Not surprisingly, employees rarely speak the same language as employers or managers–until they become one themselves. That language? The language of Achievement.
Something I find interesting, as only someone who does what I do could, is once candidates become employees and start doing their jobs, seldom, if ever, do they talk or think about the ways their individual efforts contribute to the overall mission or stated goals of the company. They just become a part of “the team”—which, from an employer’s point of view, is a good thing. While I support the “team” (nothing gets done without a team!), I strongly believe in an individual’s need to express what s/he consistently brings to the table.
Even senior managers who are “in the loop,” “plugged in,” and offering well thought out direction and guidance on the company’s next big initiative, rarely, if ever, stop to consider how what they do individually contributes to the overall prosperity and success of the organization. I know this to be true. I have worked with several and guided many into their next position.
This should be reason enough for you to always have a quantifiable performance inventory at hand and the confidence to speak up for yourself on an as-needed basis, as well as on an “irregular-regular” basis when the opportunity presents itself. With this in mind, let me offer you one of my time-tested mantras:
“Your work does not speak for itself. You do.”
But before you speak about yourself, you have to know what you’re going to say beyond the fact that you are occupying a desk from 8 to 5, five days a week. There is nothing wrong with keeping a seat warm, but being on time does not garner the same attention (or the bonus or the promotion) that telling someone how you made a difference does. How did you impact the company’s mission? How do you make the company money? How did you save a bunch of bucks? This is the kind of information you should have at your fingertips.
What & Wow
Success is about “What & Wow.” A very narrow, dictionary-type definition of accomplishment is “something that has been done successfully.” My definition of What & Wow incorporates this elementary definition but goes a leap further. What & Wow consists of you having successfully achieved something you are proud of and then taking the time to share that success with your coworker(s) or your immediate supervisor(s) or that SVP you occasionally ride up the elevator with.
“What” describes what you did (duh!) while “Wow” is what you will hear from someone as you share your success(es) with them.
“Wow” is usually followed by, “Tell me more,” and “How you did that?” Wow is a good thing. You will learn a lot about your Wow’s in my new book, Leveling the Paying Field, as well as how to successfully share them. Remember that you may have to ‘shape your Wow’ a bit depending on who your audience is. Senior management/employers think and speak in terms of Goals. Individuals and mid-management tend to speak in terms of today’s, this week’s, this month’s achievement(s).
What?! Not comfortable sharing your wins? I’m not surprised. You wouldn’t be the first person I have worked with who was uncomfortable with the idea of talking about themselves, but ::: breathe in, breathe out ::: I do not promote bragging. On the contrary, I’m simply suggesting that appropriately sharing your personal wins could make all the difference between just being paid and being paid really well. What this is about is informing others of your personal wins and how the organization is also winning as a result. Bragging is bad. Informing is good. And appropriate. And professional.Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash