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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 October 8, 2019

    How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

    How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

    The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

    The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

    By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

    1. Define What Success Is for You

    There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

    Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

    2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

    Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

    Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

    3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

    It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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    By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

    4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

    A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

    One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

    5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

    You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

    Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

    6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

    If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

    Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

    7. Pick Up Some New Skills

    Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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    By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

    8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

    Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

    If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

    9. Make Yourself Indispensable

    Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

    It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

    10. Get Off the Fence

    People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

    If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

    11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

    If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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    Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

    12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

    If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

    Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

    13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

    Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

    Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

    14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

    Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

    A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

    15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

    The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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    Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

    16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

    Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

    Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

    17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

    It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

    Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

    18. Join a Professional Organization

    The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

    Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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