To date, my posts have been about job search advice. This time I’m going to switch gears and share my top ten rules about how to be successful once you’ve landed that job.
Too often, I see young, inexperienced new employees get started on the wrong foot. It’s typically not because they don’t try hard or don’t care, but rather that they simply don’t yet know what skills are most important to develop in order to be successful.
Consequently, many years ago I created a list of the “rules” that, as a manager, I felt were most important for my staff to follow. I’ve modified these ten rules several times, to more specifically tailor them to the groups I was managing at the time, but the general rules themselves are timeless and apply to any position.
I typically had these out to my employees within my first 60 days of any management position I’ve held. This way, my people know the traits that I feel are important for success and there are no surprises when it comes to performance reviews. Over the years, I’ve found that employees who mastered these rules were almost without exception successful and the ones most likely to be promoted. Give these rules an honest shot and see if you’re career doesn’t take a turn for the better!
SERVICE TO YOUR CUSTOMERS IS PARAMOUNT
When it comes to ease of use, solving problems, or providing information, your customer’s needs are more important than your convenience. If you have to do more work to make it easier on the customer, do it. There is no better way to build a reputation in the workplace and no worse way to destroy it.
STRIVE FOR HIGH QUALITY IN ALL THAT YOU DO
People will remember high quality long after they have forgotten that something was done on time or in large quantities. Remember, your reputation usually depends more on customer satisfaction than anything else. And customer satisfaction depends more on quality than anything else.
BUILD A REPUTATION FOR GETTING THINGS DONE ON TIME
If you are faced with a choice of doing something right or doing it on time, you must always choose doing it right. But if you can consistently combine doing it right and on time, you will become a very important employee.
DO NOT SUBSTITUTE OPINION FOR PROPERLY RESEARCHED FACTS
This is a cardinal sin because it leads to unilateral decision making and is indefensible in the event you are wrong. Find out what the situation really is before taking action.
NEVER ATTEMPT TO CHANGE A PROCESS OR PROCEDURE WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE AND INPUT OF THE PEOPLE USING IT
Unless you just came into your current job from your customer’s side of the house, their world may be different from what you perceive it to be. Never trust yourself to know what your customers want – you must ASK them. Without such a reality check, you changes will fail.
LEARN THE BUSINESS YOU ARE IN
Unless you take the trouble to learn the business you are in, not just the position you are in, you cannot truly consider yourself a professional. A well-rounded knowledge of your business is now increasingly necessary just to keep pace with your peers.
DEVELOP A REPUTATION AS A TEAM PLAYER
If you develop a reputation for getting along well with your co-workers, actively seeking out and helping others, willingly taking on tasks not necessarily in your job description but that need to be done, the respect accorded you as a professional will skyrocket.
DO NOT TRY TO CON YOUR CUSTOMERS, YOUR ASSOCIATES OR YOUR BOSS
It’s a great temptation to use your superior technical knowledge to explain in unintelligible terms why something you don’t want to do can’t be done. But eventually you will underestimate someone’s knowledge, be found out, and classified as untrustworthy.
PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL
This does not mean become obsessed with detail to the point of being unproductive. It means making an honest effort to consider all aspects of a situation before taking action, and to perform your work to a level of detail sufficient to ensure excellent quality.
BUILD A NETWORK OF CONTACTS THAT WILL HELP YOU GET THINGS DONE
We are – and will increasingly be – dependent on other area’s systems, expertise and cooperation. Develop relationships with key people in other areas that you must depend on to get your work done. These people are not always the bosses. They are the experts and doers upon whom a project’s success or failure is frequently dependent. If you master the above rules, you will likely be one of them.