Doing a Good Job: It’s the Little Things


I am a big fan of quotes. I think there is almost always a perfect quote for any occasion. Often the perfect quote at the perfect time can really inspire and challenge me. For example, yesterday I was feeling down and a little whiny. I tried to focus on the positive, but I wasn’t doing too well. I decided to go to bed early (extra rest ALWAYS helps me!). And then this morning, I remembered a great quote that I had heard at a lecture on resilience among Holocaust survivors. Victor Frankl, Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, is credited with this quote: “Between stimulus and response lies a space. In that space lie our freedom and power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” So I decided right then and there to stop the pity party and move on. That quote really helped me!

My husband Eric shared a quote with me recently that I can’t seem to get off my mind. So I finally decided to spend a little more time reflecting on what I might be able to learn from it and how I might be able to inspire others by sharing it. The quote is from Kyle Richter, CEO of a software company called MartianCraft,  and it was shared during his presentation at the 360iDev Conference in Denver this past August.

“There’s a big difference between being good at your job and being good at doing your job.”

I think this principle is true regardless of the field of work. Every field of work has a primary task or set of tasks that takes up most of the time and focus. But there are also a myriad of other responsibilities inherent in any job. You can be the absolute best at that primary task, but if you neglect the others, your overall performance (and sometimes the entire company) suffers.

For example, if you’re a residential painter, obviously your primary job is to paint the interior and exterior of houses. Excellence in the skill of painting itself is crucial. However, there are so many other skills and responsibilities involved in being successful as a residential painter. You need to be able to get clients, schedule jobs, choose and purchase the appropriate equipment and painting supplies, estimate the amount of supplies are needed for a project, communicate well with clients, meet deadlines, keep track of financial information, and so on. So if you’re a top notch painter (“good at your job”) but are lousy at some or all of the other responsibilities (NOT “good at doing your job”), you won’t be successful.

If you work in a company alongside others, this adds even more elements. You need to be a team player, communicate well with co-workers, take direction from a superior well, work together well with peers, keep the company’s goals in mind, etc. All of these qualities are important.

I am convinced that some of those responsibilities that might not seem as important are critical to keeping customers happy. You may not enjoy them, but your success depends upon doing them well. Happy customers are long-term customers. Happy customers talk to their family and friends and generate more customers.

One particular facet of “being good at doing your job” that I consider particularly important is good communication with clients. When Eric and I are looking for someone to help us with a home repair or improvement, we usually call 2 or 3 different companies. We might have stellar recommendations from Company A and are leaning toward using their services. However, if Company B calls us back quickly, gives us a clear idea of what kind of service and prices to expect, and is eager to get the job but Company A waits a week to call us back, we will go with Company B every time. When a company prioritizes customer service, we are much more likely to choose them. And this means not only do we choose Company B, but we also refer our family and friends, give a positive review on social media, and will likely hire them again in the future.

You may wonder what this has to do with organizing. There is far more to being organized than just having all of your stuff arranged well. Organization on the job involves keeping up with your calendar, prioritizing your To Do lists, making time for customer follow-up, keeping accurate records. In short, all of those extras involve organizing. And those “extras” can make or break your business. I assure you that time spent organizing will reap great dividends.





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