Down the road from my place there’s a takeaway shop called “Mr Pies & Fries.” I’ve never been in there, yet it always grabs my attention. Not because the sign is anything special. It’s because I know exactly what I’m going to get when I do go in there. There’s nothing ambiguous about it. If I want sashimi or a vietnamese salad, I’m outta luck. But if I want pies and fries (and maybe a Coke too), then this is the place.
What I love about this is that they say what they’re all about. Loudly, proudly and clearly.
I reckon Mr Pies & Fries is onto something. When we’re vague or opaque about who we are and what we’re about, we can be overlooked and ignored. We become blurry background.
When we share a bit more about who we are, and what we stand for, we shift clearly into focus. Others can see us for who we are at our best, and so can work with us more predictably. They waste less energy on figuring out what they might be in for, and more energy is put into getting on with what actually matters.
Do the people that matter to you know what drives you? What keeps you up at night? How you like to communicate? Whether you’re a big picture thinker or a ‘detail freak?’ An introvert or extrovert? A lover or a fighter?
When you share a bit of who you are, you define your place in the game, and how you can best play it.
One of the best ways I’ve seen leaders do this is to write and share a ‘guide to working with me.’ It helps their team members and stakeholders understand, with striking clarity, what to expect when they work with them. Here’s that idea explained in a little more detail in a great article on Medium.com
While we’re at it, I reckon this is a great concept for teams, and whole organisations too.
When you draw a line in the sand, and share what people can expect to get, and not get, when they come into ‘your shop’, you’re going to attract the type of people who’ll want to work with you, and you’ll be able to deliver your best, every time.
What are you all about? What are you not about? And how clear and unambiguous is your message?
For more on this idea, check out How To Be Valuable.
Photo: by Digby Scott
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