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How to Leverage Your Accomplishments - The DNA of Success

The problem for many people in their career is that they can sometimes come up with a dream job, have the correct mindset and skill set for it and then go to the right person hiring for that position, but then be told, “No.”

How come? What’s missing?

DNA – Credibility and Leverage

In two words, credibility and leverage. Credibility is not what you can do; it’s what you have already done that consistently produced a + measurable result that met the expectations of the person you did it for. And when what you have done consistently produced a + measurable result that greatly exceeded their expectations, that is what we call excellence. Meeting expectations produces credibility; excellence produces leverage. Credibility and leverage are your DNA when it comes to career advancement.

When you can focus in on what is your core of excellence and come from there when you are being interviewed for a position, it is the place where you have the most competence, most confidence and least need to b.s. others. People are interested in competence, but what really impresses them is competence based confidence. That is because whoever is looking to fill a position is coming from a position of doubt. Their company has a need and it is up to that interviewer to fill it. Hire the right person and it’s a gold star; hire the wrong one and it is five black marks.

Therefore, a competent candidate that not only engenders trust, but who is excellent and inspires confidence, is going to be just what that worried interviewer is looking for. Competence gives you credibility; Excellence gives you leverage.

RNA – Who’s Who and Who’s For You

Now comes the next step. Think of the people for whom you have consistently achieved excellent results presently and in the past (don’t make it beyond two years). Unless they were blowing smoke, there is a good chance that not only were they impressed with you; they were also grateful to you for what you accomplished for them.

Contact them and say, “I would like to buy an hour of your time.”

In all likelihood they will say, “What’s this about?”

Respond, “I don’t take your time lightly and I want to buy an hour of it to sit down and pick your brain about me. Unless I’m mistaken, you have been pleased with my performance. I don’t know exactly what it is I do, because I’ve always been just focused on getting work done for you. I would like to sit down with you to figure out what to call my capability and then brainstorm with you as to what part of this company or some other company or some other industry might be the best place for it. And I want to pay you for your time.”

More than likely, they’ll respond, “You don’t have to pay me, let’s just meet, grab a coffee or a meal to discuss it.”

Protein – Your realistic dream job

When you sit down with these people, an interesting thing is likely to happen. As you and they go through the story of the work you got done for them and what it meant to their success, they are going to re-experience or maybe experience for the first time the gratitude they felt towards you. Gratitude usually crosses over to generosity as the thankful individual seeks to express their appreciation.

That will often lead to their telling you, “You know I think the place that could really benefit from your special talent is such and such,” but it’s not unusual for them to go a step further and say, “Hey let me make a call for you.”

That’s what you call a warm introduction. And why does this lead to a “realistic” dream job? Because it consists of you doing what you are excellent at for someone who is likely to need and greatly appreciate your special ability.

From Protein to DNA – Increasing your leverage

It used to be thought that the Central Dogma ends when RNA --> Protein, but research has shown that Protein can provide feedback to a living organism that can then affect what its DNA will produce in the future.

So every time you get something done, your Protein, it becomes something you can add to your “what have you already done/DNA” column which you can then take back to the new people you are getting things done for, who can then brainstorm with you about the best use of your evolving talents and then on and on.

Noble Cause – From dream job to making a difference

This may not apply to you until you are in your fifties. It certainly applies to me. As you get older and are using your special talents and abilities, getting results may become less important if they don’t serve a sense of significance or produce something that is meaningful to you.

When that happens, many people begin to wonder if they have made a difference in the world, if they have left it better than they found it, if their life served a higher purpose.

As you start to discover what that might be, and you meet with people to help advise you as to the best use of your talents, you might find them wanting to help you with your noble cause. When that happens, you not only get their help; you gain their respect and admiration. And that is one of the most satisfying experiences you can have.

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the author of "Just Listen" Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (AMACOM, 2010), Tribune syndicated career advice columnist, keynote speaker and executive coach. "The DNA of Success" was inspired by ideas from Tribal Leadership (Harper Business, 2008).


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