Do a Bigger Job

90% of people asked will say they are an above-average driver!

When working really hard and doing excellent work, many people tend to feel that they are above-average.  I have had discussions with many talented people who are surprised to learn that consistently doing excellent work and flawlessly delivering on their job description does not make them a top ranked employee.

As I mentioned in the last post, Be More Relevant:

Deliver excellent results — that is a must.  But don’t expect that alone to make you relevant.  Doing your job keeps you from getting fired.  What makes you stand out, and makes you highly relevant is finding additional ways to add value to the business over and above what is in your job description. 

So in this post I want to talk about some ways you can this: 

1. Generate Revenue
2. Reduce Cost
3. Improve Productivity
4. Develop Talent
5. Communicate
6. Innovate

1. Generate Revenue

Nothing will make you stand out more than having a direct impact on revenue.  For an executive, taking on a troubled sales region and turning it around, or shoring up a struggling product line so it becomes profitable and growing are the shortest paths to big career gains.

Not everyone is in a position to do this, but don’t be too fast to assume you are not in a position to impact revenue.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Going on a customer visit and realizing that you could make small change to an existing product and have a new product and revenue stream for a new segment.
  • Doing customer support and finding a recurring new service opportunity
  • Being the one to search twitter for discussions of your company’s products and turning unhappy customers into loyal purchasers.
  • Implementing a system that helps sales reps close more business

2. Reduce Cost

So many times we set our sights on getting the biggest budget possible so that we can deliver the most value with it.  Sometimes it is important to step back and understand what is going on across the business and give some money back.  Get famous internally for being business minded, and personally helping with brilliant and createive cost management, that doesn’t sacrifice value.

It is critical for any leader to reduce the cost of doing the same things year over year.  If you ask for the same budget as last year to do all the steady state stuff and incremental budget to do new stuff every year, your credibility will degrade.  You need to self-fund some of the new stuff by reducing cost of maintaining current programs.  No one should need to tell you do to this.

3.  Improve Productivity

Every year, you should have one explicit agenda to improve productivity in your team.  Your team should be more capable next year than this year.  Some ideas: have better meetings, make project review processes more efficient, build a process for handling chaotic ad-hoc work, implement a better measurement and accountability framework, use the web for better employee communication…  the list is endless.  You should always be working on at least one productivity improvement for yourself and in your team. 

4. Develop Talent

One of the things that makes people stand out from their peers is to be the one who is mentoring and coaching others.  Anyone in any position can be a mentor.  It is critical for managers to be on the look out for talent, and develop leaders below them in the organization, but it is also important to think about developing talent as a personal agenda.  Share your knowledge.  Help others learn and grow.  I have interviewed hundreds of people for management and executive positions.  The ones who talk about developing people without being asked was about 5.  They stood out.

5. Communicate

Most organizations (any organization bigger than 1 person!) suffer from ineffective communication.  Be the one to organize information and share it with others.  I have been amazed throughout my career about how stepping up to be the one who consistently communicates scores huge leadership points, and is a stand-out trait.  I started this in the days of voice mail!  I gave weekly updates to my team, I copied my peers.  A following developed.  It evolved to email and web based communications over time,  but the important part is to share useful information consistently.  (Hint: I always found that the consistency was even more important than the content.  Set a regular schedule and communicate.)

6.  Innovate

Sometimes we tend to think of innovation as only inventing a new product, or getting a patent on a new idea (that can be turned into a product).  Why limit innovation?  For starters it absolutely applies to the above: generating revenue, reducing cost, improving productivity, developing talent and communicating. 

Innovation should occur in all aspects of the business.  Here are some places I think businesses have opportunities to innovate: How your phone is answered, how you manage business processes with partners, how you deal with IT issues, how you evaluate the competition, how you use social media, how you bundle and price, how you re-use information…  Don’t leave innovation to “the lab”.  Understand your business at the grass roots level, and look for ways to make an impact. 

Getting it done.

Don’t try do all of these things at once.  Pick one.  Schedule some time to do it.  Involve your team.

One of the reasons I talk so much about making room, and making more time is that you can’t do “bigger” stuff, at the expense of your current job.  You need to find a way to master your current job and do really well it in less time, so that you make room for other things. 

If you stay consumed doing an excellent job at your job you will not be seen as above-average.  That requires doing more.

Related Articles:

Better with Less
Make More Time


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You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her books RISE and MOVE.

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