10 Beautiful Tweets That Will Make You Book a Trip to Hydra, Greece Right Now. Written by Scott McGinnis | Goombay Tally | www.goombaytally.com | Hydra, Greece | Please contact us at [email protected] for feedback, writer and advertisement requests. For those that are unfamiliar with the Greek Islands — “Hydra” is one of the […]
Photo by Eric Welch on Upsplash.com
Failing to Do the Small Things Can Lead to Hellish Consequences.
By Scott McGinnis, CEO, XGrunt Inc. | www.goombaytally | Business Leadership | Business Management | Please contact us at [email protected] for feedback, writer or lecture requests, and advertisement details.
On one cold, fateful night on April 15, 1912, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, historians tell us that British Merchant Navy officer, Captain Edward John Smith, made a series of avoidable maritime blunders which could have ultimately prevented the tragedy we all know as the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Moreover, we now know that captain Smith and his crew failed to accomplish [procedurally] very “small and simple” tasks that [cumulatively] could have saved 1,517 precious lives.
Mind you, Captain Edward Smith is mostly known and praised for stoically and heroically remaining on his “unsinkable” ship as it submerged into its eternal resting place on the bottom of the cold Atlantic ocean. However, inquisitive historical experts have meticulously combed through carefully preserved records of both American and British reviewing agencies, to assess and identify a laundry list of poor leadership decisions, willful noncompliance with maritime navigational protocol, and well … just good ol’ common sense in many instances.
For example, historian Allen Gibson, author of The Unsinkable Titanic: The Triumph Behind a Disaster, noted that Smith was [indeed] fully aware that the world’s largest liner was headed directly into a 78-mile iceberg zone on his voyage from Southampton, England to New York. However, knowing the inherent dangers associated with navigating such a treacherous area would be, Gibson noted that Captain Smith made a conscious choice to dine with wealthy passengers and hit the sack early that night instead of exercising proactive leadership and putting into motion small, but effective actions that would have turned the maiden voyage of the Titanic into a celebratory historical event instead of the disastrous maritime tragedy that we all read about in history class.
In fact, records show us that Captain Smith left the daunting task of dodging icebergs with his first officer William Murdoch that night as he retired to his quarters.
Historians and maritime experts are still scratching their heads today over other equally fateful decisions that Smith and his crew made that would seem intuitive now – but were not accomplished for whatever reason during that 1912 voyage. For instance, why didn’t Smith simply change the ship’s course altogether or at least reduce the ship’s top speed of 22.5 knots at a minimum.
Here’s one: why didn’t Smith’s two lookouts in the Titanic’s crow’s nest have binoculars with them early that morning? Would something as simple as possessing “better optics” in the crow’s nest have given Murdoch enough of a warning and lead to avoid the fatal iceberg? Who knows? But again, these are [seemingly] small disciplines, that could have significantly changed the outcome of the Titanic’s voyage at 2:20 a.m.
Similarly, many aren’t aware that captain Smith waited an entire 20 minutes after his ship hit the iceberg before he finally directed his wireless operators on board to send out distress calls to nearby vessels.
That means that the next time you sit down and watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory, it would have taken captain Smith almost the entirety of the program before he decided to let anyone know he was in deep trouble. The tragic fate of the Titanic was unfortunately facilitated by several [cumulative] missed opportunities and leadership failures.
Doing the Small, Boring, Repeatable, Things Everyday is Vital to Effective Military Operations.
The United States military is not a perfect institution, but it sure as heck is the best in the world by a long shot. And that’s all that really counts on the battlefield at the end of the day. One of the premier attributes of our military leadership enterprise, is its ability to dissect, examine and perform academic autopsies on military accidents, mishaps, or operational miscalculations … and in turn, build digestible lessons learned opportunities around them.
Why do you think there are [literally] checklists for almost every conceivable process or procedure in the armed forces? My basic training buddies used to joke that there had to be a comprehensive checklist in the Army for using toilet paper when you’re sitting on the “crapper.” And if there wasn’t one in print at the time … then there had to be some poor staff officer sitting down somewhere putting one together.
