‘Referability’ habits show the kind of person you are, the kind of business that you run, and with how much respect you view your clients and team. Equilibrium’s Gaynor Rigby shares her favourite four.


    New year’s resolutions often seem like a good idea at the time, but as we hit that part of the year when most of us have probably long given up on them, it’s worth bearing in mind that some things should just be part of who you are and what you do.

    I was lucky enough to spend the early years of my career working for The Strategic Coach in Toronto (they hold workshops for business owners that allow them to make more money, take more time off and spend more time doing the things that they love). It was the best learning ground on how to run and grow a business.

    One of the first things that I learned on joining the team were ‘referability’ habits - and whilst seemingly simple they really pack a punch.

    Show up on time

    Blah, blah. Yes we all know this one, but how often do you call to say you’re running late? That you just got caught up and are on your way? Are you always on time for your clients but then late for your team or your family? What level of respect are you showing by keeping people waiting? Whose time are you saying is more valuable? If it drives you nuts when people do it to you, imagine how they feel when you are doing it to them.

    This is my personal nemesis. I’m pretty good with timings outside of the office but horrible with internal meetings. Atrociously, embarrassingly bad! My schedule is too packed. Too many back-to-back meetings, and not enough ‘down’ time for people to have a quick chat with me. However I’m working on it, strategies are in place, and discipline is being exerted.

    Do what you say (you are going to do)

    Are you full of hot air? Do you say things knowing full well that you probably aren’t going to do it? Do you forget what you said you would do? If you want people to take you at your word, trust and believe you, depend on you, then you need to do what you said you were going to do.

    If you said you would get back to someone by the end of the week, then make sure you pick up the phone. If you said you would review someone’s investment and send them a report, then you’d better do it. Told a team member that you’d review a report by the end of the day? Then don’t forget. Whilst your intentions may be completely honourable, don’t let a lack of action erode your integrity.

    Here are some of my top tips to getting things done:

    • Write things down and take good notes.
    • Only say it if you are actually committing to doing it. Paying lip service to someone will only come back and bite you in the butt.
    • Be realistic in your deadlines.
    • Block time in your schedule to get things done, the same way you would block time to meet a client.

    Finish what you start

    This can be really hard. Especially when you get busy, particularly when it gets boring, and even more so when you’ve got an even bigger and better idea. The key to this is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be you that finishes it, you just have to make sure someone does. Rather than shouldering the responsibility from the get go, schedule a meeting with the team who are going to be getting it done.

    Say please and thank you

    This is not just about remembering your manners but showing respect and gratitude. However, you need to be congruous with them – you can’t be nice and pleasant with clients and a tyrant with your team. If the Ps and Qs only come out when you want something people will notice.

    Be gracious and show your appreciation for everyone around you: your team (yes, we know you pay them), the person serving you in a shop, the person on the customer service help desk, the friend that does you a favour, and the client that signed on for your services.

    So, all you need to do is make sure you have good habits around these four basic courtesies and you’ll strengthen your personal and work relationships, and hopefully in the process become more referable.


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