There’s a scene in the HBO classic series Entourage where super-agent Ari Gold has a choice, two of his employees — who happen to be brothers — had a dispute and can no longer work together. It’s readily obvious that one of them must go.

In his signature style, Ari berates them mercilessly then sits down to make a decision on who to fire. He slowly opens two folders, each of them holding statistics on the revenue earned by each employee.

Without hesitation, Ari fires one of them — who happened to be the victim — for one reason: He earned less revenue than his adversary. Given the choice between the two, the company chose the breadwinner.

The workplace isn’t charity work. He who delivers soars. He gets promoted. He gets the raise. He keeps his job. When it comes to getting your dream job, people tell you, “work hard, keep your nose to the grindstone and everything will work out” — which, make no mistake about it, is bullshit. The fallacy here is conflating activity with accomplishment. Working hard and working effectively are separate entities.

Getting the job you want anytime, every time boils down to one simple thing: Overdeliver.

That’s it.

Deliver significantly more value than you are being paid. If you earn $50,000 per year, it’s because your company expects you to deliver far more than that in value. Never assume that because you’re paid $50k per year, you should be doing $50k worth of work. That’s a deadly mistake that will get you fired. And perpetually unhired.

You want a promotion? Don’t beg your boss or try to manipulate his decision-making based on your relationship. Save the sob story about not making enough money to survive. This isn’t kindergarten, now isn’t the time for whining about friendships and hurt feelings. Never appeal to your boss’ human side — only to his self-interest.

Focus on doubling your value to the organization. Double your client base. Double your company’s Q score (a measure of brand awareness). If you’re paid $50,000, book $100,000 in billings. You’ll never apply for another job for the rest of your life because every recruiter in your field will be calling you. You won’t have to glad-hand for a raise or beg for a promotion because your case will be rooted in tangible statistics that outline your quantifiable value.


Call 10 Stretch Prospects

Forget email. A person-to-person conversation is the quickest and most effective way to close a deal. Pinpoint ten huge accounts you [presumably] shouldn’t be able to get. Find their pain point. Cold call the decision maker (which is key, don’t waste your time selling to someone who lacks the authority to write the check). Convince him that he needs your product/service. Close sale. Repeat.

Work Smarter

Stop wasting your time going to industry events and random seminars because you think you may meet someone you could do business with. Execute a plan.

Research the names of the event’s attendees and speakers, then figure out how you can add value for each their organizations. Contact them and arrange to have coffee with each of them after the event.

Resuscitate Relationships

Call five old contacts each week. Don’t sell them anything or beg them to connect you with someone. Instead offer to help connect them with someone or assist them in some way. Be helpful to them. They’ll eventually ask what you’re up to — at that point, tell them but move on. The goal here is to be at the top of mind, so when they bump into someone who could use your services, they recommend you as a solution.

Be Straightforward

Get to the point. No one has time to hear you stammer through a 10-minute soliloquy on why your vacuum is better than the one they already have. People are busy and should know within the first 25 seconds what you’re offering them and have a clear picture of why it’s better than what they already have. Don’t waste their time.

Remember, no one cares what you want. Focus on delivering more than is expected every time and relieve yourself of the notion that anyone cares about your hopes and dreams. Find a pain point and solve it. It’s that simple.

Michael Hardaway Avatar

Michael Hardaway advises high-profile individuals on matters surrounding crisis communications, political affairs and brand development. He is a board member of UNICEF's Next Generation and RFK Young Leaders.