Get the Fundamentals Right

Sheila Murphy

As Michael Jordan said, "Get the fundamentals right and the level of everything you will do will rise." And I want you to be like Mike and nail the fundamentals.


Conquering and raising the level of your fundamentals is critical to success. Mastering fundamentals can make quantum leaps in your business and career development.

An extreme hidden power comes from making the right choices, performing tasks exceptionally well, and creating habits in our careers. With the fundamentals, tiny gains can add up to something very significant.

And three of the fundamentals you should focus on are your professional profile, your network, and understanding and playing the rules of the legal game. And yes, I have discussed them before and will again. Why? Because they are the fundamentals you must master and they are essential.

So, take a moment to inventory where you are today and what you need to do to improve your game.

Professional Profile

Your professional profile is how the outside world views your skills and behaviors. It is why they hire and promote you.

You first need to understand what you want your professional profile to be. The profile must be something that either your ideal clients or companies want to hire or promote. It also needs to be authentic to you.

Second, you need to know what your professional profile is today. Not what you think or hope it is, but what it is today? If there is a disconnect between the reputation that you believe you are projecting and the actual one, you will not succeed in your objectives. If there is a match, you are on the right track. However, I would recommend taking a moment to make sure that there is no way to make your profile even more irresistible.

Third, you need to assess your brand channels to ensure that they are promoting this brand effectively. Your brand channels include your career documents, social media, where you speak and write, and the stories you tell. If the brand channels are not serving you well, you may need to mix it up or amplify how you are promoting yourself.


You need a network that helps you achieve your objectives - whether it is climbing the corporate ladder or building a big book of business.

Without the right people and strong relationships, you will not meet your objectives.

It would be best to examine the people in your network to make sure that they are capable of helping you and have the level of relationship where they would want to. By the way, having the most robust network in the world will not help you unless you have that complete professional profile. For people to help you, they need to know and believe that you are beyond capable of accomplishing what they recommend you for.

If you lack a broad enough network, you should also evaluate where and how you network. Does where you network have people you would like in your network. And if the answer is yes, and still you are not building relationships, you need to assess how you are networking and what, if anything, you should be doing differently.

Rules of the Game

To be successful, you need to understand and play by the rules of the game you are playing. Whether you are trying to get promoted internally or externally or building that book of business, you need to understand what is required and how to do it. And I hate to tell you that no one may have told you the rules, and the rules may be unofficial and you still need to know them.

Mentors, evolved managers, coaches, and personal boards of directors can be beneficial in letting you know how to get to the next level. And then, you need to develop a plan to play by those rules.

Generally speaking, the rules of the game for an in-house promotion focus more on exceptional leadership skills and not legal skills. So you need to understand how others perceive your leadership. If you have not focused on these skills, you may need to learn and shine a light on your leadership skills.

To build a book of business, the rules of the game include how to sell yourself and your firm. You need to understand and execute selling techniques and master RFPs and pitches. And most of all, become comfortable in the ask.

In building a book of business, you also need to appreciate your firm's cross-selling compensation approach and culture. Cross-selling may allow you to create a business plan to diversify your revenue streams.

Suppose a lack of knowledge or execution on this fundamental holds you back. Then you should develop a plan to understand the rules - which may change a bit depending on your specialty, industry, and level. And then you need to execute. If you don't change what you are doing, nothing will change.

Remember, fundamentals matter and have to be done correctly. As Michael said: "You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way."

Let's shoot the right way and start scoring some points.


Want to convert your network contacts into clients?

Click here to download my 6 Secrets To Converting Contacts Into Clients. This unique guide is for every aspiring rainmaker who longs for greater control over her career, compensation & courage but can't figure out how to convert her NETWORK into a bigger NET WORTH.

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