Are You Replaceable?

11 10 2013

I sat in a meeting recently with my boss where twice during that meeting he made the statement “Everyone is Replaceable”.  I don’t recall what we were talking about or in what context he made the statement and that part is really irrelevant to the conversation that I’m about to have with each of you.  Replaceable_300x200

In all honesty, I want to be replaceable and we should all strive for that.  Why on earth would we want anything different for ourselves or those we manage?  If we aren’t replaceable, that makes us irreplaceable and what a lonely, stagnant place to be pigeon-holed into.  If you can’t be replaced, how do you get promoted?  You don’t.  Do you find yourself hoarding knowledge, information or skills that you aren’t willing to share with others?  If so, break that habit.  Trying to protect your little island at all costs does not equal job security in the long run.  You will eventually fall victim to automation, a reduction in force, or your employer’s need to replace you with someone who is replaceable.  

What we should work hard to accomplish is becoming indispensable to our organization.  Being indispensable is a mindset coupled with attributes and skills versus the functions of a job title or role.  It is about delivering big time impact no matter where you are.  An indispensable person is one you can hand any type of project, put in nearly any role, give a challenge to and they just go and make things happen.  They understand what needs to get done and adapt on the fly.  They love to learn and even more so, LOVE to teach.  

An indispensable person wears many hats, bringing something powerful, unique or pivotal to their work. They then carry and apply this approach to EVERYTHING they do.  We should ALWAYS strive to be indispensable rather than irreplaceable.  We should coach and train our teams to sail the ship without us.  We should hire talent that are strong in the areas where we are weak…people smarter than we are. 

Yeah, indispensable is the adjective we want used to describe us.  By being indispensable, we can be assured of one thing:  Few businesses can thrive for the long term without us.

Choose wisely between the two camps, my friends. 

 





A Full Plate Doesn’t = A Stomach Ache

8 09 2013

FullPlate_final_wtag-02-1-295x300
I honestly wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “You have way too much on your plate”.  If I did have a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I no doubt would be able to buy that Rolex watch I don’t need. 

I would agree that if a person were burning the candles at both ends, missing deadlines, not responding to emails, or phone calls, making costly mistakes or decisions and just sucking hind tit in their position, that yes, you have way too much on your plate and it would probably be a good idea to divest, digest or do a little portion control.  If that means speaking up to your boss or supervisor before you implode or explode, then please do.

However, some people are just good at being a “professional” over-eater.  If that individual is able to manage all the things on their plate, hit deadlines, exceed budgets, ask for seconds, and know when to ask for thirds, then don’t make it your business to worry about what is on said plate, especially if their (digestive) track record is a winning one. 

Your view of their plate could be a deceptive one so don’t be judgmental.  Also, evaluate why you actually feel you can make this statement.  Does it boil down to how you are interacting with this person?  If your idea of communicating is a “drop by” meeting or “shit on demand” (I need this yesterday) type of interaction, don’t be surprised if the red carpet isn’t rolled out for you.  They honestly aren’t sitting at their desk waiting for you to need them each day.   In almost every case, they have planned their work and are currently busy working that plan. 

Net, net…everyone is wired differently.  Some people accept their full plate and suffer in silence, there are those who piss and moan about their full plate to anyone that will give them an audience, and others who simply bite off more than they can chew.  But, there are a handful that are pretty darn good at digesting what’s on their plate plus welcome an additional trip to the buffet line.  For those rare few, don’t be so quick to think they are moody and stressed – think instead they are focused and flourishing.  There could be the chance that underneath all that food, they actually have a bigger plate than you.  And you know what, that’s ok.

   

 





When Your MOJO Is M.I.A.

9 07 2013

mojo-sdkIf you’ve ever been to the horse races, it wouldn’t take many visits to notice that thoroughbreds don’t run every day.  As a matter of fact, they run every 7-10 days at best.  Stop and think for a minute how that formula might work in everyday life.  We probably wouldn’t get much accomplished, now would we?

