Above All Else – The one skill you need to master

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Like it or not, YOU are in customer service. You are a business. Your time and skills are the products you sell. Your body and mind are the tools you use. Whether you work for yourself or someone else, your success ultimately depends on your ability to Acquire, Retain and Please your customers.

If you haven’t realized this, you’re way behind on the game.

You’re thinking “What do I know; I don’t work on the sales floor. I work in a back-office function with a lot of smart people, a bunch of idiots and a plethora of assholes.”

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Unfortunately for you, those idiots and assholes are your customers.

 

If you’re an accountant working in the back-office, who do you think your customers are?

Your most important customer is your boss. You are selling her on you, your brand and the potential she perceives you to have (know your shit). Inability to deliver and lack of motivation will very quickly give her buyer’s remorse.

Your secondary customers – the others who depend on you to make/review entries and perform accountant-like duties. These secondary customers can influence your primary customer so you should always be ON. Piss off a peer and the salt will leak into your brand overnight.

Good customer service means being reliable, likable and knowledgeable. Always deliver what you’ve committed to delivering (under promise but over deliver). No one can recall the times when you came in on schedule, but they damn well will remember if you’re early (sandbag – yeah I said it).

Customer Service

Finally, don’t ever deliberately piss off your customer. A pissed off customer will remember. In fact, the negative experience you provided will last longer in his memory than anything positive you’ve done. And so … in the long chance that he has the ability to influence your career growth, guess which way he’ll go.

Think of yourself as a brand like Nike, Amazon, Zappos etc. Your reputation can make or break your brand. The best way to cultivate a great reputation is to provide great customer service.

Is success possible in a rigged system?

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Income inequality exists and continues to widen because the rich keep getting wealthier and earn higher incomes while the middle class and low wage earners lose out. Sadly, majority of us Americans, being the ever optimists, don’t believe that we are part of the “have-nots.” Instead, we live in the illusion of “can-have” i.e. “I can be successful if I work hard” or “I can be wealthy if I invent the next app” or “I will be well paid once I reach the upper management of my company.”

In reality, the system is rigged against you from the beginning. If you weren’t born into the top 5% wealth society, you’re already way behind. If you went to a public school, you’re further behind. If you went to a non-Ivy League school, you’ve screwed yourself. If you joined an entry-level job at your company instead of a leadership program, you’re so far behind that your chances of becoming truly successful are minuscule.

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This is not to scare you into giving up or discourage you from trying. This is to inspire you! Success IS possible … even in this rigged system. It just means you need to actively manage your success. No longer can you rely on your hard work alone.

The great thing about the capitalistic corporate world is that at the end of the day, it is cold, calculating and truly dedicated to self-interest. Therefore, if you can convince the corporation that having you around is in it’s best interest, you become valuable. When you become valuable, you become successful.

The goal is to prove that you are, in fact, a valuable asset. In fact, you have to be the most valuable asset to get to the top.

Proving yourself to be an asset requires that you, like the sharp blade of a ninja’s sword, are constantly polishing yourself. You must perfect your body, your mind, your spirit and your entire psychological being with only one goal – to get to the top.

Only then are you a true Korporate Klimber.

Five things you’re doing wrong at work

Career Sabotage

One of my favorite magazines just came out with a great article on the five things you could be doing to hurt your career.

FastCompany spoke to career experts about unwitting actions at the office that may be derailing your career.

1. Being hard on yourself when you fail

Failure happens. But you hurt your career when you let the fear of failure prevent you from sharing new ideas or taking risks. Instead, assess the cause of failure: was it due to lack of support from senior leaders? was it sabotaged? did you fail to plan or communicate appropriately? was it you? or was it due to external influences? Leverage your learnings to ensure success on the next project.

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2. Thinking that self promotion is unprofessional

The Korporate Klimber is a big proponent of self-promotion. No one knows you better than you do. So, if you’re not touting your strengths and not sharing your achievements with others, you’re letting opportunities slip by you. Just don’t be a self-centered douche about it. Be classy by promoting the success of your project and the people involved.

