Just because you read Lifehack and other sites that encourage you to start your own businesses and be out on your own as a entrepreneur, doesn’t mean that working for a small, medium, or large company is a bad thing. In fact, what if you actually like working for a corporation other than your own?
There are definitely some benefits to working for a large company like access to more resources, often better benefits, and even access to smart individuals that have a ton of experience you can learn from.
So, rather than all this hubbub of “company’s suck and you should quit and work for yourself”, how can you become your company’s MVE (most valuable employee)? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Get up and get moving
One of the plagues of early morning work hours is the dreaded “dead hour”. This is the phenomena of the first hour of the work day is spent waking up, drinking a bunch of coffee, and lazily doing something. Some people love the early mornings because it is a great time to get stuff done, but it’s tough to do when you are slathering around with your eyes barely open.
To fix this, try to get up about 30 minutes earlier everyday and go for a short walk outside, do some jumping jacks, squats, or stretches to get your blood flowing. Any exercising will do. This will ensure that the first hour at the office will be a productive one.
Have a backlog of ideas
If you are a knowledge worker, then your company is paying you for your ideas. Rather than rely on one or two played out ideas that got you into the company, you need to ensure that you have a backlog of them to keep yourself relevant as the company and the company’s goals may change.
One of the best resources for helping you identify and develop ideas is Mark Levy’s (the man behind Accidental Genius) List-Making as a Tool of Thought Leadership ebook. Mark goes through the process and the reasoning on why we need to create ideas and have them at our disposal. This will not only make you more valuable, but will make your company more valuable in the process.
Accept and embrace change
When I was working for a large insurance company, HR put on a presentation for the IT division about how to accept and embrace change. It was an OK presentation, but it made me think about why they were even putting it on in the first place, especially for IT. Were layoffs coming? Was there another reorganization brewing? Were we about to adopt a new technology that people were apprehensive about?
It didn’t really matter what the change was. That was the point.
To become an MVE you have to embrace change and become comfortable with it quickly. If your company is going to stay alive for any amount of time it will have to change positions, technologies, employees, rules and policies, systems, etc. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, try to spearhead this change and almost become an advocate for it.
Another thing that you can do to embrace change is to constantly keep learning about your industry or career to hone and create new skills. There are so many people that don’t push themselves to learn after they have “learned everything they could know” in their current position. Don’t be this guy/girl. To become an MVE and a better human you should be continually learning.
Don’t buy into politics for the sake of politics
One of the worst parts of a large company is their office politics and bureaucratic policies. Although playing the politics game at your company can help you move forward, you will most likely lose credibility and stature with fellow employees and colleagues because of your “company man” nature.
Some political situations can’t be avoided, but to be an MVE you should try to avoid office politics as much as possible. Rather than going behind people’s backs or doing a favor for the right person, try to be open and transparent about your actions. This will help ensure that you are doing the right things for the right reasons with as little political actions as possible.
Rather than letting “group-thought”, bad idea try to come to fruition, open your mouth and make your concerns known. If someone asks you your opinion, give it. Your company hired you for your perspective and expertise; don’t let it go to waste by not “upsetting the apple cart”.
If someone has a good idea that isn’t getting heard, bring it out into the open and help them support it. If you are having trouble in your team with certain people, let your manager or even them know your problems. People mostly don’t like confrontation, but it’s a part of life and has to be dealt with before resentments and issues are built.
Also, being honest is all about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Rather than act like you know how to do something and run the risk of doing that something incorrectly, make it known that you are not strong in a certain area. This will help with committing to time estimates on projects, or even the ability to take on a project.
Becoming and MVE is hard work. It takes time, energy, smarts, and perseverance. Also, to become an MVE you have to not be afraid to make mistakes while you are bettering yourself and your company. So, instead of just floating buy in your large organization and being just “good enough”, apply these tips to become a most value employee at your company.
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