Show your Work

When you were a kid in school, your math teacher made you show your work, and he insisted that any answer without the accompanying steps to arrive at that answer was wrong. It wasn’t enough to know the right answer. You had to prove you knew how to get to the right answer.

It is important that we apply the “show your work” principle in our daily work. If you produce a number in your work, you had better be able to demonstrate how you arrived at the number. If at some point it is determined that the number is wrong, the record of the steps you took to arrive at the number will lend credibility to your work by showing that you had a methodology. In another instance, someone might initially believe your number is wrong, but then later be convinced that it is correct after following your methodology and well-documented steps.

Show your work. This always helps to ensure you’ve thought of everything and allows you to show the steps you took to get to your answer (and find any errors before it reaches the client).

When the contacts in your dream client company ask you hypothetical questions about how you generate some result or deal with some challenging issue, they aren’t checking to see if you know the right answer. They want you to show your work. You have to share the steps you took–and will take–to address those challenges, and you have to explain why you deal with problems and challenges the way that you do, how you came up with that answer.

Summing-up: It’s worth thinking about the stories you tell that allow you to show your work. That’s what helps generate trust and provide the vision. It’s also worth thinking what proof you provide that will give your dream client confidence that you know how you intend to produce the results you promise.

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