Researching Your Targets


Remember as a child asking your parents about the necessity of doing homework?  I think the answer I received was, ‘do it or else…’   I’m sure others received answers like the one I give to my kids, “It will help you learn to do more challenging and fun things as you get older.”  The thing they fail to realize is that the act of doing it is more important than what they’re doing.

I try to relay the lesson to my kids and others – if you’re going to do something, do it right the first time. A lesson I learned in several shapes and forms from mentors growing up.  No sense having to do something over and over again just because you were trying to get out of doing it (something all parents laughingly recognize in kids of all ages).

Doing your homework isn’t just about school though. The act of doing your homework applies to everyday life – from mowing your new lawn the first time (going out and looking for sticks and stones to remove before ruining your blade), to preparing for that important meeting, to applying to work at a company you’ve been dying to get into for however long.  Homework or research is critical to your success.  Just as important is the amount of clear effort and diligence you put into your homework. Sure anyone can search a company on the internet, surf the page, and know that it looks pretty.  But what did you learn about the organization, what key events have occurred in their industry in the last 12 months, what’s their financial stability from the stock holders reports, what have you noted in their “about us” pages?

There are plenty of avenues and directions you can go in preparing yourself for the best chance in earning an interview, an appointment,    nailing a presentation for your bosses key clients, etc.  Rehearsal is one component, but an old sales role model of mine taught me a great lesson when I was at the early end of my career: identify what you know, and identify what you don’t know going into any situation.  It can help provide clarity and direction and prepare you to anticipate questions, follow-up items, and more.  The more you’ve prepared, the more confident you’ll be and ultimately better result you’ll likely have.

Homework isn’t the end all be all, but teach yourself (and your kids) to do it right the first time and you’ll save yourself many a sleepless night in anticipation of your next “big day.”

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