Let’s talk about that career of yours. Do you ever find yourself taking your job for granted? Figure that just ‘showing up’ will keep you employed? Believe you’re indispensable? Fact is, no one is (I earn my crust rebranding hundreds of folk who thought they were), however, there are things we can do that will go a long way to being so. Being a critical part of the team may not guarantee you job security when downturns occur, however, being a substantial contributor to your employer’s vision can certainly contribute to ‘future proofing’ yourself. Here are my top tips for doing exactly that. Your welcome!

 

First up, a reality check…

First up, it helps to do a quick pulse check – ensuring your career and development are consistent with those of the company. Do their values align with yours? Do you have a sense of what’s essential to the company? Understand their goals? How your skills and experience might align with those goals? This is a great way to identify any projects the company’s working on where you might add the most value. Pulse check done and ready to give it all you’ve got? Read on!

 

Think like a champ athlete…

Elite athletes continuously work at fine-tuning their capability to compete at the highest level, channelling valuable lessons on how to become exceptional at their job. Not just the physical attributes that come with their territory, we’re talking the tactical – making every effort to be a great teammate, communicating well, knowing how to work hard, being able to multitask, exercising discipline – skills that come with an athletic mindset. Now that you’ve aligned yourself with the company’s goals add these vital elements into the mix.

 

Give yourself a personal review…

Don’t wait for your annual performance and feedback review, do your own. Taking the time to do this will help you ensure you’re on track with your personal goals and expectations and those of the company. Secured a great outcome from something you did recently? Jot it down! Keep track of those accomplishments as well as any training, feedback, projects, and where possible, add in the metrics (and be sure to add these into your resume too).

Make a note to review your progress regularly, set new goals, and look at what you’ll need regarding skills and support to get to your next milestone. Such self-checks can help you ensure you’re keeping on track with your own career development and shore up areas that may need improvement. Quantify to reinforce your readiness for when next you’re up for a promotion. This way you can confidently justify why you think you should be promoted.

 

Speaking of metrics…

Right, you’ve been recording your achievements including the quantifiable outcomes and now, as you set your new goals, consider the metrics that are going to matter and include them as part of your next goal plan. Whether it’s bumping up sales, improving efficiency, reducing costs by a certain margin, be sure to look for decisive measures to which you can contribute. Companies value employees who are focused on finding ways to raise the performance bar, and as you now know, proof of your capacity to actively add to the company’s bottom line can go a long way during those wage rise reviews.

 

Take ownership…

Ownership is essential to being invaluable. Whether it’s a project assignment or even a simple spreadsheet think about what it means for the company and what its goals are. I was once a learning and development manager in retail (a role often considered dispensible) and, after identifying that a third of the real estate was devoted to product that had the least turnover, wrote and delivered a program that taught staff to drive the associated sales counters as if they personally owned them. The bottom line outcomes were significant and cemented the value of training. Taking full responsibility and applying strategic thinking to your work sends the message that you are immediately supporting your boss and team in a new and valuable way. Take ownership for and treat your work as if you own the company and are acting in its best interest.

 

Speak up…

Being afraid to show that we are imperfect or don’t know something can get in the way of our performance. Don’t be scared to communicate with your boss and team. Ask questions to ensure that you fully understand assignment instructions, essential to ensure you’re performing in the best possible way for your company.

And while we’re speaking up, why not vocalise to your boss that you are open to learning. Ask for opportunities to collaborate with other teams, be vocal about your ideas, and if you see training that will improve your skills in a specific area, make a case for it.

 

Make the boss look great…

People value those who help them do their jobs better. My boss prefers to focus on the metrics. That’s his schtick. The value I bring comes from coaching him on my understanding of social media marketing and how it applies to the company, our candidates and our individual personal brands. This in turn helps him appear knowledgable (in a field that really doesn’t interest him) in the eyes of his peers. Thus I coach upwards on my subject matter expertise (and make him look great) just as he coaches me on the big picture measures.

Get inside the head of that person you’re working for, or alongside, and figure out exactly what they’re trying to achieve, the context, and ask ‘How can I help you achieve that goal?’ Once you know where you fit in and the metrics you should be focusing on, you can rank your efforts on those tasks and initiatives. Good luck! Oh