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How to Become the MVE (Most Valuable Employee) for Your Organization

How to Become the MVE (Most Valuable Employee) for Your Organization

Most valuable employee

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Be honest

    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.

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    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.

    (Photo credit: Business people going along via Shutterstock)

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Published on January 7, 2021

    How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

    How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

    Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

    If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

    Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

    You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

    When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

    Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

    In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

    Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

    3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

    Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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    1. Respect deadlines
    2. Understand the work-flow plan
    3. Build in time to mess up

    1. Respect Deadlines

    Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

    One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

    2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

    Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

    3. Build in Time to Mess Up

    You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

    Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

    For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

    Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

    This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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    Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

    Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

    Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

    When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

    12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

    Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

    1. Learn to Listen Well

    You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

    Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

    2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

    Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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    3. Follow Rules

    Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

    4. Take Notes

    Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

    5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

    When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

    As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

    6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

    If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

    7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

    English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

    8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

    Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

    9. Minimize Distractions

    It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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    If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

    10. Take Breaks

    It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

    11. Make Time for Reflection

    At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

    12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

    This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

    Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

    Final Thoughts

    Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

    When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

    More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

    Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

    Reference

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