Peter Foxhoven is the Director of New Business Development at Advantage Administrators, and also a master in the art of underpromising and overdelivering for his clients. Tied directly to accountability, it’s worth exploring what this concept means and how it can be applied in the cut-throat economy. Foxhoven opens up about his own professional lessons and how he’s worked to get it just right.
The Reality of Doing Business
We’re all used to hyperbole these days. In practically every ad and marketing campaign, some product is promising to solve 15 problems at once. While some businesses are starting to tone down the constant rhetoric, though, the truth is that many brands still feel that they need to push the envelope to get any sort of traction in their market. So whether the brand is selling a toothbrush or professional consulting services, it all ends up sounding like the same spiel.
This can work to your advantage, though, if you know how to leverage it. Because even as companies pledge to do things differently, most end up being about as subpar as the next. It’s leading to a backlash that starts in honesty.
Peter Foxhoven explains that at some point, all professionals trying to get ahead will feel the need to overstate their abilities. They might say that they’re seasoned in a certain software program when they have a rudimentary understanding at best. Or they might claim that they are great with clients, even when they know the tell-tale signs of feeling tongue-tied on a regular basis. Foxhoven says that he understands this urge well, but he encourages people to come clean about what they can and can’t do.
He also cautions against putting too much stock in the success stories of others who have fudged their skills. Yes, some people will be able to jump into a field they know nothing about and manage to swim through it all with aplomb. However, counting on this to occur is more likely to set yourself up for failure.
The good news is that sticking to the facts doesn’t mean losing the gig or the respect of people around you, nor does it forego a chance to sell yourself. For instance, you can still say that you’re a fast learner even if you aren’t familiar with a certain element of a business. Managing someone’s expectations is one of the best ways to forge a long-term relationship.
Peter Foxhoven goes on to mention that underpromising doesn’t mean setting the bar low, so you can aim for just a notch above that. It means being honest about your abilities and then aiming to be better than you did the day before. It’s not only a smart way to get ahead in the professional realm, it’s a smart way to get ahead in life.
The more you exceed your own expectations, the more your confidence will grow. It cannot be stressed enough that this art is not about getting rich fast (even if that can be a byproduct of using the tactic correctly).