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50 Ways to Become



More Professionally Excellent
May 19, 2015 || @UChicagoAlumni Webinar || #ProfessionalExcellence
@LeslieBradshaw is the Managing Partner @madebymany and AB ’04 PBK @UChicago
Professional Excellence newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/lesliebradshaw
Radical Collaboration newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/sync
Why Professional Excellence Matters
Improve Your EQ: 1 - 5
Drive Results: 6 - 10
Master Your Craft: 11 - 15
Mentor / Sponsor / Role Model: 16 - 19
Pay it Forward: 20 - 23
Self Reliance: 24 - 27
Do the Right Thing: 28 - 36
Radical Collaboration: 37 - 41
Miscellaneous: 42 - 50
Closing Thoughts
table

of

contents
why
professional

excellence

matters
The further along you get in your career,

the more your reputation and your output matter
more than your resume. So why not be known for
being excellent and delivering excellence?
improve your EQ
1.
Resource: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/education/edlife/how-to-be-emotionally-intelligent.html by Daniel Coleman
Have self-awareness, which requires
realistic self-confidence and emotional insight.
2.
Employ self-management, which requires
resilience, emotional balance, and self-motivation.
3.
Have empathy, which requires
cognitive and emotional empathy + good listening.
4.
Embody good relationship skills, which requires
compelling communication and team playing.



Make people feel relaxed when working with you; 

one sign is that they laugh easily around you.
5.
6.
make every [ ]

results-driving
Resource: http://tinyletter.com/LeslieBradshaw/letters/professional-excellence-your-first-mission-should-you-decide-to-accept-it
meeting
email
conversation
event attendance
interruption
State the goal of the encounter; 

get buy-in, write it out.



Return to the goal at the end,

ensure it was reached.
7.
Don’t bring your phone. Be present.
8.
Take impeccable notes.



Consider using pen and paper.
9.
Return to your notes;

reflect on and organize them.


Take and assign actions from them.
10.
11.
master your craft
Resource: https://medium.com/thelist/a-survival-guide-for-the-millennial-entrepreneur-ddd42a90119f
Be the best at something.
Cultivate the natural talents

for which you are also passionate

(because not everything you’re

good at doing do you want to do).
12.
Craft mastery requires a high level of

discipline, commitment, and focus.



And you cannot attain or sustain it

by cutting corners.
13.
Continuously seek the resources

you need to learn more, be better,

and advance.
14.
“First, make yourself a reputation for being a
creative genius.



Second, surround yourself with partners who
are better than you are.



Third, leave them to go get on with it.”
—David Ogilvy
15.
16.
have at least one good:

-mentor

-sponsor

-role model
Find a mentor:
Someone in or around your field

with at least one decade more experience than you.

Usually external to your core job.
Make your meetings actionable, with homework!
Offer up a “reverse mentor” relationship.
17.
Sponsor:
- Employed at your core job

- Is at least two notches above you on the org chart

- Takes an active, deliberate role in 

advancing you + your career
18.
Role model:
If there was a poster for professional rock stars,

you would hang this person’s on your wall.

You look up to their achievements, the life they

lead, the character they have, and want

to emulate them in your own life.
(e.g., Sheryl Sandberg, Warren Buffet, etc.)
19.
create a virtuous cycle of
paying it forward
20.
Bonus move:
- Be someone’s mentor
- Be someone’s sponsor
and if you are lucky enough…
- Be someone’s role model
21.
"We make a living by what we get,

but we make a life by what we give."

—Winston Churchill
22.
You master the art of the ask by leading
first with the act of the give.



Before you ask for something, you have
to start by giving. A lot. 



But do so in small, manageable, and
genuine batches.
23.
24.
stop relying on others to
remind or prod you
“The era of procrastination, 

of half-measures, of soothing and baffling
expedients, of delays is coming to its close.

In its place we are entering

a period of consequences.”

—Winston Churchill
25.
Plan the work, work the plan.
26.
For Pete’s sake, take notes!
27.
"The time is always right
to do right."
28.
—Olivia Pope quoting MLK, Jr.
Scandal
Season 4, Episode 19
Ruthlessly seek truth and

relentlessly ask for honest feedback.
29.
Ruthlessly speak truth and

relentlessly give honest feedback.
30.
Learn to deliver a sincere apology.

