What Are You Famous For?

Posted 04.11.2013

albert-einsteinThe title of this post was inspired by a conversation with Bill, (not his real name) a friend of mine who works in a well known company. We were talking recently about what he’s learned in a long and successful career that has spanned some of the top organizations in the private and public sectors. Even with all the great experience under his belt, Bill is still open to learning. That’s a big factor in his success.

Another is that he pays attention. In his current company, he’s noticed that career success is all about how quickly you put points you on the board. If you’re a manager in the company, the same thing applies to your team. What really put this front and center for Bill was a conversation he had with a senior executive about the development of one of Bill’s team members. The executive asked Bill, “What is he famous for?”

To clarify, the executive didn’t mean world famous or even nationally famous. What he meant was slightly famous. (More on that in this post.) He was asking what the team member had done to establish himself within the company.

So, what are you famous for? How do you become slightly famous in a way that fosters both self respect and the respect of others? One way is to speak for the work in the right way. Bill shared three other answers to that question with me that I’ll share with you.

Get stuff done: It’s hard to get stuff done in large organizations (or small ones for that matter). The people who are slightly famous for results have learned how to get stuff done. There’s more on how to do that in this post.

Network: The most effective slightly famous people know how to find and work with people who can help them get stuff done. That means that they invest time and effort in building a network. Here are five steps to building a network that can help you get stuff done.

Follow through: When someone shares a lead or a good idea with them, the slightly famous people don’t sit on it, they follow through. Good ideas and leads have an expiration date. You have to act on them before they go stale.

So, what are you famous for in your organization? What about the best people on your team? Which of Bill’s answers do you agree or disagree with? What would you add to the list?