In today’s modern and tech forward world, competition is abundant. What a unique period in our history, as knowledge can be easily contracted from a simple google search. Skills that previously took years of professional study, can now be developed online at a fraction of the price. As great as this is for business in general, it can sometimes leave employees feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to stand out.
How can I become more influential in the workplace? What do I need to do to be promoted? How do I add value?
First and foremost, seek to understand.
The person asking the best and most frequent questions will know more about what they are asking about. As obvious as that may seem, it is so often under performed. We are stuck in bad routines of constantly feeling the need to just do, we forget to take a timeout and understand the real purpose.
Before leaving any meeting or discussion at work, it’s imperative you know the answers to these questions:
1. What are the goals?
There’s an extreme dissonance between what we do and why we do it. Today, we excel at completing checklists, responding to emails, etc.- but we have forgotten to understand the big picture. What an advantage it is for you to be the one to work toward a real purpose.
2. Do I understand the people?
This extends far beyond target market clarification. You need to know who you are partnering with. Who is going to help make this happen? What co workers are involved? Understanding the ‘who’ is essential in adding value. It propels powerful questions that will get your boss and co-workers thinking about the most effective strategy.
3. What is attainable?
Know the strengths and address the weaknesses. If you can pinpoint the competencies of the company, you understand the realities of a project’s potential. Just as important as understanding these capabilities, asserting the weaknesses is also incredibly advantageous. To know the areas of weaknesses sprouts the necessary conversation of strategy. Facilitating this discussion shows the true light of leadership.
4. How to we know if we are progressing?
There is no good is a goal, if we can’t understand if it is being reached. So often great ideas and plans stay on the drawing board because there is no measurement to track if the team is moving forward or not.
If you are the person who is asking these vital questions at the meeting and facilitating the necessary conversations, you will be the guy everyone wants at the meetings. You will be the team’s true influencer. When you are the guy your co-workers are coming to for advice, you have naturally stepped into the leadership role.
Understand, understand, understand.
The other aspect of adding value, revolves around serving as a connector in the workplace.
After asking the great questions for a project, you should presumably know what your co workers goals are within this project. If you know this, is there a way you can help make their job easier or more efficient? Do you know someone they should collaborate with? Do you have experience that you can advise to help them? The best ideas are more often than not those that had been collaborated on. If you can be a source people know to help others get in contact with the right people, you’ll become invaluable not only within your own work, but in the success of other’s work as well.
Are you different?
We know that the market is more competitive than ever. But what is it about you that gives your work its edge? Are you highly skilled in a certain area that is nearly impossible to outsource? If it’s not your work, is it you? What are you bringing to the team? For starters, you can be inquisitive and be in the know, like discussed previously. Whatever your ‘it’ factor may be, it’s imperative you acknowledge it and use it toward your advantage whenever possible.
Finally, guarantee that what you are turning in is your best work.
How do you know something is your best? Use this framework:
Get your ideas down. Don’t spend too much time trying to make your task perfect. Get the main answers/task completed. This is what makes your process so much easier. Content is easier to perfect than creating perfect content the first time round.
Make your work professional. Re-write so your ideas are cohesive for the people involved to understand.
3. Feedback / Re-edit
External opinions are vital to ensure you are on track to handing in the best work possible. Get opinions from people whose work you value. The key is also to get MORE THAN ONE. The more valuable feedback you have, the better quality your work will become.
4. Turn in
When you are turning it in, you should have all the confidence in the world. There is no reason not to! You did the work and have had several people review it. You should know it’s a slam dunk before it touches your boss’ desk. Having this sense of pride is fundamental to creating the best quality work- and work people notice.
In short, be someone people want to follow. By using these strategies, you’re setting yourself up to be in the know, tackle complications, guide coworkers, and create quality work.
You’re an influencer, and that is undoubtedly invaluable.