How to build your reliability reputation.

By Kathleen E.R. Murphy

You probably don’t think much about it, but one of the pillars of a business is reliability. The concept of reliability comes in a variety of flavors, but the one I am going to focus on is the aspect of human reliability. Without reliability as an embraced concept in an organization by all members, the fundamentals of running the business simply will not  thrive.

I witnessed on a recent flight to Australia how the concept of reliability plays such a critical role. Since I had a sixteen hour flight, I had plenty of time to think about this concept, and to see it in action as the amazing Qantas flight crew worked in harmony together and relied upon each other to do their jobs. If you think about all of the elements associated with what it takes to get a large commercial plane off the ground, and the incredible amount of details which need to be executed to make this possible, this is a wonderful demonstration of reliability.

When people are doing their jobs well, and most jobs are reliant upon others to some degree, amazing things can happen. However, when people lose sight of how if they are not reliable in the work they are performing, it can have consequences they may not have thought about, and which will negatively impact others. This may seem incredibly basic from a common sense perspective, but more often than you think, you or your colleagues can lose sight of this concept.

So, how do you stay focused on being reliable, and what does this mean if you are considered to be a reliable team member? Staying focused is easier than you think, especially if you care about how the work you are performing and do well is going to help you and others in the future. One way to stay focused is to break up your work into segments of time, ideally no more than 45 minutes, as most people start to lose their ability to focus well past this point. Not all jobs will allow you to pause and take a short break, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to do this, your work outcome will be a higher quality, and you will have renewed energy for resuming the work. Your colleagues will also be impressed with the outcome of your work, and you will begin to build up your reputation for producing quality work, and more importantly be considered reliable.

A second way to remain focused on your work is to segment the type of work you are doing. An example of this is to think about doing email at the beginning, middle and end of the day versus constantly checking email all day long. If you have the type of work which requires you to be in meetings, plan your meetings when possible towards the beginning of the day, so you can leave yourself the remainder of the afternoon to accomplish the work assignments you are responsible for. A third way to approach remaining focused is to save the work you enjoy most for the end of the day. This way, you will have the work to look forward to, and you will have the energy to complete the work later in the day because it is the type of work you like to do, and this will give you a renewed sense of energy. Another trick to remaining focused on your work is to take mini walks around where you work, and to consider these walks as small rewards for accomplishing the task you were working on.

Being considered reliable is something you earn as a designation from your colleagues. When you earn the reputation of being reliable, and demonstrate to others you are this way, your entire team or the company you work for will benefit from this and amazing things begin to happen. Think about a time when you had to rely upon someone and they did not follow through. What did that feel like? Not desirable right, and it made you think twice about being able to rely upon that person the next time you needed to do so. Keep this concept of reliability in mind the next time you are tasked with the responsibility for doing anything related to your job. It helps to keep you focused on a much more positive outcome, and your colleagues will enjoy working with you more than you might imagine.

This blog is dedicated to Elfi at Qantas Airlines. Thanks for your inspiration.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

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