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How do you “get good” at your job?

As a HON sales member, I get my share of windshield time and take advantage of it by listening to some good audible books.

I recently finished Cal Newport’s latest book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work you Love.

The book starts off with the premise that “follow your passion” is not necessarily enough to create long term work you love.

Here’s what I learned in order to develop a fulfilling, meaningful career and be “so good you can’t be ignored”:

  1. Build and master rare and valuable skills.
  2. Deliberately practice your craft.
    • Stretch yourself every day to achieve beyond what you’ve previously accomplished.  As a viola player in my youth, that meant practicing the same musical scale until it became muscle memory.  The diligence it took to get to this point was often strenuous and not necessarily enjoyable.  However, this deliberate practice was necessary to master advanced music playing.  Think of Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, “WAX ON, WAX OFF”.
  3. Apply deliberate practice and a craftsman mindset as knowledge workers.
    1. You don’t get to call yourself a craftsman without putting in time and focus.  Newport references the 10,000 hour rule, the concept that until you put 10,000 hours (or roughly 5 years) into developing a skill, you have not yet mastered the skill.

I apply these lessons in my career.  Deliberate practice and a craftsman mindset are essential to becoming so good you can’t be ignored.  If you’re in field sales like me, you may find this difficult to implement.  After all, you don’t get to repeat the same sales call every day, as every conversation is a new opportunity.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek incremental improvement. Here is what deliberate practice can look like in sales:

  • What am I going to do on this sales call that helps me improve compared to my last sales call?
  • How am I going to communicate the information more effectively to get the response I want?
  • This time, I’m only going to focus on ‘X’.

Consistently finding ways to improve the day-to-day tasks adds up and will eventually differentiate you from your competitors.  Whether you’re in sales or practicing a different craft, what are some ways you implement deliberate practice in your field?


What does your dream workplace look like?  Here are a few of my favorites from our Pinterest site.

How are you NOT inspired by this? Leo Burnett, Singapore office.

The Googleplex. What neat little spaces to hold meetings!

What a fun and inspiring place to work! Pons & Huot in Paris, France.

HOK London, picnic green. Would love to come here on a lunch break! This one comes from, article on “World’s Coolest Offices.”

Nothing like a 3-story slide to help you lighten up in the middle of the day! Woo-hoo!

On the sales floor at HON, I have been dubbed by a few of our members as “the fabric lady.”  I love fabrics as an opportunity to brand your space and enhance the overall aesthetics of a room.  In this blog post, I have included some of my favorite fabrics, divided up into a few helpful categories:

1. Touch and Feel

Winner: Brisa (grade M5)

This Brisa fabric is so buttery feeling.  Made of polyurethane, this fabric beats any vinyl for style and feel.  You will NOT be disappointed!

Brisa Fabric Choices

2. Versatility

Winners: Centurion (grade III ) and Messenger (grade M2)

Centurion and Messenger are great go-to fabrics because they are solids.  Sometimes, you don’t have to look into or spend time focusing on the design of the fabric – instead, finding your favorite hue in a solid color can be all it takes to get the look.  Centurion offers a great selection at grade III, and Messenger really opens up the range with a rainbow variety of solid colors.

Centurion Fabric Choices

Messenger Fabric Choices

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Basic office needs often start with desks and chairs, but there are other ways to improve your office space right away without having to go through a total renovation.  Desks, chairs, and workstations require much more thought and investment and deserve their own blog post for a later time.

Instead, I’ll focus on some lesser thought of but equally important spaces when it comes to increasing productivity, improving overall image, and enhancing retention and recruitment of employees. 

Here are 5 ways to have an immediate impact on your office space, organized by office area:

1. Storage.  Necessary, but not necessarily evil.  Improve your productivity with the right storage solution.  Some options include:

Selections for both filers (space for filing) or pilers (for those who pile their things), and personal storage needs.

On a micro level, a colorful drawer organizer.


Or some cube storage for active work projects.  Enticing colors include Citron, Pool, Autumn, Flame, and Sisal.

How about a mobile credenza with an upholstered seat?  This storage acts double duty, allowing for impromptu seating while storing your work.  Mobile, too, for those who like to keep moving.

From our Voi line.

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