Six Powerful Ways to Stand Out at Work

20130205-185858.jpg

by Jeff Haden

Great employees spend the majority of their time helping other people succeed: Their company, their employees, their customers and vendors and suppliers… the list goes on and on.

Great employees also spend some time helping themselves succeed, both for “selfish” reasons and because their success creates success for others.

To succeed you must stand out from the crowd. Here are six ways:

1. Be first with a purpose.

Lots of employees, managers, and business owners are the first to arrive each day. That’s great, but what do you do with that time? Organize your thoughts? Get a jump on your email?

Instead of taking care of your stuff, do something visibly worthwhile for the company. Take care of unresolved problems from the day before. Set things up so it’s easier for employees to hit the ground running when they come in. Chip away at an ongoing project others ignore.

Don’t just be the one who turns on or off the lights – be the one who gets in early or stays late in order to get things done. Not only will your performance stand out, you’ll also start to…

2. Be known for something specific.

Meeting standards, however lofty those standards may be, won’t help you stand out.

So go above the norm. Be the leader known for turning around struggling employees. Be the owner who makes a few deliveries a week to personally check in with customers. Be the manager who consistently promotes from within. Be known as the employee who responds quicker, acts faster, or always follows up.

Pick a worthwhile mission, then excel at that mission. People will notice.

3. Create your own side project.

Excelling at an assigned project is expected. Excelling at a side project helps you stand out.

For example, years ago I decided to create a Web-based employee handbook my then-employer could put on the company Intranet. I worked on it at home on my own time. Some managers liked it but the HR manager didn’t so it died an inglorious death.

I was disappointed, but the company wasn’t “out” anything, and soon after I was selected for a high visibility company-wide process improvement team because my little project made me “that guy.”

The same applies for a business owner. Experiment on a new process or service with a particular customer in mind. The customer will appreciate how you tried, without being asked, to better meet their needs, and your business will become “that business.”

4. Put your muscle where your mouth is.

Lots of people take verbal stands. Few take a stand and put effort behind their opinions.

Say you think a project has gone off the rails; instead of just pointing out its flaws so you can show everyone how smart you are, jump in and help fix it.

Everyone talks about problems. The people who help fix them stand out.

5. Show a little of your personal side.

Personal interests help other people to identify and remember you. That’s a huge advantage for a new employee or a company competing in a crowded market.

Just make sure your personal interests don’t overshadow professional accomplishments. Being “the guy who does triathlons” is fine, but being “the guy who is always training and traveling to triathlons so we can never reach him when we need him” is not.

Let people know a little about you; a few personal details add color and depth to your professional image.

6. Work harder than everyone else.

Nothing – nothing – is a substitute for hard work. Look around: How many people are working as hard as they can?

Very few.

The best way to stand out is to out-work everyone else. It’s also the easiest way, because you’ll be the only one trying.

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130205133852-20017018-six-powerful-ways-to-stand-out-at-work?_mSplash=1

Great Leaders Transform and Get Results

20130205-061030.jpg

by John Bossong

The great athletes mentally vision (picture) their success. They see the shot, throw, catch and putt before it happens. What about you? Do you see (picture) your leadership success?

Do you believe it? Do you see yourself as a leader? If you can’t, do you think others will?

Conform or Transform

It’s easy to conform. It’s easy to picture (see yourself) just like everyone else. Leading the same way, expecting the same results. Getting on board the hierarchy train.

Conforming doesn’t take any initiative. Just blend in. Do what’s always been done. Don’t cause a rukus. No one’s feelings are hurt. Nobody gets upset. The needle stays at status quo.

If nothing changes, nothing changes. Conform.

Transformation takes seeing things differently. Leaders that transform start things. They take initiative. The “see” themselves as a leader. Making a difference.

Transformation doesn’t care about sacred cows in the organization. Leaders that transform envision a new and better future. A better way, whatever “better” is. They can see it and imagine it. They are willing to try it and improve it.

Transformation connects people. Transformation creates tribes. Transformation reaches out to communities of people with similar interests and passions.

Conforming sticks with the masses. It waits. It’s safe. It’s predictable.

Read the rest of the post here: http://johnbossong.com/2013/02/03/great-leaders-transform-and-get-results/

Moving the Needle

You’ve seen it at ball games and on TV shows. The noise meter. Someone’s trying to get the crowd going to cheer on the home team or to select a contestant. So the noise meter is rolled out. The louder and more enthusiast the crowd gets, the more the needle moves towards the “frenzy” side of the meter. It’s fun. It’s loud. It’s designed to motivate the team to do more, score another run, to get everyone on the same page.

I think this concept is missing in many (most) companies. No, I’m not advocating screaming employees whipped up into a chaotic volume riot. I’m talking about enthusiasm about a shared vision and goals.

A lot of strategic planning can be, well, boring for most employees. Mostly because they are never told the “why” behind the decisions. The senior executives make a plan, may or may not communicate the plan to everyone, and then the staff is left to figure out what is happening and what they should be doing to execute the plan.

How different would it be if the senior executives spent intentional time in finding ways to really get the staff behind their vision? I’m not talking about shallow meetings meant to gin up the employees. I’m talking about meetings where the staff is given an honest assessment of where the company is and where it can go. A meeting where the vision will not be realized without the innovation, creativity, energy, hard work of the staff. But it doesn’t stop there.

As a manager, you have the responsibility to keep the vision alive in your staff. It is your job to keep momentum rolling. How?

* Keep the goals in front of your staff all the time. Keep their eyes on the target.
* Share the numbers. There is a story behind the numbers and make sure your team knows that story and how they can and will impact them in a positive way.
* Stretch them. Don’t be afraid to look into the future and challenge your team to do more than they may (at the time) believe they can achieve.
* Encourage them all along the way. Praise in public. Counsel in private.

Personal note: about 15 months ago, I collaborated with a colleague where we put a plan in place to capture more lending opportunities coming in via our website. We started up an eServices division in my department with 2 carefully chosen team players. We trained them and asked them to not only to do the work, but to analyze their work to help us continually find ways to improve this delivery channel. Their manager and I committed ourselves to encourage their progress along the way. The results?

* Loans outstanding (what is on our books) grew from just over $2 million to $12.6 (ending August).
* We’ve grown $6.9 million just since January.
* We are seeing around $1.4 million/month in loan production.
* Our loan quality is outstanding. Our loan servicing department reports that we rarely have any unresolved issues.

The other day, I challenged this team to stretch to a new goal – $1 million/month for EACH of them. I believe they can do it! I told them I believe they could do it. Guess what? They also believe they can do it. We talked about what it would take to get there. I committed to them what I would do to help get them there. They committed to me that they would do what they needed to do to get there. We don’t know when this will happen, but there WILL be a day when they each hit that $1 million mark in 1 month. It will be the happy dance day!

Enthusiasm fueling a clear vision that is clearly defined makes work fun, exciting, a bit scary, and meaningful. As a manager, you can keep moving that needle as you help keep your team focused and enthused about growing and developing and achieving.

Move that needle!