5 outlines of business people with one in front

Why is it, that in order to move up in position, most people have to move companies?  It seems obvious that, if you are worth more at the new company, you should be worth more at your existing company, where they don’t have to waste time training you on the company basics, introducing you to all of the stakeholders, or even getting you acquainted with the space.  What the hell is wrong with corporate America?  Right?  Why?  Two words: value perception.  We talked about it in another post.  Here are some techniques to increase your perceived value:

  1. Produce more at your current job. This is the simple one.  While it does not typically work by itself, it is the backbone of all other strategies.  It won’t matter what else you are doing at work if you are not doing great in your existing core responsibilities.  The excuse of “I would be doing better if I was in a different job” not only won’t work, its complete crap.  Hard workers are more valuable and they work hard in their existing job.   That’s why they get promoted.
  2. Learn everything about your role. Being able to produce more in your position is important, but knowing everything about your role will make you a subject matter expert (SME).  As an SME, not only do you complete your work, you can answer questions that are related to it, you can confidently make recommendations for improvement, and you can train/teach others how to do it.  Experts are more valuable.
  3. Learn how to tell YOUR story. Not a fake story.  All too often, when we try to explain to our superiors what we did in order to get the job done, we either downplay our role or drone on about how hard it was to complete the project/action/activity and why you are so great.  Both of those options make a terrible story.  I will dedicate a whole post on this at a later date.  Entertaining people are more valuable.
  4. Improve team relationships. Not necessarily just with your immediate team.  In a corporate environment, talk to people from your entire division.  Find out more about them, what is going on in their lives, and what they need to make their lives easier.  Ask about their families, their hobbies, and tell them about you.  In short, make friends.  Team players are more valuable and they tend to be more likable.
  5. Network across teams. Don’t stay stuck in your own world, especially in your own job.  Find out what other teams, departments, and divisions do.  What are their pain points, what are they working on, how do they integrate in with your team/division?  Is there anything that they are doing that you team can help with?  Well-connected employees are more valuable.
  6. Become a reporter. All of this relationship building and networking (#4 and #5) will provide you with a great deal of company information.  Share it (internally).  Not the personal stuff of course, but take general and specific information that you learn and use it to tell the company story, not just your story (#3).  Is your company going through a transition or difficult time?  Tell others the story so that they can understand what is going on.  The most informed are more valuable.
  7. Make personal development a part of your life. A big part.  You should always be growing, and in more ways than just your current position.  It is not often that we get promoted into jobs that we can eventually learn to be good at.  The truth is, we become the type of person that would be great at a higher level position, THEN we get promoted into that position.  There are so many ways to grow that it will take MANY posts to cover.  But they are coming, I promise!  People who grow are more valuable.
  8. Take charge somewhere. You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader.  Learning to lead without influence is one of your most powerful value-building tools.  There are things that an informal leader can get done that a positional leader will have difficulty with.  If you are assigned something, don’t just do it.  Take charge, find the best way to do it, and get it done.  Leaders are more valuable.
  9. Start to leverage others’ talents. “Give me a lever long enough, and fulcrum on which to place it, and I will move the world.”    Leverage is the reason why CEOs get paid more than everyone else.  It is the reason why your manager makes more than you.  When you learn to leverage the talent of others, you will get more done.  Not a little more, mind you.  A near infinite amount more.  Don’t take credit for what they do, mind you.  Use their talent to get you projects completed.  Employees that leverage are more valuable.
  10. Become a detective. You should always be looking for problems to solve, inefficiencies to fix, and processes to improve.  No operation is perfect; it can’t be.  Earn a reputation for identifying and solving  Use those reporter skills (#6) to uncover opportunities for improvement (NOT in others, just in processes).  But remember, problems are meant to be solved, not complained about.    Problem solvers, not problem identifiers, are the MOST VALUABLE.

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