In life shortcuts rarely pay-off. Once while living in New York I entered a largely ignored short line at the DMV hoping that my fellow motorists had overlooked something. Turns out it was for farm vehicles. Since I had no plans to drive a tractor across the George Washington Bridge, I had to circle back and join a line that, much to my chagrin, had nearly doubled in size since my arrival.
Career shortcuts work much the same way, but there are a few things you can do to increase your contribution level and set yourself up for success.
- Assess Your Current Performance: Give yourself an honest evaluation about your current level of play taking into account feedback received over the past year or two. Note your strengths and weak spots as reported from all parties and look for trends. This will provide clues as to skills to leverage and items that need development.
- Realign Expectations: Talk with your manager about what he/she needs and really values from your role. Are there things that you do simply because they’ve always been done? If so, ditch them and repurpose the time towards more valued activities.
- Focus on Your Manager/Team: You help yourself when you help others. Instead of hyper-focusing on your goals, ask about your manager’s deliverables – what he is on the hook for with his boss. Then offer to help.
- Provide Specific Contributions: If your manager takes you up on the offer, design a plan that provides ideas for how you can help without missing core deliverables in your current role.
- Master Positive Collaboration: Take the opportunity to network, support, and learn from the other people on the project. Look for ways to build on their ideas to make the end product even better. These relationships can pay big dividends and sooner than you might expect.
- Think like a Businessperson: Throughout the project, keep an if it were my money The balance of practical ROI-focused thoughts and creative optimism is sure to win over the team and your manager.
Operating from a business-focused, others first, collaborative frame of reference will make you the type of person employees want to work for, customers want to buy from, and leaders want to work with. Having those three forces in your corner is sure to provide the turbo boost you are looking for.
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