And say it when it’s warranted.
31.
Treat everyone you encounter with dignity,
respect, and kindness.
32.
Forgive.
33.
Take the time to thank people, guide
people, help people.
34.
Remember:

Your character is what you do

when no one is watching.
35.
Make and execute the hard and right
decisions to drive the business forward.
36.
the future belongs to
those who partner best
37.
Resource: http://tinyletter.com/sync
“Stop, collaborate, and listen.”
—Vanilla Ice
38.
Put down the keyboard, pick up the phone. 



Shift from digital to physical.
39.
Politic around the ‘hood

like you are running for mayor.
—50 Cent

(paraphrased from his line in Jimmy Crack Corn)
40.
Be dependable.
41.
9 more ways…
Your personal brand needs investment:
define it, refine it, reboot it, expand it.
42.
Use your words to improve others;

strengthen them, encourage them, comfort them.

1 Corinthians 14
(summarized)
43.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you
reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

—Robert Louis Stevenson
44.
"It is not the strongest of the
species that survives, nor the most
intelligent that survives.



It is the one that is most adaptable
to change."

—Charles Darwin
45.
Remove the emotion,

include the business case.
46.
"My challenge to you is simply this: Observe
your environment. At work. At home. At
school. And if you don’t see any diversity,
work to change it."

—Mellody Hobson
47.
Follow through.
48.
Believe in things, entities, and ideals higher
than yourself and monetary gain.
49.
Mind your manners!
"Manners are a sensitive awareness of the
feelings of others. If you have that
awareness, you have good manners, no
matter what fork you use."

—Emily Post
50.
closing thoughts
In sum: good manners, decisiveness, reliability, mastery.
Webinar to learn, lifetime to master.
Let’s keep the list going—get at me on Twitter (@lesliebradshaw)!
Check out these two awesome newsletters for ongoing inspiration…
Get Radical Collaboration’spiration

sent directly to your inbox

every two weeks


Subscribe here!
http://tinyletter.com/Sync
Get Professional Excellence’spiration

sent directly to your inbox

every month(ish)


Subscribe here!
http://tinyletter.com/lesliebradshaw

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50 Ways to Become More Professionally Excellent

  • 1. 50 Ways to Become
 
 More Professionally Excellent May 19, 2015 || @UChicagoAlumni Webinar || #ProfessionalExcellence @LeslieBradshaw is the Managing Partner @madebymany and AB ’04 PBK @UChicago Professional Excellence newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/lesliebradshaw Radical Collaboration newsletter: http://tinyletter.com/sync
  • 2. Why Professional Excellence Matters Improve Your EQ: 1 - 5 Drive Results: 6 - 10 Master Your Craft: 11 - 15 Mentor / Sponsor / Role Model: 16 - 19 Pay it Forward: 20 - 23 Self Reliance: 24 - 27 Do the Right Thing: 28 - 36 Radical Collaboration: 37 - 41 Miscellaneous: 42 - 50 Closing Thoughts table
 of
 contents
  • 3. why professional
 excellence
 matters The further along you get in your career,
 the more your reputation and your output matter more than your resume. So why not be known for being excellent and delivering excellence?
  • 4. improve your EQ 1. Resource: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/education/edlife/how-to-be-emotionally-intelligent.html by Daniel Coleman
  • 5. Have self-awareness, which requires realistic self-confidence and emotional insight. 2.
  • 6. Employ self-management, which requires resilience, emotional balance, and self-motivation. 3.
  • 7. Have empathy, which requires cognitive and emotional empathy + good listening. 4.
  • 8. Embody good relationship skills, which requires compelling communication and team playing.
 
 Make people feel relaxed when working with you; 
 one sign is that they laugh easily around you. 5.
  • 9. 6. make every [ ]
 results-driving Resource: http://tinyletter.com/LeslieBradshaw/letters/professional-excellence-your-first-mission-should-you-decide-to-accept-it meeting email conversation event attendance interruption
  • 10. State the goal of the encounter; 
 get buy-in, write it out.
 
 Return to the goal at the end,
 ensure it was reached. 7.
  • 11. Don’t bring your phone. Be present. 8.
  • 12. Take impeccable notes.
 
 Consider using pen and paper. 9.
  • 13. Return to your notes;
 reflect on and organize them. 
 Take and assign actions from them. 10.
  • 14. 11. master your craft Resource: https://medium.com/thelist/a-survival-guide-for-the-millennial-entrepreneur-ddd42a90119f
  • 15. Be the best at something. Cultivate the natural talents
 for which you are also passionate
 (because not everything you’re
 good at doing do you want to do). 12.
  • 16. Craft mastery requires a high level of
 discipline, commitment, and focus.
 
