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Show Your Work: Why you Should Stop Making it Look Easy

February 1, 2017 by Klue

When you don’t show your work, you’re missing a big opportunity to engage your audience. The effort that goes into what you do—whatever you do—has value. It’s what connects people to your mission long after you’ve solved whatever little process peccadillo they had.

Are you making it look so easy that they’re not really getting the back-breaking, mind-bending, jaw-dropping effort you’re putting into being the best? There’s no room for being coy—no one thinks you’ve got magical woodland creatures doing the work for you. It’s not about #humblebrags, it’s about being proud of the effort you put into delivering a quality product. This is the devil in the details—the painstaking UX, the extra mile, the on-demand customer service.

The value lies in the incremental hows and whys, not in the big finish. The work shows that you understand the problem. It shows that you understand the audience, that you’re committed to the vision and you don’t miss the chance to deliver.

Stop making it look easy. Show your work.

Two things can happen when you don’t show your work:

No one notices. Or they stop noticing. Every contribution, every iteration and every break-through is worthy of at least a nod towards the work. Even when the version is flawed or the bug isn’t completely fixed, there is something of value to talk about. Right? I mean, if there isn’t then why are you wasting everybody’s time? The whole point of being agile is the work-in-progress part—the emphasis on evolution. Progress, not perfection. 

Or.

You become complacent and someone comes gunning for you. Success can be insulating. The small things lose ground to the big wins; the sum becomes more important than its parts. Never assume your customers so devoted that they’re immune to the wiles of the competition. When you stop showing the work, one has to wonder, are you still doing it? You owe your customers the respect of continual hustle and appreciation.

You’re missing an opportunity to stand out.

You know what happens when you show your work? Your customers go all in and that community begins to build something, too. When people get excited about your product, they will tell other people. Buyers listen to the opinions and recommendations of their peers. They often bear the burden of choosing a solution that will impact the productivity of colleagues. They want to look good. They want to make the right decision. When you show your work, you give them confidence.

“You’ve got something that your competition doesn’t have, but the problem is, unless you show your work, unless you prove it, it’s invisible.” – Jay Baer

Smart competitive intelligence offers you a lens on your rivals, so if you’re doing it right, you know where your hard work is paying off. That’s where win-loss interviews, crowd-sourced intel and an integrated CI process can highlight areas of advantage that you may be missing. That’s showing your work, too—knowing what your competition is doing and saying reflects a dedication to doing better.

You are what you do. You are what you deliver, what you share and what you build. You are how you do it, when you do it and why you do it. Show your work.