Traits of a high performer part II – Know your shit

Know your shit! Become an expert at your job

Become a subject matter expert as soon as possible. You want to become the person people think of first when they have a question.

As soon as you join a new position or take on a new role, jump head first into it. Take ownership of that role. Don’t be a passive learner during the transition period. Take control and ask questions with the aim to re-assess the job. In fact, question everything. Why is this process being done? What value does this report provide? Who is the audience? Is there a better way to access this information?

When you’re new at a job, you can ask as many seemingly stupid questions as you want because at the end, there are no stupid questions.

By performing a critical review of your new responsibilities and by spending those long hours on learning everything you can about your role itself, the technology used and the people you interact with, you can, within a short period of time, become the subject matter expert.

The next step is to make sure everyone around you perceives you are the expert that everyone relies on.  You do this by making sure you speak up and offer an opinion any time a discussion mentions your area of expertise. At meetings, at events and even informal get-togethers, whenever your subject matter comes up, express an opinion. And be smart about what you say. Think before you speak. Make sure that whatever you say, adds value to the conversation.

As you become to go-to person for your field of expertise, you put yourself on “top of mind” for anyone who has a question.

This makes you valuable.

And this makes you promotable.

Take initiative to improve existing processes

 Don’t just do what you’ve been taught during your training. Instead, once you’ve mastered your role (should take no more than six months) begin implementing changes to make your role better and your job easier. Look for opportunities to improve as much as possible. Change the status-quo!

Creatively think of ways to simplify complicated processes. Get rid of any part of your job that does not add any value, whether it’s a monthly report or a data pull or an analysis. Find out who uses it. If you can’t find anyone that truly benefits from your work…then don’t do it.

By making noise about how the current process is ineffective and by implementing improvements, not only are you making your life and the lives of those you interact with easier, you’re also letting your boss and senior leaders know that you’re not just someone collecting their paycheck but hat you’re someone who’s invested in the company and dedicated to making it better. You are not just a complainer, like hundreds of others around you. You are a doer! You take initiative. You are perceived as someone who can take on a new role, master it and then go fix it.

At big companies, there are a lot of complainers but not enough fixers. When you’re perceived as a problem solver, you’re no longer pigeon-holed into a specific role or skill sets. You’re not just an expert at one thing. You’re an expert at problem solving.

You’re someone who can be relied upon to problem solve other areas.

When you become reliable, you become promotable.



(cont. in part III – Thump your chest)


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