Check Us Out On Facebook Too! Visit Goombay Tally Blog
Yes, there are about a million things in the world more exciting than running a pre-flight check on a F-15C fighter jet … but doing these critical “little” things could possibly prevent this lethal, $27.9 million aircraft from tragically falling out of the sky.
The 1994 Fairchild Air Force Base B-52 crash, the U.S. Army’s Ft. Hood shooting in 2009, and the USS John S. McCain’s collision with an oil tanker in the summer of 2017 … all serve as powerful lessons learned for our nation’s military leaders today. After a disastrous tragedy like the ones mentioned above; evaluators, investigators, or inspector general offices will typically examine every operational guidance publication, training module, management decision, equipping profile, and execution variable that could have possibly contributed to the accident or mishap.
We then use these lessons to help prevent similar occurrences in the future. Consequently, we rewrite lessons plans, readjust our training objectives, and yes … revisit our policies and checklists based on these historical events. That’s what professional organizations do. But in order to correct potentially harmful business or organizational practices in the future, leaders have to be incredibly transparent and painfully honest when examining their critical programs.
What Will the Devin Kelley Investigation Ultimately Tell Us About The Importance of Doing the Small Things Everyday?
Just days following the First Baptist Church shooting by former Air Force Airman, Devin Patrick Kelley, we’re finding out that Air Force law enforcement agencies failed to submit Kelley’s criminal history data to the appropriate federal databases as required by national and Department of Defense policy.
Again, a simple [small] thing to accomplish on the balance, but we now know the potentially hellish consequences of not alerting federal agencies of mentally and emotionally unstable individuals in a timely manner.
Could Kelley still have acquired a weapon even if the Air Force followed DoD guidance and reported Kelley’s required criminal background information to the FBI’s database? Possibly. But that’s not what’s being reported in the media right now. Right now, Don Lemon is talking about the U.S. military failing to “do the small things” — when it counts.
The ironic part of this story is that the Air Force actually has the highest criminal history data submission compliance rate out of all the services. Unfortunately, all it takes is one miss, one failed submission, and one lunatic in Texas to bring you and your organization under the national spotlight.
Invariably, the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, FBI, and finally … Congress will closely examine the timeline of events that ultimately led Airman Kelley to carry a Ruger AR-556 rifle into a peaceful, quiet church outside of San Antonio, TX and take the lives of 25 (plus one unborn child) innocent Americans.
Inevitably, we will find out that people in critical and trusted positions of authority and responsibility, probably failed to follow DoD guidance and neglected to accomplish a series of small things that may be time consuming, boring, and tedious … but at the end of the day, could have [potentially] saved precious lives, and kept the U.S. Air Force off of the front page of the Washington Post.
Ensuring Your Organization is Taking Care of the Small Things.
As leaders and managers, this incident should force us all to stop … pause, and think about what small things or processes our teams may be “dialing in” on or just going through the motions procedurally, and not exercising the required attention and focus that it demands.
By Scott McGinnis | Goombay Tally | Share us on Linkedin
The 10 Best Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Worst Bosses
Written by Scott McGinnis (CEO, XGrunt Inc.) for Goombay Tally Blog | goombaytally.com | Business Leadership
When it comes to the study and practice of effective leadership principles — as a society, as students, and as management professionals, we all begin learning vital leadership lessons from our parents and from about the time we clumsily haul our Batman backpacks and lunch boxes to kindergarten.
In elementary school, we read how George Washington led his cold and battle-hardened Continental Army across the icy Delaware River on the night of December 25, 1776 during the American Revolutionary War. We also learn that this daring, tactically brilliant move ultimately defeated Johann Rall’s troops and later went on to incite additional chaos and mayhem for Lord Cornwallis.
An innovative, unpredictable leader capitalizing on the element of surprise to disrupt the enemy.