3. Not being a team player

Sometimes, smart, ambitious people get frustrated because others on their team aren’t as smart, as motivated, or as dedicated to a project so they just say “fuck-it” and do everything on their own. This is a bad idea. Not only do you alienate yourself, you’re also sowing the seeds of jealousy and general discontent. If you piss people off, they’re less likely to help you in the future and more likely to take pleasure in watching you fail. Don’t be an island. You may want to laugh at the idea of holding hands and singing kumbaya with your fellow co-workers, but trust me … it is a good career move.

4. Not soliciting feedback constantly

Don’t wait for the annual performance review to find out what your boss really thinks of you. Instead, get in front of him at least once a quarter and ask for his feedback. Get him to help you find your weaknesses and work on them before he puts them down in an official company record at year-end. Jump on any opportunities for a 360-degree feedback.

5. Staying only in your comfort zone

Nothing kills a career faster than someone who doesn’t want to take on new responsibilities and expand their role. If you’re offered a chance to work on something beyond your daily responsibilities, jump on it immediately. But be smart and take on work that has high visibility. Avoid taking on thankless grunt work from your co-worker. Do take on thankless grunt work from your boss and other leaders.

Read the full FAST COMPANY article here:   YOU’RE PROBABLY MAKING THESE FIVE MISTAKES AT WORK

An informed boss is a happy boss

Going “Incognito” in Google Chrome to sample the artistic content of your favorite porn site is a smart move. Going “Incognito” at the office is not!

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Take your favorite action or suspense movie.

It goes something like this: The movie is close to its climax. Things aren’t going well for the good guys and shit’s ’bout to go crazy. There is no way out. Failure looms ahead. Slowly, the camera pans to the star of the film, our hero, who, amid growing uncertainty, suddenly realizes something. He looks around, smiles confidently and says “I’ve got a plan.” The screen fades. Next thing you know, the plan is being executed flawlessly. The good guys win. You smile as the plan is revealed. You clap at its ingenuity. And…..roll credits.

This well established formula never gets old on the silver screen. We love it. Not knowing what’s about to happen keeps us from taking that next breath.

Now, here’s corporate reality.

There’s no such thing as a flawless plan. Not only that, the idea of being in suspense or having to deal with the unknown, really pisses people off.

People, especially superiors, do not like being kept in the dark. Whenever you’re working on a project or task that involves others, you’re expected to keep everyone informed at each step. Every success, every failure, every alternative needs to be discussed with the stakeholders.

When your boss assigns you a project or wants you to resolve a fire-drill, she doesn’t want you to disappear into a deep, dark hole and resurface after a few days with amazing solutions. Instead, she wants you to come up with a plan and a timeline for completion. Then she wants you to walk her through the details and provide updates as often as possible.

This is good for you and it’s good for her. Not only will she appreciate that you’re keeping her informed and thereby involved, you’ll benefit from having her support and backing. She’ll be able to leverage her position and help you move things up the chain whenever you encounter a roadblock and she’ll be ready to defend your ass when you fail. And trust me, you’re going to fail … a lot.

In the corporate world, no one likes being surprised. Even good surprises are rarely welcomed by those in power.

 

 

 

You want a Bu.. Got..Tea? A Maz.. A.. Rot..Tea? You better work Bitch!

Britney Spears’ single “Work B**ch” resonates hugely with the Korporate Klimber.

The song is catchy as hell.

You may not realize that it also brings the formula for success down to its core. You want the good things in life that come with success? You better be ready to work hard (and be good at it).

You want that Bugatti or a Maserati? You better work. Bitch.

Success is glamorous   Work is boring
Success makes things easy   Work is overwhelming
Success brings glory   Work is thankless

 

Fans of the TV legal drama “Suits” are united in feeling a guilty pleasure every time Mike or Harvey figure a way to beat their newest nemesis. We all get a sense of euphoric giddiness when Mike pulls out a law or hidden clause in the contract that saves everything at the last moment.

