With competition for today’s top jobs (okay let’s face it, any job in general) running neck and neck, it’s not enough to just do your job, especially if you want to keep your job and advance your career. You have to show that you not only have what it takes to do your assignments, but that you are forward-thinking enough to find ways to maximize what you do.
With the new year approaching, think about some of the most mundane assignments that you dread doing on your job, and make one of your goals to implement one idea that will revolutionize the way that you and your colleagues get it done. Make your ideas part of the bedrock of your department’s foundation.
1. Stop the whining and start brainstorming!
Pardon the tough love expression here, but…no one likes a whiner. It wasn’t attractive as a child, and it definitely is not going to earn cool points as an adult. Everyone has those excruciatingly drab routine tasks that make you want to gouge your eyeballs out every time you see the reminder pop up on your Google calendar, but they have to be done. Avoid the tempting habit of gathering around the lunch table to complain about what you don’t like or what doesn’t work. Instead, take that energy and invest it in finding a way to make the task more meaningful and relevant to what you do on a daily basis. Sometimes it can just be a matter of a mental gear-shift.
2. Look at the big picture. Examine the way you think about the task itself.
Ask yourself these questions. “If no one in our office completed this task, how would it impact our operations?” “What personal connection does this task have with what I do?” “Is it a conceptual issue or is it a process issue that is making this task so difficult to do or manage?” “What is one suggestion I can make that will help improve how we approach this task?” Jot down answers to each of these questions. Feel free to add additional questions based upon the nature of the task. But however you approach this, make sure that the end results are solid, constructive ideas for how you can maximize what you do as it relates to this task.
3. Make it a team effort.
Inevitably, what you do is going to affect your team and you want to propose solutions that are going to help make their jobs more meaningful too, if not easier. So give them an opportunity to weigh in on the issue. You may even want to throw some of those initial questions I suggested in the previous bullet, out to them. This is also a great way to gauge if what you see as an issue, is in fact an issue worth taking the time and energy to develop a plan of action for.
4. Develop your plan
Now that you have picked your own brain, as well as others’, now it’s time to plot your strategy. Come up with a proposal outlining the concern and your ideas. In your outline, get to the heart of the issue. What is the issue and where are you missing the mark with the way the task is completed? Don’t ramble on and on about how long you have been doing the task and why you don’t like the way you currently do things. This isn’t about your personal opinion, it’s about maximizing productivity. Come up with at least two to three suggestions for improvement and make sure you include outputs. It should be very clear to your supervisor how implementing your suggestions are going to benefit the office and improve operations for everyone.
5. Make your mark
Either schedule some time for a one-on-one with your supervisor to discuss your proposal, or ask if you can get on the agenda at your next team meeting. Be as clear and concise as possible in your presentation and be prepared for questions. The goal is to get everyone on board. This will ensure that your initiative is effective.
What is one thing that you want to do, or have done on your job to improve your office’s productivity? I want to hear about it!