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Achieving Rock Star Status: 10 Steps that skyrocket you to fame at work

Achieving Rock Star Status: 10 Steps that skyrocket you to fame at work

Rock Star! Two words that summon powerful images of a performer, someone with supercharged energy, and someone who is a bit edgy, yet loved by millions. It may be a term that is more associated with the music industry but the corporate world too is always looking for their next rock star. Managers want solid performers who come to play their A game every single day.

So what does it take to skyrocket to fame as a Rock Star in the workplace? Here are 10 steps that guarantee success.

1. Hone your craft and practice, practice, practice.

Overnight sensations are a myth.

Famed tennis player, Billie Jean King, said “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”

You don’t advance in your career because you do a half-ass job. You advance because you produce great results. Learn the fundamentals. Learn the basics until you consistently produce solid results.

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Victories arise because you spend time honing your craft.  You don’t wake up one morning as a success. It takes time and is a work in progress. And if you don’t get it right the first time, look for ways to grow. Surround yourself with the right people to help you. Perfecting fundamentals is an essential foundation to your future advancement.

2. Be original.

Challenge norms and break conventions. Come to the table with new ideas and don’t rehash the old ones. Employers are looking for skills beyond the basics. According to a 2010 Critical Skills Survey by the American Management Association, critical thinking and problem solving are valued traits in top performers. Managers want problem solvers.

3. Assemble the right band.

Smooth and soulful harmony doesn’t happen all on its own. Think of your co-workers as your band members. The sound is much better when everyone is playing on the same sheet of music.

Build work relationships. Foster the development. Treat all co-workers with courtesy and respect because it may just be lonely at the top. But when you have your band behind you, you’ll never miss a beat. If you forget the words, they’ll be right there to take up where you leave off.

4. Build your fan club.

Do you know who’s in your fan club?  Your boss should definitely be there. If they haven’t signed up yet, find out why. It will be hard to attain success if your boss isn’t one of your fans.

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Of course, your boss shouldn’t be the only one that counts. Everyone around you is important. That includes the co-worker that sits beside of you, the receptionist at the front desk, the woman who sells you your coffee, and the other leaders in the company.

Work to expand your fan base if the numbers are lacking. The more fans you have, the more support you’ll have when it’s needed.

5. Play music people want to hear.

Communication is essential for a Rock Star. You don’t want people to turn the channel or tune you out. Even if you’re the most compelling speaker in the world, people won’t listen to you if you don’t have a tune that strikes the chord. Take a minute to think about how to relay the essence of your message.

Without effective communication, a message can turn into inaccuracy, confusion, frustration, or even a disaster if poorly delivered.

6. Don’t be a one-hit wonder.

You’re only as good as your last performance. Yikes! That sounds harsh. Sadly managers remember what is fresh to them. If you had a bad last project, that will be on the forefront of their mind even if the projects before may have been a success. You have to bring “it” every day so that people are left with the right impression. If you do have a bad performance, learn to get out in front of it and overcome it.

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7. Choose your venue wisely.

Where you play makes a difference to your success. Every organization has a certain “feel”. That feel is called corporate culture. Culture can be a killer if you don’t embody the same values, attitudes, and beliefs.

You have to be happy with the venue or you are more likely not going to give your best. Bad cultures can drain your energy and you won’t be at peak performance if that happens.

8. Learn to play several instruments.

Do you just want to be the lead singer or do you want to know how to play a couple of instruments as well? Wearing multiple hats at work is sometimes needed. If you are cross trained in several areas, you not only have an expanded skill set but you’ll be able to add more value when needed.

9. Don’t let your ego get the best of you.

If you let your ego fill the room, you won’t have any room left for good ideas or other people. Having an ego is one of the largest barriers to effective teamwork. When people get caught up in their egos, it erodes their effectiveness. Organizations need people to work collaborate in order to meet demanding business requirements.

10. Build your brand.

Rock Stars have a certain sound, look, or perhaps a song that defines them. It’s what makes them unique. Employees should contemplate their own personal brand. It can be an important tool for advancing your career and selling yourself.

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What you have to offer can transmit a very powerful message.

Four questions to ask yourself as you build your personal brand:

  • What makes you memorable, unique, and relevant?
  • What is at your core and your heart?
  • What is your winning strategy?
  • What is your marketing strategy? How do you work to maintain your brand?

A successful brand creates a consistent and targeted impression. A brand doesn’t just happen. Time and effort goes into a branding strategy that works. After having a thought-provoking session with yourself in which you answer these questions, write your personal brand statement. It’s your value added statement.

When you’ve done that, work it, baby, work it.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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