“There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” – Ray Goforth
A lot of people, either just entering the workforce or re-entering after some time off, wonder what it takes to succeed in business. I’ve had several years of tremendous growth recently, having been promoted 3 times within the last two years alone, and today I want to write about beliefs can help you thrive in today’s business world.
Produce high quality work, even when no one is looking
Steve Jobs put this practice to work early on at Apple. He wanted the inside of Apple computers, the motherboard and all its circuits, to look nice and be well organized, despite the fact that no one would ever see them. While other computer manufacturers could care less about how the inside of the computer was designed, Steve Jobs insisted that the entire product be designed in a high quality fashion, even the little things like the motherboard layout. I agree with this philosophy wholeheartedly. Have data in a spreadsheet tab that no one is going to look at? Make it look nice, formatted with locked panes and filters, in case someone does look at it. To succeed in business – you have to take responsibility for all of your outputs, even the smaller items that seem insignificant.
Don’t hand in something you wouldn’t want to receive
In line with the note above, never hand in something in a rush that is an eyesore or just incomplete in general. If you’re timed on a task and really need to get something in, get the most essential, bare-bones information to the person requesting it, and follow that up with a “Hey I wanted to get this to you as quickly as possible. Here’s the essential stuff, I’ll fix it up and add some better details soon but wanted to get this to you first.” A statement like that goes a long way, and shows people (especially management) that you have your eye on the ball and you care about the work you produce. Look at everything you send before you send it out, ask yourself “what haven’t I thought of with this file?” – wait for an answer. If at that point you feel it’s ready, send it.
Be willing to contribute more than your co-workers
This is a big one that makes all the difference in my career. It isn’t about creating competition at work, but rather about having a genuine desire to contribute as much as possible for the betterment of the company. Being willing to do more than your co-workers makes you stand out. Building a reputation of reliability is one of the greatest assets you can have in a company. Your goal should be to get management to think “Wow, look at this person. He’s doing so much and having a great impact. He stands out.” This can be accomplished even in a company with 30 or more people in the same role. The determining factor will be your attitude towards the role and whether or not you believe it’s worth your time to stand out. If you don’t believe it is worth your time to contribute more to your company, you are probably not working at a place that is right for you.
Expand beyond your specific role – learn everything you can
This idea broadly encompasses the previously mentioned traits, but it takes them a step further and has unique benefits in itself. In my own career, I started out as a general operations analyst, but quickly started studying things beyond operations. I worked on reports for revenue, cost-efficient logistics, IT analytics, and many other areas. In applying myself to other areas, I developed an extremely well-rounded understanding of how the organization worked. When you help with things outside your role, you can see connections that other employees don’t see because they only have knowledge of their one functional group. Eventually I became well-versed enough that I could do sales pitches, answer questions for finance, and at a certain point – I became a go-to person for managers from multiple departments. Once you’ve hit this point, you’ve accumulated for yourself a lot of leverage.
Don’t just do the work asked of you, provide the answers people are looking for
This is probably the most important message of this entire post. If you start practicing this one belief, you’ll begin earning yourself a representation as someone who gets it in the business world. If someone asks you to create a report, don’t just create it – take it a step further. Dive into what your report shows. Look beyond the data and ask yourself the questions that management would ask, then answer those questions upfront. When you present the report, talk about your findings and provide them with all of the answers you found. The more you do this, the better you get at anticipating people’s follow-up questions. This not only saves you time, but it paints yourself in other people’s minds as someone that gets it and understands the whole picture.
Books That Will Help You Thrive in The Business World:
-Anthony From AuthenticGrowth.com