Recipe for Great Work

If you’re at a point in your career where you’re looking to progress to a new role or expand your current role, start evaluating your work by asking yourself “Is the work I am doing, great?” To do great work, it isn’t just about doing what you’ve been asked to in the time that you were asked to do it in. Doing great work takes this a step further and requires a broader and deeper understanding of the task at hand.

To go into this further, let’s start by evaluating the below request:

“Make a couple copies of this”

You’ve probably heard this request coming from your boss or client as they rush to get to their next meeting, or worse, if they awkwardly linger around your desk talking about TPS reports. This type of request is frighteningly typical in the workplace and easy to respond with what I consider good work and just making a couple copies.

For any type of request, from something that seems simple and straightforward to something that’s more complicated and unclear, to try and do great work try to determine the below before moving forward:

  1. Who is the intended audience?
  2. What are the dependencies?
  3. What is the timeframe to complete?


Understanding your audience will shed light on the tone, presentation, and potentially the timing for the request. For example, if the copies requested were for a executive board meeting, then maybe you should opt to print them in color on a thicker stock with a nice binding and make it a priority to get it done in case there needs to be revisions.


To me, learning the dependencies is the hardest task and has the potential to yield the largest return. This will require you to take some time and evaluate the landscape for the request, such as other people, processes, or technology. In the case of the example above, if the copies were for a report composed of hundreds of other reports, then the copies should match the style, tone, and appearance of the other reports and in order to ensure that you may need to engage other people and leverage different technology.


The requested timeframe will allow you to work backward and in doing so, you should take into consideration the audience and any dependencies. So if you are given a week to make those copies, but the audience dictates that revisions will be required and the dependencies suggest that you’ll need to talk to some other people and find a new printer, you may want to start the request sooner rather than later.

Knowing your audience, dependencies, and timeframe will help you elevate your work from good to great and start allowing you to exceed expectations and go above and beyond the request.

Written by Kyle Manfredo, Program Manager and resident jerky maker.
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