and surpass anyone else’s results.

When asked, most award winners will say that it was hard work and support from others that helped them achieve their greatness. If they focus on doing the greatest job, an Oscar may be on the horizon. But what does hard work and support from others mean? Digging behind these words suggests several specific activities:

  • Put in your time: Nobody can be the greatest without spending time learning their craft.
  • Put yourself in harm’s way: Stretch yourself in new ways – and prove you are up to the challenge.
  • Rehearse your presentations: If your message is important enough to give, then it’s important enough to deliver well.
  • Get feedback from your clients: Consider engaging a skilled consultant to collect feedback in client interviews.
  • Tape yourself: Record your presentations, then review the tapes and videos in detail. If you are humble enough, review them with a trusted advisor.
  • Focus beyond the spoken word: Tear apart your old written reports and marketing materials, and look for ways you could have improved them.
  • Find a coach: No matter how great you are, surely there is something that you can do better? A coach, in a certain sense, can play the role of a “living mirror”, providing feedback and instruction beyond what you can see for yourself.
  • Engage with a mentor: While playing a similar role to a coach, mentors provide a different, often more senior perspective.
  • Give back: If you are approaching greatness, you have an obligation to give back to your professional community, workplace, and to everyone else who helped you find your success. Not only does this make the system work, but by teaching what you know, your knowledge deepens even further.
  • Be grateful: The thank you speech is almost as important as the award itself. The speech does recognize all who helped make the Oscar winner great, but more importantly, what is said and how it is said is a reflection of the winner’s character.

This week’s action item: Of all of the items on the list above, how many are you doing? Pick one or two that are new to you, and schedule them in. While you won’t win an Oscar, you can still deliver an Oscar performance.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Performance Prep

by Randall Craig on June 17, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Planning

Tagged as: , ,

A pilot does a pre-flight check. Musicians tune their instruments. Radio announcers do a sound check. But what type of prep do you do before your performance?

Your performance can be anything from going to work every day, to going to an interview, to an important sales call, to delivering a status report on a project. Each of these activities (and others) are different, but there are underlying elements that are common to all:

  • Set objectives: Before your performance, make sure that you understand the reasons for it in the first place. If you are giving a presentation, is it to inform, convince, rationalize, motivate, or to entertain? If you set specific objectives beforehand, it’s more likely you’ll achieve them.
  • Do your homework: Make sure that you know your subject matter perfectly. This means spending time – and not just the day before.
  • Set expectations: No one likes a surprise, so let everyone know what to expect. This can be done with a formal agenda, a heads-up in the hallway, or a quick email beforehand.
  • Watch the clock: Respect others’ time by showing up when you say you will, and not overstaying your welcome.
  • Look the part: Why not make sure that your first impression is the right one? First, choose the impression you would like to create (professional, friendly, powerful, helpful, etc), and then choose clothing that reflects it.
  • Focus: Unless the reason for your meeting is broad and general, laser in on your purpose; otherwise you may find yourself out of time – and a reputation for not getting to the point.
  • Practice: if the meeting is that important, why not run through your notes with a colleague, do a mock interview, or maybe even record yourself beforehand?

This week’s action item: Performances don’t just happen at work. Our most important performances are often with our friends and family. While you don’t have to do ALL of the preparation every time, try at least one new item before your performance – on the job or off.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)


Promise Keepers

by Randall Craig April 29, 2008

You probably thought a cover letter showcased your fit for a job. You’re right – it does this. You probably thought your resume was something that would qualify you (or not) for an interview. You’re right – it does this. And you probably thought an interview was something that you did to prove that you […]

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Career Renovations

by Randall Craig March 18, 2008

As many homeowners know, every few years you look at your home, and decide that one room or another needs a renovation. You go through the work, perhaps re-painting, perhaps purchasing new furniture, or perhaps doing something a bit more radical. When the renovation is complete, you know that it will provide years of satisfaction. […]

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Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

by Randall Craig February 28, 2006

Most people dread the thought of their annual performance review. We imagine the worst: our managers will dredge up examples of our poor performance, then set impossibly high goals for us for the coming year. Of course, it doesn’t have to happen that way – and in fact, we can use this focused time to […]

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