In the real world, we are expected to perform like thoroughbreds every day.  Bring our “A” game to the table and have laser focus.  But again, I say that is the expectation.  The reality is that sometimes we don’t have the same intensity day in and day out.  Whether it is a negative environment, a business deal gone sour or personal issues, nothing seems to be going right, you don’t feel like you’re growing and your mojo feels distant.

Who’s responsibility is it to bring us out of this funk?  Does that job fall on our friends, spouse, co-workers, relative or boss?  Honestly, these people can help us realize what is important, only as an individual can we really impact the results.

So how do you motivate yourself when your mojo is M.I.A.?  First, begin by understanding that this is a natural experience to go through and one that needs to be the exception and not the rule.  At the end of the day, there is personal accountability to inspire and motivate one’s self.  It is not your boss’s job to keep you psyched up every hour of the work day, nor your family or friend’s responsibility outside of the office.

Here are a few things that I do when I feel the anxiety or angst starting to affect my mojo:

  • Breathe…and embrace the fact that I feel a rut coming on.  I don’t fight it as it will make things harder for me.  The faster I try to dig, the deeper the hole might get.  If I don’t battle it, it will not gain more power over me.
  • Get Clear On My Vision – Truly visualize what it is I am hoping to achieve.   I focus on what needs to be done and helping others that rely on me to achieve their goals.  Without a clear vision, it will be one distraction after another.
  • Focus on one element of a project, complete that and move on from there.  Don’t make a huge list of to-do’s for yourself.  Even more angst and failure.
  • I work out and I don’t mean a stroll to the fridge and back.  I do cardio, weight, and core work every day.  I can’t imagine not having exercise as an outlet.  Things are a heck of a lot easier to tackle and look much different to me after a work out.
  • Examine my perspective.  I try not to hold onto an old perspective.  I try to watch how others look at things in order to help myself.
  • I make an extra effort to steer clear of the whiners and associate more with the people I view as winners.
  • Review my past successes and remind myself of the good things that I’ve achieved and that my next success is around the corner
  • I try to not procrastinate and associate pain with what might be the obstacle in my path.  (I’ve improved significantly on this one)

I can honestly say that I avoid many a rut by implementing the above.  I have the discipline necessary to stay on track.  At the end of the day, discipline is merely the motivation to stick with something.  That ongoing motivation is what keeps the proper level of mojo in place and allows me the ability to do my best work personally and professionally.





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.





Job Security – It Doesn’t Exist

17 06 2010

job-security_RIPThis may be a tough bite to swallow, but job security doesn’t exist.  So claim it, name it, dump it and get over it.

Did you know that security is number 2 on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, second only to physiological needs?  Call it confidence, call it money in your bank account, security means different things to different people.  Regardless, by being the best “you” you can be, you’ll pacify that void in your life to need to feel secure.  Personal security, however you define it, will carry you through any professional detour.  Here are a few ways to increase your value…Read them and see how you would evaluate yourself.  If you aren’t adept in each one, it’s time to hone your skills.

1.  Do your job the best you can.  I would suggest getting up every workday morning knowing that when you get to work, you’ll need to re-justify your position with the company.

2.  Make yourself a key player.  Take on additional responsibilities without necessarily taking on more work.  Play an active role in making your company a success.

3.  Never rest on your laurels.  What have you done lately?  What are you working on now?  Just like success, our value at work is based on how we perform on a regular basis…not just what we’ve done in the past.

4.  Keep up with the times.  In sales, requirements and expectations of the job change faster than the seasons.  In the media industry, the landscape is quickly changing and we must constantly work to improve our abilities, talents and skills.  That’s called making yourself marketable.  Are you doing everything you can to ensure you accept and embrace the next big thing?  We will be quantum leaping so you’ll need to be prepared to keep up with the times.

5.  “Your Company Difference”  Believe it or not, you are “Your Company’s Difference”.  Are you the walking, talking, mirror image of your company and its’ standards?

6.  Always have a positive attitude.  Even if you are not in the mood, if you always try to find the silver lining in every situation and remain calm and laid back in the midst of chaos, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the majority of your co-workers and a positive asset for your employer.








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