Be the One in 2013
When I say Starbucks, Mercedes, Amazon or Staples, what do you think of? You know exactly what each of these companies does, and you also know that they are the leaders in their respective industries right?
That’s what I want to be, and that’s what you should want to be too. “To be the one.” Be the leader, have a clear brand, be proud of what you do. Be the one everyone else considers the best.
Regardless whether you sell coffee or cars, deliver the mail or answer the phone, you should strive to make the year 2013 the year you excel. Here are some ways in which you can help yourself to Be the One.
• Have a positive attitude. Be the one people can turn to knowing that just by being with you they will feel better.
I know that I don’t always feel that naturally, so some days I need to “fake it until I make it.” Stay away from things and people that bring you down. Stay away from people who suck your energy (because they are so happy being unhappy that they want to share that feeling with others). Try to find the silver lining, or if there isn’t one, try to make the experience positive (rather than negative) regardless of the situation.
I once received a birthday card from a friend that said, “You are the most positive person I have ever met, and you always make me feel better.” I treasure that card and that sentiment. We should want to be the one who makes people feel better about themselves, their lives and their situation.
• Have an expertise that makes you stand out. Be the one people think of when they think of taking minutes, using Excel, Sharepoint, Outlook, or organizing. Be the one others turn to when they have questions or don’t know how to do something.
Become an expert in a specific field that makes you stand out in the workplace. If your skills are the same as everyone else’s and you are average in your abilities, you are putting yourself in a very career-limiting situation. You need to stand out at work. You need to have skills that others don’t have.
Be the one everyone thinks of when a specific topic or skill is required at work.
• Exude professionalism. In everything you do. In the way you dress, the way you respond to emails and phone calls and in the way you deal with clients and coworkers.
I used to work with a woman who behaved very differently when the boss wasn’t around. She would be a little later showing up at the office and leave a little earlier when he wasn’t there. She gossiped about him. When the boss was in the office she was the perfect assistant (in his eyes) but when he was gone, she was a very different person. Don’t be that person. Be professional all the time.
Think of those television shows “Undercover Boss” or “What Not to Wear” and assume there is a TV camera on you all day. Assume the footage will be shown to the world the next day. Would you behave differently because of that? Your behaviour should be consistent regardless of whether anyone else is there to witness it.
• Embrace change. Embracing change means welcoming new responsibilities, accepting uncertainty about the direction your career is going, and actively developing the skills you need to stay current.
I moved from being an assistant to a corporate trainer in the late 1980s. I was the person who was excited about the introduction of computers, and was part of the implementation team (a voluntary assignment that opened up huge career change for me). While I was teaching all the admins in our company how to use a desktop computer for the first time, I met Hazel. Hazel was one of those lifetime employees who had been in the company longer than the rest of us had been alive. She was 100 per cent against switching from manual systems to electronic systems. She was so against it that she put her foot down and said that until the company would let her use her typewriter again, she wasn’t coming back to work. That was the first day of her retirement. She wouldn’t change, she dug in, and she was very, very wrong. Are you like Hazel? Maybe not that stubborn, but do you say things like “the company has no idea what they are doing” or “they will regret this”?
Be the one to embrace change. Even if it isn’t the best choice for the company in the end, embrace it rather than reject it.
• Keep up with technology. In an Office Team survey 83 per cent of administrative professionals said they are expected to teach others how to work with new technologies.
Offer to test equipment or programs and then share that knowledge with others. Being self-taught on software isn’t enough; get professional training.
Be the one who is willing to learn new ways and who is willing to use all technology (not just software) to its maximum capability in the workplace. Are you still convinced that an iPad is just a big toy? Do you think the reason we all have a smart phone is to play Words with Friends? Still tittering about Twitter? There is so much out there that can help you be better at your job, do more, be more valuable—by not keeping up, we are limiting ourselves professionally.
There are many ways in which you can Be the One, and it is up to you to keep yourself on-the-right-track.
Being the One is my goal for 2013. I want to be the one you think of when you are planning your conference, when you need training, or when you want to attend a webinar. I want to be the one you follow on Facebook and Twitter because you need a morning laugh. I want to be the one you know you can turn to for professional advice.
How do you want to Be the One in 2013? Share your plans on our blog below.