What the TV show doesn’t (and can’t) show you in the 40 minute episode is that Mike and Harvey work their asses off. They are successful because they spend night after night reading boring case material. They sacrifice sleep and other comforts researching legal briefs and case laws. They get into the nitty-gritty, meticulously poring into the haystack over and over until they find that needle.

The treasure lies in the details, and therein lies the rub. You won’t find the diamond if you aren’t willing to dig through dirt. You can’t be successful at anything if you aren’t willing to invest time and energy diving into the details. That is the Korporate Klimber’s definition of work.

Truth is…it ain’t that easy. No matter how smart you are.

 

Your image at the office is important. Build it. Cultivate it. Defend it with your life!

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Very often, people don’t think about their image at the office. But it is so much more valuable than almost any amount of hard work you do.

Rachel had everything going for her. She was a senior manager at a very crucial role at a Fortune 50 company and had very high visibility. Her job gave her the opportunity to interact with the top level management who got to see how good she was. She was extremely smart. She knew her shit. And she worked her ass off. In fact, she had everything going for her.

But she was a complete failure at interacting with her peers and employees. She constantly yelled at her employees and she never backed away from confrontations with her co-workers…especially if she knew that she was right. Every month, there would be a new drama between Rachel and someone else at her office. She became the object of much office gossip. “OMG..Did you hear what Rachel did this time….?”

Over time, she became known as an asshole at the office. Some of her employees quit because of her and people would go out of their way to avoid interacting with her. Eventually, the senior leaders heard complaints and she was let go.

Rachel lost her job not because she was incompetent or lazy. She lost it because of her image at the office.  She was an asshole that no one wanted to work with.

The saddest part is that she never saw it coming. She only focused on being good at her job and thought that working 70-80 hours a week would be all she needed to get noticed and to get promoted. What she failed to recognize was that no matter how smart or how hard working she was, her value at the company was nothing if she couldn’t get along with the people she worked with.

The importance of your image at the office can not be over-emphasized. Every interaction you have with your employees, your peers and your bosses should leave a positive impact. The collective impressions of these interactions, no matter how small, would eventually build your reputation. And trust me…reputation travels a lot farther and faster than you can.

Building a good image doesn’t take much. All you need to do is below

a) Dress well

b) Speak clearly and confidently

c) Be reliable – don’t promise anything you can’t deliver and deliver everything you promise

d) Be good at your job…especially if others depend on you

e) Don’t be late on deliverables. Communicate immediately if you will be

f) Control your impulses. People remember the stupid shit you pulled at the happy hour or at the last holiday party.

g) Treat everyone…even the doorman…nicely. DON’T be a douche!

 

 

Share your insights on how to build a good reputation at work…

 

Traits of a high performer part III – Thump your chest

Thump your chest as much as possible. Always keep your boss in the loop & on your side

There is a common misconception that your boss is aware everything you’re doing and everything you’re involved with. This is wrong. If you don’t tell her, then she doesn’t know.  If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it….

Do you feel that your boss doesn’t acknowledge you enough or praise you enough? Are you not getting that promotion or that bonus even though you worked your ass off? It’s because you’re doing a poor job of communicating your job and your achievements.

This is the most important step in developing that perception of being a hard worker.  Your boss needs to know everything that you’re involved in and it’s your job to keep him in the loop.

Take an active and preemptive role in your relationship with your boss. You need to get in front of her as much as possible. Set up weekly (at least monthly) meetings. Discuss your goals, achievements, thoughts and anything else you can think of. Take advantage of open door policies. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated. Walk in and say hello at every opportunity you can especially if you can use that one or two mins to give her an update on the stuff you’re working on. No matter how small the issue, discuss it. Important sidebar: don’t make every interaction with your boss to only discuss problems or complain about stuff. Balance it out with updates on your achievements, solutions to problems and overall positive energy. 

Get your boss emotionally invested in you. The more invested the boss is in you, the more invested she will be in your future success. The more invested your boss is in you, the more she will do to talk about you to others (especially to her bosses).

It’s not the long hours and the hard work that make you a high performer. It’s your achievements and your deliverables that make you a high performer. The more you deliver, no matter how small, the more career success you achieve.