Bulldog leaders like Winston Churchill shepherded an entire nation through a devastating and costly war while reminding its citizens to stay calm, focused and resilient until victory was ultimately achieved.
Developing case studies on leadership based on the life of George Washington, Winston Churchill, Ulysses S. Grant, Colin Powell, John F. Kennedy etc. are easy. These were men who changed the matrix of leadership development and exploration through their sheer personalities, circumstances, character, and grit.
But I submit to you that as leaders, we can easily miss valuable professional development insights by not adequately analyzing “failed leaders” either in history, or in our workplace. Young and aspiring workers, soldiers, and business students can gleam just as much knowledge about effective leadership from a horrible supervisor or manager as they can from a top-tier, Harvard, Yale, or West Point-educated CEO who runs a successful Fortune 500 corporation.
Most of us have nuanced stories about the best supervisors we’ve worked for … and if asked, could easily identify the very traits that made them a “great leader.”
- They take care of their employees or soldiers
- They are wicked smart
- They are technically and tactically proficient in their jobs
- They are incredibly detailed oriented and had a near-photographic memory
- They tell us what to do but never micro-managed us by telling us how to do it
- They are tough, but fair
- They take the time to learn a little about our families and interests
- They are not only great supervisors, but were great mentors and teachers
And the list continues.
Conversely, I would guess that if you asked the same people to list traits of the absolute worst bosses or supervisors that they’ve ever had, they could write a list that’s as equally intricate and just as long.
However, the trick is to take these defeating or negative traits that you’ve experienced with you worst boss, and apply the inverse variable to them. That’s where you’ll find your leadership lesson in that instance. Much like playing an old Beatles reel-to-reel backwards and finding the hidden and embedded message.
To be more specific … most of the time you will only need to add the word, “don’t” in front of the trait or characteristic of a bad boss and you have just listed an equally powerful leadership lesson. For example, one of my worst bosses made it a habit to mercilessly berate subordinates in public.
Your leadership lesson:
Good leaders don’t berate their subordinates in public … instead, they correct them in private.
In that spirit, and in that tone … here’s the 10 best leadership lessons I personally learned from my worst bosses:
1. My Worst Boss Mercilessly Berated Subordinates in Public and Made Them Feel Like Complete Sh*t.
Good leaders praise in public and correct in private. The only thing you achieve by ripping an employee “a new one” in front of their peers is widespread resentment against you and the organization and fear … not respect. Yes, some employees will need a “coming to Jesus” moment from time to time to correct poor performance or to discuss mistakes. However, this is best done with composure, dignity and away from the public square. Good bosses remember how it felt to be an entry-level employee and treat their team accordingly.
2. My Worst Boss Spent the Balance of His Time in The Office Answering Emails Instead of Engaging With His Employees.
Good leaders (deliberately) set aside time on their weekly calendar to visit with their employees on the floor or in their workplace. They know that in order to understand how their company truly operates “under the hood,” they have to actually spend time learning from the very employees who know the inner workings of the system best. These are the people who have to pull up their sleeves and actually implement the tasks, orders, or directives that the boss promulgates every day. If there is an issue with a program, these are the people who can explain to you why it’s problematic, and in many cases — how to fix it.
3. My Worst Boss Micro-Managed Everything and Everybody.
Good leaders trust their employees enough to tell them what task needs to be accomplished, but allow them the respect and flexibility to use their God-given skills and creativity to figure out how to do it. Micromanagers inevitably drain their organizations of innovation, creativity, and energy over time. Thus, employees begin to realize that their opinions are not welcomed, their decision-making skills aren’t appreciated, and their efforts are not recognized. Moreover, micromanagers will absolutely suck the morale out of a military unit, company, or corporation quicker than you can say “I want a transfer outta here please…”
4. My Worst Boss Worked Us To Death and Never Recognized Hard-Working and Dedicated Teams and Employees.
Good leaders figure out ways to create unique opportunities to recognize their people. The quickest way to kill morale in an organization is to treat your team like indentured servants while never taking the time to put them in for quarterly or annual awards. Most employees don’t ask for more than just to be told that they are doing a good job and will have the opportunity to increase their professional stock in the future. Good leaders know how to exploit this desire and ensure that the entire company knows that “Sally from Accounting” does an awesome job managing their accounts and has saved the company over $1.5 million dollars over the past year. Rest assure … this simple act will motivate Sally to give you her very best every day and make her feel like a valued employee. Yep … I get it … that bonus money won’t hurt either right?