 And you cannot attain or sustain it
 by cutting corners. 13.
  • 17. Continuously seek the resources
 you need to learn more, be better,
 and advance. 14.
  • 18. “First, make yourself a reputation for being a creative genius.
 
 Second, surround yourself with partners who are better than you are.
 
 Third, leave them to go get on with it.” —David Ogilvy 15.
  • 19. 16. have at least one good:
 -mentor
 -sponsor
 -role model
  • 20. Find a mentor: Someone in or around your field
 with at least one decade more experience than you.
 Usually external to your core job. Make your meetings actionable, with homework! Offer up a “reverse mentor” relationship. 17.
  • 21. Sponsor: - Employed at your core job
 - Is at least two notches above you on the org chart
 - Takes an active, deliberate role in 
 advancing you + your career 18.
  • 22. Role model: If there was a poster for professional rock stars,
 you would hang this person’s on your wall.
 You look up to their achievements, the life they
 lead, the character they have, and want
 to emulate them in your own life. (e.g., Sheryl Sandberg, Warren Buffet, etc.) 19.
  • 23. create a virtuous cycle of paying it forward 20.
  • 24. Bonus move: - Be someone’s mentor - Be someone’s sponsor and if you are lucky enough… - Be someone’s role model 21.
  • 25. "We make a living by what we get,
 but we make a life by what we give."
 —Winston Churchill 22.
  • 26. You master the art of the ask by leading first with the act of the give.
 
 Before you ask for something, you have to start by giving. A lot. 
 
 But do so in small, manageable, and genuine batches. 23.
  • 27. 24. stop relying on others to remind or prod you
  • 28. “The era of procrastination, 
 of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays is coming to its close.
 In its place we are entering
 a period of consequences.”
 —Winston Churchill 25.
  • 29. Plan the work, work the plan. 26.
  • 30. For Pete’s sake, take notes! 27.
  • 31. "The time is always right to do right." 28. —Olivia Pope quoting MLK, Jr. Scandal Season 4, Episode 19
  • 32. Ruthlessly seek truth and
 relentlessly ask for honest feedback. 29.
  • 33. Ruthlessly speak truth and
 relentlessly give honest feedback. 30.
  • 34. Learn to deliver a sincere apology.
 And say it when it’s warranted. 31.
  • 35. Treat everyone you encounter with dignity, respect, and kindness. 32.
  • 37. Take the time to thank people, guide people, help people. 34.
  • 38. Remember:
 Your character is what you do
 when no one is watching. 35.
  • 39. Make and execute the hard and right decisions to drive the business forward. 36.
  • 40. the future belongs to those who partner best 37. Resource: http://tinyletter.com/sync
  • 41. “Stop, collaborate, and listen.” —Vanilla Ice 38.
  • 42. Put down the keyboard, pick up the phone. 
 
 Shift from digital to physical. 39.
  • 43. Politic around the ‘hood
 like you are running for mayor. —50 Cent
 (paraphrased from his line in Jimmy Crack Corn) 40.
  • 46. Your personal brand needs investment: define it, refine it, reboot it, expand it. 42.
  • 47. Use your words to improve others;
 strengthen them, encourage them, comfort them.
 1 Corinthians 14 (summarized) 43.
  • 48. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
 —Robert Louis Stevenson 44.
  • 49. "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.
 
 It is the one that is most adaptable to change."
 —Charles Darwin 45.
  • 50. Remove the emotion,
 include the business case. 46.
  • 51. "My challenge to you is simply this: Observe your environment. At work. At home. At school. And if you don’t see any diversity, work to change it."
 —Mellody Hobson 47.
  • 53. Believe in things, entities, and ideals higher than yourself and monetary gain. 49.
  • 54. Mind your manners! "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."
 —Emily Post 50.
  • 55. closing thoughts In sum: good manners, decisiveness, reliability, mastery. Webinar to learn, lifetime to master. Let’s keep the list going—get at me on Twitter (@lesliebradshaw)! Check out these two awesome newsletters for ongoing inspiration…
  • 56. Get Radical Collaboration’spiration
 sent directly to your inbox
 every two weeks 
 Subscribe here! http://tinyletter.com/Sync
  • 57. Get Professional Excellence’spiration
 sent directly to your inbox
 every month(ish) 
 Subscribe here! http://tinyletter.com/lesliebradshaw