This is a guest post from Ben Fanning, author of The Quit Alternative.
Maybe you’ve fantasized about quitting, but you’re not ready to give up your steady paycheck, 401k, or insurance?
There is a quit alternative. Transform your current job into a job you love by engaging with it’s full potential, marshaling the resources around you, and seizing the opportunities that are there for the taking.
Ten Strategies to Boost Your Reputation and Become an Expert
A great way to start transforming your current job is to boost your reputation and become an expert at work that inspires you, as discussed in The Quit Alternative: The Blueprint for Creating the Job You Love…Without Quitting. This provides job security and even leverage to negotiate on your own behalf to create the job you love.
Here are ten strategies for becoming an expert at work that inspires and motivates you. Some of these strategies might seem over the top for someone working within an organization, but the good news is that you don’t have to do them all to establish yourself as an expert. Taking on one or two will set you apart.
- Do the motivating work exceptionally well. When you perform very well, you become known as the person to turn to for similar assignments in the future.
- Talk up your motivated work wins. Share your excitement over wins doing work you love in meetings, conference calls, lunches, and happy hours.
- Write and present on your motivating work wins. Volunteer to write a case study for your company’s website or newsletter.
- Quantify, quantify, quantify. Numbers often speak louder than words inside an organization. Measure and calculate the impact of the work. These become great points to emphasize in your annual review, resume, and LinkedIn profile. Even if you’re not a huge Excel fan (like me), it’s time to dust off your skills and get to quantifying. You can quantify and call out impact in any of these areas to make a powerful statement:
- Revenue: How does your motivating work increase revenue for the company?
- Cost savings: How does your motivating work save the company money versus what was spent in the past?
- Cost avoidance: How does it avoid cost increases that you anticipate in the future?
- Pay terms: How will it help your company get paid more easily or more quickly?
- Customer satisfaction: How does it help retain customers or encourage them to buy more?
- Employee retention: How does it reduce employee turnover or increase their engagement? How does it increase their productivity?
- Idea generation: How does it increase creativity, ideas for new products, or potential solutions?
- Cycle time: How does it affect the speed to market of new products or processing of new orders?
- Quality: How does it get better products out more consistently?
- Share how it helps your boss, department, and coworkers. In addition to quantifying the impact, it’s important to underscore the benefits to the people you work alongside. When they benefit from you doing motivating work, they’ll be more likely to support you going forward.
- Visibility: Does it promote other accomplishments of the group?
- Ease: Does it ease the work day for those around you?
- Bigger and Better: Will it lead to even bigger results for the team?
- Speak at town hall meetings. Offer to share a case study (code for the story of a win in your motivating work area) at a town hall meeting in front of the organization.
- Contribute to company forums. Share helpful news and tips about your specialty area on the company’s forums, including the intra-web and company LinkedIn group. (Consider starting one if the company doesn’t have one.) The beautiful part is that you can just share industry news or articles in the area you want to move into, and this will boost your expert status.
- Build your network in an area outside the organization. Look up LinkedIn groups in your interest area and mix it up online. Seek out related conferences so you can build relationships with experts outside of your company.
- Get interviewed in the media. Sometimes you have to run this by your company first, but doing interviews in your area of expertise builds your reputation internally, too.
- Speak at conferences. Public speaking in general boosts your reputation as an expert, but speaking on a larger platform helps it grow more quickly—especially when you speak with other experts at a conference or on a panel.
For instance, Annie’s most motivating work occurred when she worked directly with external vendors and customers to solve problems. The challenge was that most of her job was sitting behind her desk on the computer. She was an introvert and had a reputation as someone content to stay in her office all day, but this just wasn’t the case. Her campaign for getting more of the work she loved started when she volunteered to speak on an industry panel at a conference. Then she forwarded the conference link around her organization. Her colleagues began to perceive her as an expert, and she started to receive invitations to participate in more external meetings, which she loved. She began to find her work day far more motivating.
Note that although I list strategies to build your reputation both inside and outside the company, organizations often place greater value on building your expert status outside the company. The takeaway is to work through both channels.
Now, select one of the strategies above and notice the difference it makes.
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