5. My Worst Boss Bred a Culture of Distrust, Secrecy, Exclusiveness, Cliques, and Favoritism.
Good bosses are fair and honest brokers that make it a habit of discussing company issues, and problems, with management and employees in an open and transparent environment. My worst boss constantly held secrets, normalized closed door meetings in his office to discuss and badmouth upper management or other employees. My worst boss would also appear to have her “favorites” who seemingly always had her ear and attention, while other employees were all but ignored or marginalized. Worst yet, the organization’s “golden kids,” (as we would refer to them) always seemed to be very attractive males or females. If you want to destroy morale in the workplace and cause your hard workers to jump ship … cultivate a matrix of cliques and favoritism … then watch jealously and hatred eventually bring down the proverbial ship like Titanic into the North Atlantic Ocean.
6. My Worst Boss Didn’t Care About Employee Family Life, Off-time, and Morale.
Good bosses understand the impact that healthy family relationships have on employee productivity, morale, and general happiness. Also, good bosses demand mission accomplishment, but they also know that employees will be more productive when they are given the flexibility to do their jobs, while enjoying and nurturing their family life at the same time. My worst boss occasionally worked us on the weekends, even if the tasks could’ve been handled on Monday morning without missing any deadlines or without any negative operational consequences.
7. My Worst Boss Never Took the Time to Mentor Us.
Good bosses are not only good supervisors and managers, they are also great mentors. Good bosses invest time and energy into your professional and personal development. They help you “road map” a five, ten, and twenty year plan as a professional, and will give you meaningful advice on where they believe you should be within those phased periods of your life. Good bosses also sit you down and give you honest feedback when you screw up. My worst boss rarely addressed an issue with employees face-to-face … they just complained about the action to other managers or employees … or talked about them behind closed doors. Worst yet, some employees in our organization wouldn’t know that their work was sub-par until they received their written performance evaluation later.
8. My Worst Boss Led From Behind – Not From The Front.
Good bosses don’t just give orders or distribute tasks in the workplace from their safe and comfortable offices; they take a lead role in ensuring that the company’s goals, objectives, tasks, and orders have a fighting chance for success. Sometimes leaders have to prep the battlefield or create the best possible business ecosystem for their employees to thrive and succeed in their efforts. My worst boss consistently failed to follow up on programs or tasks that were administered from higher headquarters or corporate, but were the the first to reprimand the owning project managers when timelines were busted and the regional directors came looking for answers or complained about the inaction.
9. My Worst Boss Was Uninspiring and Lacked the Ability to Motivate Employees.
Good bosses have the ability to motivate and drive their employees to accomplish things that none of them would be able to achieve individually. Also, good leaders have the ability to build teams and utilize every members’ individual talents and skills to get the job done. Phenomenal leaders also ensure that even the most junior or weakest employee has “skin in the game” and uses each project or endeavor as a learning and building experience for them. My worst boss was a “wet noodle” and generally devoid of that spark that makes employees, soldiers, and managers want to follow them into battle.
10. My Worst Boss Expected Professionalism From Us … But Didn’t Demonstrate It Himself.
Good leaders set the example and “walk the walk” when it comes to professionalism on the job. Additionally, good leaders will not tell their employees to do something (or not to do something) that they aren’t capable of demonstrating every day on the job. Anything less, just makes you a hypocrite and to some extent … a fraud. Employees won’t say it to their face, but rest assure that they will be the butt of the joke after work in social settings and at the bar. Furthermore, a supervisor who doesn’t live by the established standards of professionalism on the job, loses all credibility [and standing] if an employee has to be reprimanded or even fired for similar actions in the future.
