One of the questions
I most often get asked on my talk-radio show "The Career Coach" is,
"how do I achieve a happy and successful career in todayís rapidly
changing job market?" Truth is, there are lots of ways. But in my
humble, small-town Iowa opinion, the single best way is to become
a Star Performer at work.
Can the Joe and
Joanna Ordinary of the working world reach that heretofore reserved-for-a-very-few
designation? The good news is most of us can. According to a recent
study by the Carnegie Mellon Institute, the chances of you and I elevating
our level of play may be easier than we thought. Hereís why;
- Star Performers
donít have to be geniuses. In fact, Star Performers had a lower
average IQ than the average working stiff! I love to quote that
statistic because it gives people like me a fighting chance. It
means I donít have to have an MBA or have a degree in the latest
technology about to hit the scene.
- Star Performers
donít work all that hard.
Thatís right. The average Star Performer actually works fewer hours
per week than Joe and Joanna. Thatís encouraging, because I always
thought the "top rung" of workers dedicated every living hour to
the Company Store.
There are many
other reasons why being a Star Performer is so paramount to your career.
First, you will have a tendency to be more self-confident. I donít
recommend arrogant or cocky, just confident. Secondly, your success
will breed more success. Good things seem to happen to people who
are doing well. Third, winners like to do business with winners. Do
you want a mediocre mechanic working on your car?
So how do you
become a Star or just do a better job?
- Think Small
Try to avoid the misconception that itís going to happen overnight,
or worse case by the weekend. Thatís simply a set-up for frustration
- Do Research
on a Daily Basis.
Jump on the Internet or head down to the library to stay abreast
of the latest happenings in your business. 15-20 minutes daily will
keep you better informed and sounding smarter than most of your
- Ask Management
How You Can Be More Valuable.
First, they will be very impressed you took that step. Second, you
will be spending more time on work that helps the company achieve
their goals, not on work that helps you achieve your goals. Believe
me, doing that will pay off huge!
- Ask For
Assignments No One Else Wants.
Your fellow employees will love you for it and The Boss will notice,
Management With a Plan to Improve Problem Areas.
We all know what doesnít work well, but very few actually present
a written 1-2 page plan suggesting ways to solve the problems.
- Offer to
Assist Fellow Employees on Their Projects.
I recommend you help them after-hours. Be selective, so you donít
get too distracted from your own work.
- Add Items
to Your "To Do" List.
Most people focus on taking items off their list. Star Performers
focus on what other things they can do.
- Give Others
Credit When Things Go Well.
Donít overdo this, or it will come off insincere. But at the appropriate
time, when the situation calls for it, donít take the credit even
if you deserve it.
How will doing
these steps help you become a Star Performer? First, by being focused
on the process and not the result, you will begin to experience a
couple key things. One, the people you work with will start to gravitate
towards you. They will want to see you be successful just like you
will with them. And, that dynamic produces terrific happenings. Secondly,
your confidence level will start to rise. When you are feeling more
confident about your work, your "Happy-Meter" will go up, too. Together,
itís a winning formula for building a successful career.