Let’s Touch Base Offline

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By: Terence Hu, Class of 2020

As Booth students re-enter the workforce this summer, I have taken it upon myself to reacquaint my classmates with commonplace business jargon. I hope this will help you all become more effective communicators in the workplace.

Before you sharpen your pencils and start cranking on your value-added analysis, make sure to take a step back and look at things from a 10-thousand-foot view. There may be a lot of moving parts, so you could try to take a top-down perspective, or even start from the bottom-up, but don’t get lost in the weeds. Furthermore, don’t spin your wheels and definitely don’t re-invent the wheel. Try to take the 80/20 approach and focus on the core competencies.

Attention to detail is paramount. So, make sure you flesh out your numbers and go through your analysis with a fine-tooth comb. And then scrub the numbers and perform a quick sanity check. Obviously, don’t stay up all night but we need to get the deliverables out the door ASAP. No one is asking you to boil the ocean; however, while you’re at it, why not throw together a quick SWOT analysis?

When you take the lead on a project, it’s important to have ownership over your work. We want to be chasing a hockey stick growth trajectory by using a scalable, customer-centric, razor-razorblade business model. Be sure to leverage best-practices and build trust so you can get buy-in from your team. Remember to address customer pain points, otherwise it’s going to be death by a thousand cuts.

Before you sign off on deliverables, make sure we’re not drinking our own Kool-Aid. So, let's stress-test our assumptions, even if it’s just a back-of-the-envelope analysis. You want to have a best-in-class team that can produce robust organic growth. Empower and uncover synergies. It’s good to pursue out-of-the-box thinking, but keep it apples to apples. Only then, should you open the kimono.

For all-hands-on-deck conference calls, take notes on the follow-up items, because you may need to touch base offline or circle up to catch up. Try to get on the same page re: the game plan. Sometimes you may have to do a deep-dive on the pipeline. You want to be laser-focused on moving the needle, but start with the low-hanging fruit first. At the end of the day, it is what it is.

Lastly, don’t forget to lean in.