I have my three basic rules for success professionally. These rules keep you relevant, connect you and show respect to others.
1. Answer the Phone – If you are available answer the phone. I don’t believe in taking calls when in a meeting. If you must take a call well in a meeting, ask permission before and outline how long the call will last.
2. Return calls and emails – You don’t need to return solicitation calls of course but other calls and emails should be returned within a few hours. I am working on being more responsive on emails as I historically would only respond when necessary. I am working on being more proactive as people like to see that you are reading their emails and that you are not an email vacuum.
3. Show up – Be where you say you will be, when you say you will be there. If you show up late you are screaming to those waiting for you that “I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU.” I heard a Navy Seal talk about this recently. In their training, on time meant 15 minutes early. Anyone who shows up at the last minute would have the extra not wanted duties. I suppose this is why military people are usually very punctual.
It may seem like these rules for success are just way to basic but it is surprising how many people fail on some or all of these on a regular basis. I know I can improve on these rules myself and have had a few hard lessons on showing up on time early in my career. If you can deliver on all three of these rules on a regular basis you are 90% there!