Two words of advice: Try harder

Many years ago the Avis car rental company’s slogan was “We try harder.” I loved that slogan. The company was acknowledging that it was not as big as market leader Hertz, but that it wanted your business because its staff would try harder to please you (according to an article I read online by AdvertisingAge, the company dropped the phrase four years ago as it updated its image).

I’ve adopted “We try harder” as my personal motto. When someone likes a project I completed for them and thanks me, I share the former Avis slogan with them. And it got me thinking: this might be good career advice for others.

Do you want to succeed in the workplace? Then try harder. So what does that mean?

It means taking the extra time needed to do your research, to track down and interview all the people and sources important to a story and to produce quality writing. It can mean getting to the office early, staying late or even sometimes working on the weekend. It doesn’t mean sacrificing your personal life in favor of your job.

Trying harder means that when you’re at work, you give it your all. You not only try to do great work, you try harder than everyone else to do great work.

Sometimes trying harder involves writing a second or third draft of an article, putting it aside while you grab a cup of coffee and then picking it up again and reading it with fresh eyes to determine if a fourth draft is needed. Sometimes trying harder means tracking down a photo, mugshot or piece of artwork to illustrate your story.

Sometimes trying harder means not settling for mediocre or even good, even when your co-workers do. Sometimes trying harder means having higher standards than your peers and supervisors because, ultimately, the work you produce reflects not on them but on you.

Trying harder has worked for me. The opposite rarely works for anyone.

Trying harder has brought me a solid reputation at work, almost 30 communications honors, three accreditations, two lifetime achievement awards and entrance into the PRSA College of Fellows. Most importantly, it daily brings me the satisfaction knowing I’ve produced quality work of which I can be proud.

So the choice is yours. The next time you are working on a project, will you be satisfied with just okay results or will you try harder?

Share on Social

One response to “Two words of advice: Try harder”

  1. David Kennedy Avatar
    David Kennedy

    Great advice, Unger! It’s way too easy to treat writing like a task and move on to the next item on your list. Too often research and good ole fashioned news hounding are cut out of the equation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *