8 Tips for Anyone Who Wants to Take Control of Their Success

1.)    Mind your –ilities. A big factor in whether or not you move up is how you’re perceived at work and you can build a solid reputation IF you mind your –ilities. These are things like punctuality (do you show up for work on time), humility (are you eager to learn from others), accountability, dependability, reliability (do you keep your word), and so on.

2.)    Send Your Boss a Friday Memo. Each week, take 10 minutes and send your boss a quick, bulleted email list of your accomplishments, areas where you need input, and goals for the week ahead. This is an invaluable communication tool.

3.)    Embrace Your Inner Gene Kelly. Gene Kelly wasn’t the best singer and he wasn’t the best dancer – but he appeared to be because he was a master of the incremental edge. Examples of “Gene Kelly Dance Steps” at work include handwritten thank you notes, responding to all calls and emails by the end of the day, remembering the names of your coworker’s children, etc. Especially these days, “little” things like this are actually quite big.

4.)    Create a 5×5 List. Every night or every morning (before you turn on your computer), create a list of the top five things you have to do that day. List them in order of priority and then make it your priority to knock them out one by one. You can take breaks in between each item to respond to email, but you can’t go online and check Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ until they are ALL complete.  Try this for a month and watch your productivity shoot through the roof.

5.)    Don’t Run From Adversity. When faced with a difficult situation, our first inclination is usually to avoid it, but this is not what top performers do. Instead, they jump in with a focus on resolving the issue at its root. This is important training because the more responsibility you acquire in your career, the more problems you will have to solve. If you prove that you can handle them effectively, trust me, you will get the attention of your supervisors.

6.)    Don’t Expect a lot of Hand-Holding. Businesses are running lean and mean these days so there isn’t much extra time for high-maintenance employees. If you want to get noticed, you should focus on bringing solutions with your problems, trying to find the answer to your questions before firing off emails to colleagues, and trying to see beyond your circumstances to the bigger picture of your company’s goals. Case in point: One of my clients had an employee who complained bitterly and loudly that the company’s Christmas party had been canceled. It’s worth noting that this was in 2008, when many people in his industry were fortunate to even have a job, much less a celebration. 

7.)    Get Organized. Employees sometimes mistakenly think a messy desk is a sign to others that they’re important and have a lot going on, but it doesn’t work. To outsiders, a cluttered desk is a sign of procrastination and stress. Best plan is to deal with everything you can the moment it arrives and – if you can’t – create a “file pile” on your desk. Then, every Friday, schedule time in your calendar to go through it, completing items or pitching as needed. You’ll appear on top of your game and start the week fresh.

8.)     Make Your Work Look Like a Million Bucks. This is an easy but effective way to stand out. You simply take the time to make all of your work look worth the money you’d expect clients to pay for it. This means taking a few minutes to add a logo to your work plans, to color shade your budgets, to use a font that’s not Times New Roman. Try it and you’ll notice others will value the work more – even if the text stays the same.

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