The world appears to be divided into two camps—the ones who have it all and the ones who don’t seem to get any. The former seem to ride the wave—salary hikes, promotions, appreciation and awards all fall unhindered into their laps. The latter don’t seem to get any—the unfairness of the system is a real killjoy. In every workplace, definite patterns emerge about employees. But there is a singular pattern that defines successful go-getters—they add value to the enterprise.
It is important for employees to advertise their value proposition. The focus is to align your abilities to the needs of your organisation. Given the wide range of options available to employees today—work from home, flexi time, reliance on technology, mobility—organisations need a worker who can move ahead of the learning curve. Gone are the days of the assembly line staff who does what is assigned and leaves as soon as the clock strikes the heralded hour. A blend of proactive participation, networking and smart management is a sure recipe for success.
There are a few universal tactics that can be employed to get ahead of the competition.
Making a difference
Look for opportunities within the organisation and present yourself as the right candidate. A mundane activity of helping others is a learning opportunity. Successful employees start off by delivering a helping hand to others. Dennis A Muilenburg started as an intern and rose up the ranks to become the CEO of Boeing. He defines himself as hyper-competitive and a universal helper. The hallmark of a go-getter is they make effective decisions that impact the enterprise positively.
Think like an entrepreneur
Think like the queen bee and work like the worker bee. Think like the owner and work for the collective good of the enterprise. A worker just follows guidelines and gets paid for deliverables. But with an entrepreneurial mindset, failure is not an option and work becomes an extension of life. A sense of ownership and looking out for opportunities help employees deliver their best and the organisations repose their trust in them.
Look at the fringes
Disruptors are new-age prophets. Companies like Airbnb, Uber, Amazon, Google are successful disruptors. Similarly, an employee should look for hidden opportunities that can be tapped for future greatness.
Use your downtime effectively
Workplaces are not always busy and employees do have downtime that can be put to good use. This is a key factor that differentiates successful employees from less successful ones. Go-getters use leisure time effectively to learn skills, clean-up workstations, and even engage in low priority work to augment their skill-sets. Asking for work and responsibilities alerts bosses about potential talents that can be used for future projects.
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Constant learning is key to success
Change is the only constant and employees who adapt and scale up efficiently succeed. The challenge is to learn about opportunities and implications that are lurking behind the cloud. Employees who wish to move ahead should take advantage of learning opportunities presented by organisations through training, internships and delegation. Big companies like Toyota make sure employees are constantly trained. This has helped them create unique differentiators.
Network, network, network
It is important to develop positive relationships at workplace. Employees should feel passionate about their jobs. Successful people do not create silos, but interact with every rung within the organisation. A positive relationship with everyone from the janitor to the higher management helps understand the business.
Own your mistakes
Employees who own their mistakes and stand up for their work are considered mature and trustworthy. Nobody is perfect and mistakes are the stepping stones for success. Employers do not encourage “hidden fixers” who feel that they can fix problems in isolation. Confident people discuss mistakes and gather collective wisdom to prevent simple issues from turning into full-blown threats. Extraordinary individuals focus on highlighting their work and help the spotlight shine on their talents. The adage “ask it, shall be given” works well at workplace.
Stay away from negatives
Keep away from idle gossip, backstabbing collectives, rumour-mongering and negative relationships. These are impediments that can hinder career growth. Workplace etiquettes and culture should be sacrosanct.
Talent is not the end-all for getting ahead at work. A right mix of personality, team spirit, hard work, confidence and passion is necessary to ride the wave of success.
The author, Uma Srinivasan is president, Search & Selection, Randstad India, the HR consulting firm and services provider