Awesome little post by Mike Wagner over at “Own Your Brand“:

“What position did you play?” seemed like an innocent enough question coming from my six-year-old grandson. Basketball is on his mind, as it is everyone’s this time of year.

The conventional answer, “I played center.” says so little. I’d rather tell him what I accomplished for the team – it means more.

My high school coach, in his “John Wooden-like” wisdom gave me an outcome to achieve. My position of “center” was just for the program.

We were a very short team competing against much taller teams. My assigned contribution was to get the opposing team’s center to foul out – Period. “How” was up to me.

Some of my opponents were temperamental and easy to frustrate into fouling me. Others were so confident they couldn’t wait to stuff the ball down my 5-foot, 11-inch frame every time I tried a shot – they were easy targets as well.

My position was “center” but my contribution was “strategic foul generation”.

In the business world, the word “title” is exchanged for “position”. People want to know what others do for a living – many reply with their title. But a title says so little!

In your career, it’s better to focus on the outcomes you bring to the team…

  • Contribution is more important than title – Titles mean a lot in the pecking order found in any organization or business community. However, in terms of ultimate brand impact, titles are about as substantial as cotton candy. Focus on your contribution regardless of title.
  • You get “playing time” by contributing to wins – Titles come and go. When tough economic times require a hard look at “head count” how do you think decisions will be made – “We can’t let Jim go. We have to have an Assistant VP of Marketing!”? Not likely. To solidify your place on “the team” link your day-to-day outcomes to the brand’s success.
  • You own the “how” of what you contribute – Own your outcomes. Don’t wait for someone to show you how – it may never happen. Find a way to deliver what the organization needs. Be creative. Be determined. People who know and own their contribution are what every team needs.
  • Titles do not create great brands. It’s great performances produced by people who contribute like “owners” regardless of what it says on their business cards.

    I have nothing to add. Perfect.

    photo by christopher wray-mccann