Good luck out there my friends. Be fearless.
Written by Scott McGinnis for Goombay Tally Blog
Read The Article That is Quickly Becoming Required Reading in Leadership and Business Management Courses – See Us on Facebook Today!
Click to Read!
15 Guerilla Tactics To Set Yourself Apart From The Pack in The Workplace Right Now.
Written by Scott McGinnis (CEO, XGrunt Inc.) for Goombay Tally Blog | Business Leadership | Strategic Management
Newsflash: The same economy that sustained and propelled our parents and grandparents doesn’t exist anymore. That economic paradigm where “Paw Paw” graduated from high school (or not) and walked into the factory on the east side of town, asked “Nana” for her hand in marriage, dropped about 7 kids and supported an entire family comfortably on one salary? Yep, it’s gone.
Fast-forward the clock to today … the economy that you and I are experiencing right now sees young, educated college graduates … from really good schools … hanging out in mom’s basement, wordsmithing their resumes for the fifth time in a week and hoping for at least one solitary phone call for an interview out of the 35 applications that they submitted that week.
Moreover, many college graduates are making caramel mochas with whipped cream and iced coffees at the local Starbucks down the road that they used to hang out in as a student studying for finals. The irony is both deafening and depressing.
I believe a reasonable percentage of college grads will eventually find that job or position that sort of challenges them intellectually and professionally, but once they get that interview and subsequent job offer … the question is: now that we’ve escaped mom’s basement (and dad’s critical glare of condemnation), how do I galvanize my value as an employee to keep myself out of the unemployment line and off of mom’s couch in the future?
Additionally, if my boss was told that he had to let two people go next week, what have I been doing since I arrived here to ensure that my name never comes up for serious consideration?
Obviously, the trick is to start planning your teflon performance strategy on day one in your workplace so if you ever find yourself in a potential layoff situation, you know that you’ve done everything you can do within your power and capability to prove your worth to your company.
You have to prove to your company or organization that you are not only a valuable new recruit, but that you have the potential for being an invaluable future leader within the organization that they need to invest in by grooming and polishing for bigger and better things beyond your entry-level skill-set.
Will layoffs happen regardless of how hard and industrious you are on the job? Of course they will — “shift happens” and there are always financial and human capital decisions that have to be made that are above our pay grade and out of our direct control.
But that doesn’t matter right now. Right now, you need to ensure that you set yourself light-years ahead of your peers by developing a work ethic and attitude that keeps your name and face constantly reverberating through the upper management suites and offices with the breathtaking view of the city. For good reasons of course.
Here are some guerilla tactics that you can incorporate right now in the workplace to establish your unique brand of excellence and professionalism.
The good news?
You will find in many instances that it may not be that hard to set yourself apart from the pack in your workplace.
Many new employees come into the workplace with a strategy of keeping quiet, inconspicuous, and just staying out of trouble. And let’s be honest … some employees are just there for the paycheck. These employees are easy to identify:
The “Meh Employee” Key Indicators
- They arrive to work either just on time or “unfashionably” late everyday
- They just do the very minimum to get the job done and never go above and beyond the customer’s expectations
- They never volunteer for anything – that’s seen as being a “brown-noser or sell-out”
- They never network or collaborate with their peers on anything outside of obligatory job tasks
- They fear change, growth, and innovation as much as cats fear cucumbers
- They avoid rigorous analytical effort, hard work, and generally lack substantive productivity
I could list many more characteristics of the Meh employee but I think you get the point. Point being: setting yourself apart in the workplace isn’t really as difficult as you think. But it does require hard work, heads-up cognizance of opportunities, and Rocky Balboa-style perseverance.
