Recently I attended the retirement party of a friend and colleague, Jim Robertson. Jim used his executive position and experience to be an advocate for diversity and mentor to many, including many women. As he reflected back on his experience assessing performance, he calculated that he had written approximately 150 annual performance reviews. That doesn’t count the number of departmental performance ratings meetings in which he participated. It’s safe to say that Jim has observed the relative performance of thousands of people. When Jim talks about the three things he believes differentiate job performance, he speaks from experience. This month’s newsletter captures those three tips.
One underlying assumption behind the three tips is that the manager is in tune with what the individual has accomplished. Making sure our bosses have the information they need to assess us is our responsibility. That’s why it’s important that we Communicate to Advance…that we talk about our accomplishments. If telling others about what you’ve accomplished makes you feel uncomfortable, then register for the one day workshop Communicate to Advance: Skills You Need to Get What You Want. There’s still some room left in this fun, engaging and supportive workshop. Learn more here.
35 Years of Wisdom in 3 Career Tips
It takes more than hard work and being good at your job to differentiate yourself. If you’ve followed my newsletters, you’ll hear some consistent themes: develop your advocates, let people know what you’ve accomplished, ask for what you want. These are three areas where consistent research shows that we as women can do better. That’s why they are themes covered in my workshops. (See Communicate to Advance workshop on March 31).
Yet there are other differentiators as well. When my friend and colleague, Jim Robertson, retired from Shell, he shared his observation of three characteristics of a really good employee – the kind of employee who catches the boss’s attention. These are not gender related – men and women can be equally effective at these.
Change Something: Identifying improvement opportunities can showcase your drive, creativity and adaptability. “We’ve always done it this way” is a common response to new ideas, but with the right timing, the right presentation and the right audience, your ideas will differentiate you. Don’t get frustrated if all your ideas don’t get implemented. Bringing them to the surface alone will be noticed. Jim’s advice: “Change something in the first three months of a new job.”
Take On Responsibility: Managers notice those who step up. You can volunteer for a project, a committee, an initiative. If it’s a task that will help achieve your boss’s objectives, even better. Not only do you gain visibility from expanded networks and exposure to new activities, you learn from taking on something that may be outside your comfort zone. Jim’s observation: “Willingness to take on more responsibility is an indicator of potential.”
Put the Enterprise First: Know what’s important to your company and make sure you use that as a compass in how you do your job. Don’t let departmental politics or personalities stand in the way. Keep the company’s reputation in mind. The person who does what’s right, cuts waste and sees the big picture will prevail in the end. Jim’s comment: “Enterprise First is my guiding slogan.”
There are nuances to all the above. Each requires your own style, knowing where and how to get support and how to work within your own boundaries. All three are good tips…and they’ve come from someone who has spent years identifying the differentiators among employees.
Susan Hodge created Women Leading Together in order to provide seminars, workshops, and coaching circles to help career women move forward to create fulfilling careers. Visit our website at www.WomenLeadingTogether.com.