Sunday, September 5, 2010

The 'Outside-In' Approach to Stand Out Among Your Peers

Last year, I wrote an article about how one could remain employed even when the economic situation was not doing too good. Trust that this article will be helpful to those who are serving as employees. Here is the article:

It is not about the bad economic climate that you need to learn how to behave positively and work hard. Even though that is a really good motivation, good work attitude in itself will carry you through positively in your career life. Whether you remain as an employee or ultimately run your own business, you will find such attitude helpful. On the other hand, if you only adopt good attitude and work hard because you are afraid to lose your job, then you will soon find this approach to be extremely stressful.

The most important thing about a person is his or her personal work conviction. You work hard and have a very good work attitude because these have been integrated into your very being. This is the real you. When something is expressed from deep within, it is second nature and therefore the stress level is almost zero.

What happens if you don't really have such good work attitude? Well, there is still hope because good work attitude can be inculcated and built from outside in. This means that you can purposefully train yourself to response positively until those responses become subconscious actions.

For that to happen, it has to begin with a 'change of mind' and 'paradigm shift' from within the soul. In the heart of heart, you must decide that you are going for the real thing - a transformation of your total attitude towards work and life. Nothing false will suffice.

How does this 'outside-in' approach work for you? Here are some suggestions that may be helpful for you to really stand out from the common working folks.

1. Determine not to react negatively but response positively to all situations. You may not be able to change the situation but by maintaining your cool and positive mental attitude, you give your mind a chance to become hyper-creative. Creativity is important to solve the problem at hand. By becoming ballistic, you will only make the matter worse. Ask yourself, in a work environment, does the boss prefer someone who can solve the problems creatively or someone who just goes berserk?

2. Go the second mile in your job! Choose to go the second mile and be early in delivering your assignments.  In antiquity, the Romans ruled much of the ancient world. The Roman soldiers were allowed to command ordinary citizens to help them carry their burdens. By law, these citizens were required to help the soldiers for the first mile. Upon reaching the first-mile marker, the soldiers no longer had the legal rights to insist further assistance. The burden bearers could drop their loads and walked away. Jesus was the one who asked his disciples not only to go the first mile but learn how to go the second mile. Imagine how shocked the Roman soldiers felt when the burden bearers offered to help carry their burdens for the next mile.

This type of shock treatment would regularly cause bewilderment. The authority figure will always wonder whether this second-mile subordinate is crazy or really willing to help. Imagine, what your boss would think if you are the only worker who asks for more challenging task whenever you have finished your existing task. When you go beyond the call of duty, won't your boss take note?

Today, businesses have found this second-mile approach to be fantastic good business principle. That is why you see hotels, airlines, car rental services and other service-oriented businesses going the second and even third mile to serve their customers. What is the result of their 'sacrifice'? They build a long list of repeated and loyal customers.

3. Honesty is the best policy. Bosses may lie through their teeth but they expect you not to lie. Telling the truth is most important because no matter how trivial the lie, it will come back one day to haunt you. Telling little lies is very dangerous because it makes you a compulsive liar. When discovered, your boss will never be able to trust what you say or do. For a good working relationship with your colleagues, you have to rout any thought of telling even a simple white lie. Once you have a reputation as a liar, then it will be impossible for anyone around you to take you seriously.

4. Promote your friends and colleagues! Speak highly of those who deserve the recognition. Paying tribute to where tribute is due not only makes you an objective person but also a well-liked person. On the other hand, if you flattered the person with no evidence of his or her genuine contribution to the project, then you are no better than a liar. Even the person whom you flatter will not believe you.

Whenever you complete a project, do take note of all those who have contributed to it. Be sure to mention them in your report. Speak highly of the management too. Try to understand their problems and see things from their point of view. People who are in middle management are the ones who suffer more than most. The reason is because they have to be accountable to the top management and responsible for those who work under their jurisdiction. Choose to honor rather than blame. Choose to bless rather than condemn. Choose to diffuse rather than accuse.

5. Learn to share the burden of your boss. There are tasks that your boss may not like to do himself. Some of those tasks may be very menial but if you show initiatives to help your boss, he or she will definitely appreciate you for your effort. However, ask his or her permission first before launching into the project. Being wise in evaluating what to help, when to help and how to help is vital for your career to progress.

6. Give positive feedbacks to your management. Be the ears of the company and find out what the customers want. Learn about their needs and recommend positive ideas so that the business may create great impact in the marketplace. Most bosses would notice such a worker and will treasure you. If you were to leave and move into another career, your present management will miss you badly.

7. Gather all the information about your industry and make yourself an 'expert'. Use the '30-10 Power' approach to learn and become an 'expert'. Every day, take 30 minutes to read the appropriate information and then 10 minutes interacting with the article or chapter. Do this for 90 days and you will soon realize that your knowledge of the industry will increase in leaps and bounce. You will never fear any retrenchment exercise because no company is willing to let go of their 'experts'. 

When you diligently apply the above suggestions, the chances of your continued employment will be very great. However, in the event that you have to leave your present employment for whatever reasons, this positive approach will carry you through in both good and bad times. Your reputation will precede you and many companies will grab you into their employment at the slightest opportunity.

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