Try these tactics right now — don’t wait until next week:
15 Guerilla Tactics To Set Yourself Apart From The Pack in The Workplace
Set Your Watch 10 Minutes Ahead and Never Be Late For Anything … Ever!
Repeat after me … “I will never be late for a meeting….ever.” When you can’t get to a meeting on time, your supervisor will naturally wonder what other things you are failing to do within the organization when they don’t see you. Even if a person is a mediocre employee … if they can at least consistently show up on time … they can hide a multitude of weaknesses in other areas. Don’t let these people outpace you on the job over something so simple as showing up to a conference room when you’re supposed to. Additionally, when supervisors and co-workers consistently see that you are the first one to arrive at meetings and scheduled events, they begin to realize that you mean business and this instantly identifies you as a strong and reliable employee.
Volunteer for Everything You Can Until You’ve Established a Solid Reputation of Dedication to the Company:
Remember that most of your co-workers have been brain-washed to think that you should never volunteer for anything because mediocre people in their past have convinced them that volunteerism makes you “square,” a nerd, a brown-noser, a kiss-ass etc. Throw that mentality out the window now. This is the mentality of the lazy. And by the way … these will be the same people who are sweating rain buckets when they find out that management has to make layoffs. Don’t follow their lead. It will lead to a life of missed opportunities and woeful underachievement.
“Under Promise” and “Over Deliver” on Everything:
Do you remember the time when your parents took you to McDonalds as a kid and you carefully opened up the bag to grab your hamburger and fries, only to also find two warm onion rings sitting in the carton or in the bottom of the bag? Do you remember how you felt? You didn’t order onion rings with your fries, but one of the McDonalds employees kindly (or accidentally) threw in a few extras for you to nibble on without you asking for it and at no additional cost. Well, in the business world, people love that experience of extra value too. Build your personal brand recognition by being the employee who goes beyond what the customer or supervision asks them to do and deliver that extra onion ring. You’ll quickly see that people will climb over themselves to seek you out personally because they know that you are giving them premium service every time. All the time.
Within the next 30 Days – Establish a Relationship with At Least Three People Outside of Your Company that Either Support, Are Supported By, or Collaborate with It:
Establishing professional relationships outside of your organization will help you expand your perspective and will readjust your vantage point. This tactic will also give you insight into ways to improve your organization’s processes and planning strategies. You will then be equipped to bring solutions to your supervisor because you are thinking outside of the corporate stove-pipes and exploiting information that many employees aren’t aware of.
Frequently Ask Your Boss What His or Her Biggest Pain Point Is …Then Make That Your #1 Priority to Solve:
In some organizations, you will know immediately or intuitively what your boss’s immediate pain points are. They will be screaming about it every opportunity they get and you will hear it discussed in the board-room every week. However, some of you may work in companies where those variables simply aren’t that apparent because of the complexity of business dynamics or because of where you or your skill-set stands in the office hierarchy. This is when you have to take the initiative and ask your boss what causes him or her the most headaches on the job and prevents the team from completing their objectives. This question will accomplish two things: first it will tell your supervisor that you are genuinely concerned about helping him or her do their job better, and two: it shows your supervisor that you really get it. You understand why they hired you in the first place – to get the job done through smart analysis of how the organization efficiently accomplishes mission objectives and handles challenges.
Find Out What Your Boss’s Bosses’ Priorities Are:
One of the best supervisors I’ve ever worked for gave me some of the most valuable business advice years ago when he told me that if I quickly learn what my boss’s bosses’ priorities are … then I automatically know what my workplace priorities should be. Think about it … if your supervisor’s boss sees that his priorities are being satisfactorily managed and that his or her objectives are being met, (or exceeded) then your boss is (by definition) doing their job. That’s a good thing. In turn, how do you think your boss will feel about your work performance when she isn’t taking heat from her boss for not taking care of their key priorities. Exactly.
Create a Spreadsheet or Calendar With All Your Co-Worker’s Birthdays Listed.
