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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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    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

    It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

    A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself

    Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

    What does career success mean to you?

    This is about defining your career success:

    • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
    • Not what people may think of you
    • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
    • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

    “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

    When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

    There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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    • Work-life balance
    • Opportunities for growth and advancement
    • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

    Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

    • What do you mean by work-life balance?
    • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
    • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

    Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

    • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
    • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
    • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

    Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

    • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
    • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
    • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

    Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

    Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

    What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

    2. Know Your Values

    Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

    There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

    Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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    • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
    • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
    • Put the words on your fridge
    • Add the words on your vision board

    Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

    When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

    How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

    Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

    • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
    • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
    • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
    • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
    • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
    • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

    Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

    • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
    • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
    • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
    • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

    Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

    By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

    4. Determine Your Top Talents

    What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

    What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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    What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

    What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

    What do you notice?

    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

    Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

    I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

    Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

    Keep these words visible too!

    Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

    6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

    Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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    Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

    “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

    7. Manage Your Own Career

    Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

    Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

    Summing Up

    For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

    Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

    Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself
    2. Know Your Values
    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
    4. Determine Your Top Talents
    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
    6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
    7. Manage Your Own Career

    “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

    Good luck and best wishes always!

    More Tips on Advancing Your Career

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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