Thursday, August 10, 2017

How to Become One of the Boss's Favorites

I'm all for work/life balance and making sure that you're not headed for burnout by working too much.

But that doesn't mean you go to work and just warm a chair every day, doing just enough to make sure you keep your job.

A recent study shows why such an attitude can be dangerous to your job security -- and could hurt your career and earning power in the long run.

A study by VitalSmarts of 1,594 managers and employees shows that top-notch employees are seen as three times more valuable to the organization that the average employee. (Such top performers were ranked as 9 or 10 on a performance scale.)

Further, these productive employees are also responsible for 61 percent of the total work done in their departments. They are more likely to finish projects they start; less likely to let things fall through the cracks; don't miss deadlines; and less likely to have overflowing inboxes.

Well. You may think that's just fine and dandy. Let these top performers do most of the work, and you'll keep doing your job and finding enough time to check Facebook every hour or play "Word Cookies" on your phone.

But if that's your attitude, think back about 10 years. Remember the economic meltdown where thousands of people lost their jobs? Who do you think was let go first? The people who just warmed the chair every day or the top performers who did the most valuable work?

Also, consider that no boss promotes someone who isn't a 9 or 10, and such a worker certainly doesn't earn bonuses or garner significant annual pay raises. A so-so work performance is not only affecting you now, but could cut into the amount of money you earn over your career.

If you think it might be time to improve your work performance, here are some phrases that bosses use to describe top performers and average performers, according to the survey:

Communication Practices:
·         Top Performers: “Ask for help”, “Not afraid to ask questions”, “Know who to go to”, “Know when to ask” 
·         Average Performers: “Lack of communication”, “Slow to respond”, “Don’t listen”, “Complain” 
Productivity Practices: 
·         Top Performers: “Organized”, “Good time management”, “Attention to detail”, “To do lists”, “Keep track of”, “Block time on their calendar”, “Prioritize”, “Stay on top of their work” 
·         Average Performers: “Not enough time”, “Lack of attention”, “No follow through”, “Too busy”, “Late”, “Disorganized”, “Don’t meet deadlines”, “Not on task”

Researchers offer these productivity practices of top performers:
1.       Collect everything that owns your attention. Capture all commitments, tasks, ideas, and projects rather than keeping them in your head. Use just a few “capture tools” you keep with you all the time such as lists, apps, email, etc.
2.       Decide what your stuff means to you. Clarify if the items you’ve captured have an action or not. If they do, be very clear about what the VERY next action is and who should take it.
3.       Use the two-minute rule. If an action can be completed in two minutes or less, do it immediately. Don’t defer. The time you’ll waste letting these simple actions occupy your attention and to-do list is not worth it—two minutes becomes your efficiency cutoff.
4.       Do more of the right things by reflecting in the right moments. Rather than diving into your messy inbox first thing, take two minutes to review your calendar and your action lists. This reflection ensures you make the best decisions about how to use your time.
5.       Review weekly. Keep a sacred, non-negotiable meeting with yourself every week to re-sync, get current, and align your daily work and projects with your higher-level priorities.

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