What You Need To Do To Stand Out From a Crowd

Never be afraid to stand out. It’s better to be remembered for standing out in a crowd than to be forgotten for blending in.

Ash Sweeney

How To Stand Out From The Crowd

In every career, the challenge is in figuring out how to make a noticeable, lasting and meaningful mark.  As humans, we all want to make a difference.  But, making a noticeable mark in a matrixed world is a real challenge.  It is hard to stand out from the crowd when everything worth doing seems to be accomplished through a team structure or collaboration of some sort.  And it is even worse when political drivers subsume credit for your work

When I was managing marketers at P&G, one of the challenges I gave every new member of my team was to create a 30-day plan that defined the meaningful difference they planned to make.  I felt it would not only get them off to a quick start, but it would force them to emotionally commit to building the brand.

In addition, I shared a list of 10 ways they could stand out from the crowd in a positive way.  This list was compiled from advice I received and had served me well throughout my career.

Since the need to succeed is a universal one, I thought you might enjoy reading the list. I adjusted it to be relevant for the economic development profession.  But, the counsel is  applicable in all professions.  Hopefully, one or two in the list might strike you as useful ideas.

10 Things You Can Do To Stand Out From The Crowd

Have a VISION for your Organization

  • What will be your legacy?
  • What will your community stand for in the eyes of residents and business leaders?
  • What are your strategies to deliver the vision?
  • How will you build on your predecessors?
  • Make it happen!

Lead your Organization to deliver “EXCEPTIONAL RESULTS”

  • Produce all time RECORD results – WIN!
  • Turnaround a major community challenge
  • Leave the community in better shape than when you started

Be the expert on your business – know the 4Cs


  • Knowledge is power – data, facts, experience, knowing the history…all will help you drive your objectives
  • Live your community
  • Know your target industries
  • Win vs. your competitors…and your community wins!

Have PASSION – Fight for what you believe in

  • Have a strong p.o.v. on what it really takes to build your community
  • Invite constructive criticism – take on builds – make plans even better
  • Make a few waves – don’t be afraid, even to say NO!
  • Cut the politics – YOU are the voice from the trenches

Have exceptional COLLABORATION skills

  • Influence, influence, influence
  • Proactively use colleagues to improve plans
  • Seek out the experts – listen & learn, create networks
  • Good leaders know when to follow


  • Execution is strategic!
  • Execution is all your residents see- they don’t see your strategy
  • Execution is a critical source of competitive advantage
  • Pay attention to detail / get your hands dirty

Be an Exceptional “COACH”

  • Grow the people you work with – they will want you as their Mentor
  • Make every meeting a coaching meeting, make every day a coaching day
  • Care about other people’s aspirations
  • Replace underperformers on your teams

Keep it SIMPLE!!!

  • Don’t over-intellectualize – does your Mom get it?
  • What’s the 30-second elevator speech?
  • Be the voice of reality – you know when it’s getting out of hand

Create a FUN working Environment

  • People want to work for “Winners” who create a fun working environment
  • Celebrate success
  • Share the praise, don’t take all the credit


  • Don’t be complacent with where you are now in your career. You have so many more challenging experiences ahead of you.  Remember, it is a journey.
  • Go outside your Organization for new ideas/concepts
  • Invest in forming long-term personal alliances/friendships
  • Never stop learning


If you have an interest in self-branding as a strategy for personal success, you might enjoy visiting the SELF BRANDING section of this website.  You will find a number of additional resources and perspectives on the topic.

Also, if you have any tips to share on how to stand out from the crowd (or even the perils of standing out), please share.

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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