Wednesday, October 31, 2012

You're the First, the Last, My Everything

How do you become indispensable in a world of disposable employees?  Well, that's hard to do and it may not be your desire.  You may be looking for another job even as you're reading this.  Perhaps you've just been "dialing it in" for the past two years and you're ready for a change.  Well, okay, but how about thinking differently for the next role?

What if you could be seen as a font of information?  What if you took your position so seriously that those around you saw you as the expert?  What if your boss viewed you as a critical, healthy member of the staff?  It's possible for this to be the case and for it to be genuine.

In the past, some of you may have experienced a job where you were too much the "everything."  No one would make a move without checking with you, and then once the move was made, they would come back to you to see if it was done correctly.  You really were the first, the last...the everything.  The thought of taking PTO would almost not be an option because your cell phone would ring all day anyway.  That is not the healthiest position to be in.  There is a better way.

Becoming the expert in your responsibilities is your job.  You've got to take a view of your position that it is yours.  The onus is on you.  Take that job and make it yours through your diligent effort to know all that you need to and how to implement it effectively.  You should be performing at the highest level.

And what you should also consider is equipping others to be ready to do the same.  Teach those under you to make confident decisions and to be ready with the knowledge needed for success.  Create an atmosphere of excellence.  The perspective is not do this so that you will be seen as the office suck-up; move beyond the politics and status quo of your organization.  Understand that you've been hired to bring this kind of excellence.  Just because there may be some who do not subscribe to this point of view, do not allow that to thwart your power and drive.

By allowing your department to function at a higher level of achievement, you will be seen not as the only point of information, but as a leader of information.  Those in your department will share the burden of being excellent, which is much easier to handle with many hands!

And for those of you who really are standing with one foot out the door, perhaps approaching your work this way will change your disposition.  That doesn't mean that you won't move on to another opportunity, but rather, that you will approach it as someone with a strong work ethic and high desire for excellence.  Wouldn't it be fantastic if your current employer could recommend you to another role because of the leader you are?  What if the recommendation from your superior read like this: "You're my sun, my moon, my guiding star, my kind of wonderful, that's what you are."  Um, well, maybe not quite like this, but you get the idea.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rumour Has It

You know the walk into work in the morning and there is a small group of employees chatting in the breakroom.  As you walk in for your coffee, an obvious hush falls over the room.  Finally, one of the previously quiet co-workers asks you if you've heard.  Heard?  Heard what?  As you reveal your ignorance, another co-worker proceeds to fill you in.  About five minutes into the trauma being shared, you have an epiphany...why didn't I stop at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee?

Morale in the workplace is so tenuous.  It's a fragile figurine from Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie."  Walking into situations like the one described above takes thoughtfulness to respond.  Think about how you've reacted in the past.  Do you participate in the conversation?  Typically, this is the easiest reaction.  I mean, who wants to be the party-killer?  The problem with this reaction is two-fold.  One, you can't seriously think that this same group of people won't kill your reputation the minute there's reason to do it, do you?  When blood is in the water, the sharks look for it all over the place.  What might be said about some other employee today could be easily replaced by what would be said about you tomorrow.  And secondly, it contributes to mediocrity in the workplace.  Why push yourself to be the best if you just open yourself up to criticism?  Who wants to be the subject of a group of employees' rumor-fest? The "did you hear's?" will occur if someone performs well or is recognized for being special in some way.

I don't want to be completely negative.  I am sure there are some workplaces where the gossip and rumor-mill does not exist.  I am sure that some companies have total engagement of employees who are on-task the entire time while at work.  However, the amount of companies that fall into this category would be the same if I were to count the number of men and women in the current music industry who can actually's a small number.

Stop participating.  You have to work in this environment.  Why would you stand for the stress of keeping up appearances?  Is this high school?  Aren't we done with those days?  I mean, I still love my Swatch watches (and I still have both of them), but I don't engage with others as I did then.  I don't want to watch my back or to be worried that excellence is something to be mocked.

Be excellent!  Be loyal to the workplace and to your co-workers!  If the disease of rumor and gossip is present, address it.  Don't let it slide.  Remind those involved that it's just as easy for any employee, including them, to be the topic tomorrow.  You're there to be productive, not destructive.  Take a stand!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hello, Is it Me You're Looking For?

The latest statistics show a decrease in unemployment numbers.  Regardless of which way your political bread is buttered, the economy is beginning to open up and that means growth.  For many companies, they struggle with how to implement healthy growth strategies.  Humareso desires to help these companies have a plan.

Adding positions within a company may be a part of the growth strategy.  Sourcing and recruiting for these candidates should be more than just posting an ad online and hoping for a great candidate.  The amount of resumes in response can be overwhelming, and what occurs more and more is a weak resume review.  

So, what can you do?  How can you do more to stand out?  How can you be prepared to be what a company wants?

Well, I wouldn't recommend sending a singing telegram or having your mom call on your behalf.  I would have your knowledge and skills ready.  Start with these:

  • Adaptability: Are you flexible?  Can you multi-task?
  • Problem-Solving: How do you handle problems?  What reasoning skills do you use?
  • Leadership: Who has followed you (what type)?  What style do you use?
  • Work Ethic: How have you demonstrated that you are self-motivated?
  • Passion: Do you have the ability to generate enthusiasm around you?
  • Willingness to Learn: Do you handle change well?

These are only a handful of skills to review in creating a resume and in preparation for an interview.  There are many more skills that should come up, but for all of them, be ready with examples to back up what you affirm.  An employer wants to understand who you are and how you will benefit the company.

So, it really could be you that an employer is looking for.  Get motivated to put that best foot forward.  If it means playing Lionel Richie to motivate you, then do it...just be sure your windows and blinds are closed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Get Into the Groove

What would it mean for you to fire on all cylinders each day?  Have you ever experienced that?  I have and it's a complete rush!  I often wonder why it doesn't happen more often for us.

Usually, there are external factors that distract us from the work at hand.  Annoying managers, complaining customers, broken processes or sub-par technology vie for first place as to why we can't get our jobs done or at least done smoothly.  We tend to work thoroughly with a desire to succeed (statistics back up that fact), but we do usually fall apart in one area.  Power.

We give power to so much outside of us.  Those factors that I mentioned above may not ever change.  Those managers will always be annoying (to a degree), customers will complain, processes will be a work in progress and technology is ever-changing.  Those things, however, do not represent you or what you do.  Too often we settle for those reasons and excuses.  For example, why does technology deserve power in your work process?  If it's not working, then figure out another way to be exceptional for a client.  

When I got my first job, I was thrilled.  I was a dishwasher at Friendly's Restaurants.  It's funny because I loathe emptying the dishwasher at home...I wonder if it's connected.  Anyway, I remember my boss often telling me, "Make it work," whenever there was an issue with the Hobart machine or the rude servers who tossed (literally) dishes at me.  While his lack of compassion is not recommended, I do appreciate his message.

We have to make it work more than we do.  Innovation is born out of problem solving.  Be a problem solver and improve processes.  Figure out how to reduce customer complaints.  What would need to be improved upon?  What experience is the customer having and how could it be better?  If the technology is not working, then grab a pen.  Think about the goals of your position and of the company.

Shake off your old way of thinking and embrace a new mode.  Change the record that's been playing and get into the groove of engagement and enthusiasm.