When the Baby Boomers were younger and starting their career’s, the advise from their parents would have been something akin to ‘ find a good company and stay there, working up through the ranks’. It was expected that if you worked hard, you could go from the Mailroom Worker to a Senior Manager:Just look at the wonderful musical ‘
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Should we, like J. Pierpont Finch, read from a manual and try to take those shortcuts to make our mark? Those fabulous quotes from David Swifts production lets us take a lighter look at how to get ahead at work …
‘Be patient? Don’t you realize I’ve been working here… well, two whole hours now?’
In these days of the service economy, while the age old advice may have worked for your parents, it is a different employment landscape. People skills have come to the fore and your ability to manage people and situations will give you more steps forward than ahead down, bottom up, hard work type ethos.
‘Rosemary: You go crying to your uncle!
Bud Frump: I beg your pardon, I do not go crying to my uncle! It just happens my mother is Mrs. Biggley’s sister. If I feel something’s wrong, I phone my mother. She phones Mrs. Biggley, and Mrs. Biggley phones Mr. Biggley. That’s the DEMOCRATIC way.’
Dream big – if you want to make your mark at work, you have to envisage how it will be. What could be possible? Where do you see yourself? Make your goals and then work out what it is that you have to do to get there. What people could help you make this step, what projects should you be working on, how can you make yourself be noticed more?
‘J. Pierpont Finch: How long have you been in the mail room?
Mr. Twimble: Twenty-five years. It’s not easy to get this medal. It takes a combination of skill, diplomacy, and bold caution.’
In a serviced based economy, where people may be the only competitive advantage for businesses, managers are looking for workers who can embody the character of the business, its uniqueness and communicate that to others to build the brand. It does not matter whether you work in accounts or marketing, it is all about your communication levels. You may be fabulous at communicating with the lady who brings the chocolates around to the office to sell, but what strategic importance is that. Yes, certainly continue to be nice, but don’t expect that you will suddenly be noticed because of this. Think strategically – who do I need to impress and how?
‘J. B. Biggley:I realize that I’m the president of this company, the man that’s responsible for everything that goes on here. So, I want to state, right now, that anything that happened is not my fault.’
Base your communications on logic and reason and back them up with evidence. In this way you can manage expectations of your superiors and not promise things that are unattainable.
I have found in the past, that sometimes pushing back, has gained me more respect and honour in the workplace. I have pushed back a times even to clients, to the point of saying ‘no we wont do that, this is the way that we work and I know we can achieve the results you want, but I feel so strongly about it that I will stand my our process’ – and we have won the job anyway (and probably better respect)
It is the same in a workplace, if you base your communications on sound logic, reason and values and stand by them, people will notice your strength of character and understand that your decisions are based on sound evidence and past experience.
So in conclusion, want to be noticed at work …
– Visualise and define your goals
– Create strategic liaisons with work colleagues and managers
– Base your decisions on logic and reason
– Demonstrate your strength of character where it benefits the business
– And when all else fails watch ‘How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying’.
Miss Jones:Your wife is on line 2, Mr. Biggley.
J. B. Biggley:Tell her I’m busy, tell her I’m in a meeting, tell her I’m out, damnit, put her on!
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