Want to create a personal support system of people who are all willing to do anything for you whenever you need it? Show your co-workers that you can remember something special like their birthday by giving everyone a birthday card on their special day. Also, say congratulations on the birth of their newborn with a card, send your condolences on the loss of their mother with a card and flowers, and always congratulate co-workers when they get a promotion. This act of thoughtfulness and kindness helps to set you apart from others — especially in a day and age when people are self-absorbed and caught up in their own lives and Facebook accounts. In turn, how hard do you think it will be to solicit their help or dial in a favor now and then when you need it in the future? You guessed it.
Never Bring a Problem to Your Boss Without Presenting a Viable Solution Along With It.
There is probably nothing more annoying to a supervisor than an employee who is an expert at explaining problems or issues within the organization but then turns around and walks out of the office without any substantive solutions to counter these obstacles. You need to develop a habit of discussing problems with your supervisor — along with recommendations for solving it in the following breath. This tells your boss that you are an employee that doesn’t just dump the bag of horse crap on his desk and leaves it for him or her to sort through on their own … this also shows your boss that you are an employee who can conceivably serve as a future supervisor as well … hint, hint. Anyone can rattle off a bunch of problems or challenges to another person — heck, your children and radio talk show hosts make a living out of doing that right? But it takes a critical thinker and leader to come up with a solid battle plan to help resolve them.
Identify The Root Cause of a Problem Afflicting Your Company or Organization and Kill It.
Want to know the quickest way to be a hero within your company? Find the one problem that upper management has been wrestling with for years and come up with some well thought out, well researched solutions moving forward. Remember, most of your co-workers will just be doing the zombie office thing and slugging into the office in the morning, hanging around the coffee pot throughout the day, and punching the clock in the evening to head home or to the bar. You’re better than that. You will put in the extra hours and collaborate with like-minded employees to fix limiting issues within the organization. That’s what supervisors look for in future leaders.
Don’t Be Intimidated By Fast-Burners in Your Company… Instead, See Them As Learning Opportunities Instead of A Threat:
Every organization has the guy or gal who seems to just fly at a higher altitude in terms of general intellect, work ethic, energy, skill level, leadership ability, etc. Instead of seeing these “marvels of the workplace” as enemies or threats … see them as an opportunity to learn and expand your own skill-sets. Most professional overachievers will be more than happy to share their “secrets of success” with you if you ask them. That guy in your office who is an absolute wizard at creating jaw-dropping spreadsheets, can probably show you two simple Excel spreadsheet tricks today that will impact your immediate team’s projects in a truly meaningful way, while impressing your boss at the same time. Hating on “Jerry” and “throwing shade” because you suck at Excel and avoiding him produces nothing positive for you. But collaborating with Jerry may gain you knowledge and a new skill. You choose.
Find Out What Your Organization’s Critical Tasks Are and Learn to Do Them.
Every office, organization, company, corporation, and military unit has a set of critical tasks that are vital to mission accomplishment, and in many ways, defines success or failure for the entire team or service. Ask a F-15E pilot if he or she thinks they are specifically trained to accomplish a critical task for the United States Air Force. You need to find the key, critical tasks that have to be completed every time and in the right way in your organization and attempt to learn how to do those tasks. Grant it, some of these tasks may require special certifications, education, and skill-sets … if those variables are within the realm of the achievable … figure out a way to complete it. Even inquire into whether your company would be willing to pay for that requisite certification, masters degree, or course … if not, decide if it is worth digging into your own pocket to finance yourself. Why? Well … part of setting yourself apart from your peers involves possessing rare skill-sets that are critical to the organization’s survival. Here’s the truth: everyone has an important job … but some jobs are so important that there is a plausible risk of sinking the entire company if that that job isn’t done correctly and with steadfast precision. That’s the responsibility you really want to be apart of and learn.
Find Out Who Your Company’s Stakeholders Are and Become A Recognizable Asset to Them.
