Are You Doing What It Takes To Become Indespensable?

8 07 2013

indesBe a change agent.  Differentiate or die.  Change for the sake of change.  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard those phrases or similar lines.  One thing is certain – change is inevitable.  Our world is changing faster than the speed of light and if we don’t change along with it, we will be obsolete in our professional lives.

Regardless of what field you are in, you are being affected by technology in some way.  For the most part, companies are becoming leaner, more efficient, and learning to thrive with less people.  Gone are the folks close to retirement who took the buy out.  Ousted are the individuals resistant to change.  Few are the people still around that are clinging to the way things were done in the past and wondering how much longer the unacceptable will be acceptable.

Trust me, my intent is not to bum you out.  These are exciting times we live in and we have so many ways at our fingertips in which to ensure that we flourish and our futures are bountiful.  But we have to work harder on our special powers…that secret sauce that positions us leaps and bounds ahead of our colleagues.  We have to learn to be rain makers regardless of the position we hold, leaders no matter what title we have and artists regardless of the type of work we do.  And if that weren’t enough, we must consistently over achieve and raise the bar of expectation placed on us.

How do we go about doing that?  There are hundreds of ways and my formula will be different from yours and yours will be different from someone else’s.  No two ways will be identical.

Here are seven simple “habits” that I have adopted:

1.  Arrive early and stay late.  This shows you are dedicated to your job or you don’t have a life.  I actually do have a life, but have a lengthy commute to and from the office.  I have little patience for traffic and choose to miss it both coming and going.  I also LOVE the early mornings before my colleagues show up. That sacred “me time” where I am able to get things off my list that will create the clearest path for the remainder of my day.

2.  Make the company more money.  There are 2 ways to be successful with this one.  Figure out ways to increase revenues or save the company money.  If you can do both, all the better!

3.  Demonstrate leadership.  It doesn’t matter what title you have within a company, you can step up and be a leader.  Take charge, assume ownership, lead by example.  Oh, and take on the responsibilities no one else wants to do.

4.  Be fully present.  Only take a sick day or a personal day when you absolutely need to do so.  Rest assured, there is always someone keeping track of your attendance.

5.  Self-Education.  If you’re not regularly reading about industry, trends in trade, business publications, podcasts, articles on leadership, self-improvement or studying the habits of established successful people, you’re compromising your career growth.  Staying current, and being able to apply your learned knowledge demonstrates your understanding and place within the industry.

6.   Prioritize.  Many people have paralysis by analysis…you know, the to do list that never gets shorter.  It is so easy to add things to your to-do list, but just as critical to know what to take off.  Good decision making, delegating and prioritization are the signs of an effective leader, regardless of your title and stature within an organization.

7.  Say no to drama.  Don’t get caught up in the office politics.  I must admit that the entertainment value of showing up some days at work is priceless.  But at the end of the day, it takes your eye off of the ball.  If someone starts gossiping to you, take the high road.  Don’t give them the stage to interrupt your important work.  Simply excuse yourself by explaining you have an important project to finish.  This allows you to avoid the gossip without being rude to the gossiper.

Making yourself indispensable is something everyone can do regardless of your position or lot in life.  Our workplace no longer accepts the status quo.   It requires constant growth and change.  Being adaptable, and growing and learning as your company changes and evolves.  If you aren’t growing you are becoming obsolete.

At the end of the day, you are doing one of two things:  You are either working to make yourself indispensable or you’re working to make yourself obsolete.

The choice is entirely yours.

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