Running Head Right
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All successful people go MAD. They go
and make a difference
Ensure that the contribution you make every day at
work makes a difference to the people that count
(your customers, your colleagues, your boss, etc.).
When you are the same as everyone else
nobody will notice you and the probability of
you being chosen will be based on random
Given the premise that every human being is
unique it should not be too difficult to make
a difference. But even so, many struggle to
differentiate themselves from others. Should
there be six short-list candidates you cannot
afford to be the same as the other five you will need some dif-
ferentiating experiences, achievements and characteristics that
set you apart from the ‘run-of-the-mill’ crowd of applicants.
In everything you say or do there is an opportunity to differenti-
ate and develop your own unique approach. This effectively
becomes your USP (unique selling point). For example, you can
make a difference through your
uniqueexperiencein a specific industry
uniqueabilityto motivate team members
uniquetrackrecord for getting results.
qu e st i on
In what way
am I making
a difference
in my current
job (or
The challenge throughout your career is to develop a distinctive
track record that sets you apart from those in the crowded cen-
tres of convention. You will need to develop and know the key
factors that distinguish you and which enhance your prospects
of selection when the crucial moment of truth arises.
In preparing to make a difference you should ask yourself these
essential questions: ‘In what way am I making a difference in my
current job (or studies)?’ ‘In what way did I make a difference in
my previous jobs?
Patricia Halaguena, a senior flight attendant with Philippine
Airlines, says, ‘Even when I’m busy I make time to talk to cus-
tomers, knowing that this makes them feel important’. She is so
different from flight attendants on many other airlines who
simply go through the motions, following their routines to the
letter of the rule book. Making a difference is about going
beyond the routine and the immediate task in hand.
Here are further examples
you have a unique ability of winning over customers who have been
youhavea unique abilityforaddressingand resolving majorquality
youhaveuniqueexperience of putting stressedclientsattheirease
youhaveauniquetalent for installing complexsoftware
youhaveauniqueway of getting things done quickly
theexceptionallyhigh quality of your workisunique
youareunique in the way you sizeupaproblemquickly and identify
When you are the same as everyone else few people will remem-
ber you. You become memorable by the characteristics and
contribution by which you differentiate yourself.
Given that we live in a world where many are notoriously unreli-
able, for example failing to deliver on promises, some successful
people simply make a difference by being 100 per cent reliable.
They deliver what they say they are going to deliver. They never let
anyone down. They become completely trustworthy in a society
where many cannot be trusted to convert fine words into action.
The key thing about going MAD (going to
Make ADifference) is
that little things can make a big difference. In the world of com-
merce customers tend to take the big things for granted but
often judge you by the little things.
A few years ago I went through a divorce. I needed a lawyer to
help me. In the UK it is accepted legal practice that you can have
an initial non-chargeable half-hour meeting with a lawyer
before committing to engage him or her. So I decided to meet six
different lawyers before choosing one to represent my interests.
Two of the lawyers were immediately eliminated from my list
because no one answered the phone when I called to make an
appointment. Little things make a big difference. Of the remain-
ing four lawyers one kept looking at his watch during our
half-hour meeting. A second did all the talking without taking
any interest in my individual circumstances. A third demanded
my ID and proof of address before I was allowed to enter his
office. The fourth, who I engaged, sat me down, offered me
refreshments and listened intently to what I had to say.
Little things make a big difference. If you are a lawyer reading
this I recommend that you go MAD and offer your client a cup of
tea! (Only one out of four did in my case.)
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