Your organization’s stakeholders are simply entities with a special interest or concern in your company’s product, activities, or services. These are your customers and investors. These are also people that will ultimately determine the success or failure of your company. You need to identify who your organization’s stakeholders are and ensure that all of their expectations are met and exceeded on a daily basis. If their expectations are not being met, you have to discover why not – and fix it immediately. This level or professional “hustle” and due diligence will not only get you noticed quickly, but will gain you positive attention with corporate.
Never Bad Mouth Your Boss or Your Co-Workers:
Get into the habit of never gossiping in the workplace about your management or co-workers. Gossiping is a cancer that eventually brings down the organization and infuses mistrust and disloyalty into the team. Additionally, the person you engage with during a gossiping session about “Susie in Marketing” or the boss, will be the same person who spreads ill-will about you when you make a mistake or when the chips are down. Furthermore, the toxic office environment that is polluted with gossiping and back-stabbing will eventually impact sales, mission accomplishment, organizational objectives, and of course, morale. You don’t want to be a part of, or even associated with the inevitable Titanic scenario that will invariably ensue. If there are true office problems that need to be addressed, always discuss them face-to-face with your supervision and keep everything above board.
Become The “Go-To” Person For Your Office:
Everyone has that one person in the workplace who everyone goes to for technical, program, or service questions. In fact, you’ve noticed that this guy or gal is so important to your daily work activity, that his or her absence is felt immediately when they are not there. Thrive to be that person in your office or workplace. If you are new to the company – find out who these people are and more importantly, figure out the skills or knowledge that makes them the “go-to” guy. (follow #11 above)
Never Upstage Your Boss In Public – Always Make Them Look Good:
Good supervisors will always create and look for opportunities for you to grow and develop within the organization and your profession. With that said … allow them to elevate your standing within the company over time and as a direct consequence of your hard work and dedication. Never attempt to take a short-cut up the success ladder by trying to upstage them in front of their boss or the rest of the team. This tactic rarely ends well for those that attempt it. Instead, be a team player who ensures that the “head coach” receives their due credit during your successes and is well supported during times of failure and challenge. If you are taking care of the boss and other team members – you will get the right level of credit and reward that you have coming to you anyway. However, if your boss is clearly incompetent and should not be in a position of authority, continue to be the hard working, dedicated worker that you pledged to be during your initial job interview. Besides, the laws of business management and human capital will typically right-size those supervisory mismatches — much like a basketball coach ensuring that his average player isn’t guarding Stephen Curry on the court in a big game.
Oh … By The Way, Here’s Your “Onion Ring”… #16. Get It?
Make It Your Goal To Remember The First Name of Everyone You Formally Meet.
One of the most impressive senior officers that I’ve ever had the honor of working for during my active duty military time, was known all over the base for his innate ability to recall the names of not only everyone under his command, but literally everyone he met face-to-face. I actually witnessed this feat first hand one day after work as I was finishing up my last rep on the weight bench at the base fitness center. As I was about to clear the weights from the bar and wipe down the bench, I heard a deep, but friendly voice say hello, and call me by my rank and name. I turned around and was surprised to see that it was my group commander. Mind you, I had no idea that this full-bird Colonel even knew who I was, much less my name. Yes … a simple thing, but what an impact this ability has on subordinates, co-workers, and leadership. As a team member in the workplace … you have to add this tactic to your tool box if you’re going to set yourself apart from the pack. Not everyone is good at remembering names and job associations … that’s why you have to be the guy who walks into a leadership conference in Las Vegas and remembers everyone that you meet during the first break, because you understand the impact that this skill has on building strong business relationships and networking. Who do you think new acquaintances and potential clients are going to want to collaborate with in the future? Someone who takes the time to remember their name, or the guy who can’t even remember where they first met? Exactly. Good luck out there my friend. Be fearless.
Written by Scott McGinnis, CEO, XGrunt Inc. | Goombay Tally Blog / Facebook