‘I am just doing my job’ has been uttered out of the mouths of employees for years. But, what exactly is your job?

I travel a lot and it constantly amazes me how most employees are ‘just doing their jobs’, whilst only some are ‘doing a fantastic job!’ It is rare to see someone really going ‘above what is necessary’ to do an unbelievable job. A spirit of excellence & real servant leadership seems rare to find these days. Mediocrity is accepted.

Everybody loves good service and dislikes poor service and yet most employees do just enough to get by, just enough to not get fired.

My first job was stacking shelves at a supermarket after school and at night and it could become quite boring. I was taught ‘whatever you do, do it 110%!’ I worked harder and faster than anyone else and got done sooner. I would then ask my supervisor for additional work and looked for ways to help him. In just a few months I was promoted to a different job and given a pay raise.

The other guys asked me to slow down otherwise they would have to do more just to keep up with me. That was my first experience of someone not liking me being such a Go Getter.

It’s easy to stick out from the crowd because most people are doing an average job! If you want to get promoted it is pretty easy! Stick out from the crowd and go above and beyond what is ‘just your job’. Ask for more work than what you get paid for. This idea goes against the mentality of ‘entitlement’ or ‘you owe me a job with benefits, holidays and sick time.’ I learned quickly that if I thought of ideas to make my boss’s job easier, then I made myself more valuable and indispensable! Now, that is job security.

Here is an interesting thought : what is the conversation behind closed doors or at a company managers meeting when your name comes up for an annual review?

Is it…

‘Sally is the first one here and the last one to leave and always has a cheerful, can do attitude. The next time a managers position comes open we should consider her for the position. This young lady has got a lot of potential and we need to invest in her for the long term. We would really miss her if she ever left.’

Or is it…

‘Jim does what he is asked to do, but never any more. In fact he does it with a bad attitude, almost grumbling under his breath. He seems to always be running late and has an excuse for every project being incomplete or late. He is an okay guy but if I knew his real work ethic I would have never hired him. If he decided to leave and go elsewhere it would be easy to replace him.’

Richard Branson in his company Virgin says ‘hire for attitude and train for skills’. It is easy to hire a ‘work processor’ but is hard to find a ‘work creator’. It is easy to hire people who are like little robots. It is tougher to find people who really think for themselves about how they can add value to their employer. People who think as an entrepreneur and asks ‘If this was my business what would I do ?’ end up making themselves impossible to replace.

I have a formula for a Guaranteed promotion!

One of the best pieces of advice I could ever give someone working for someone else is treat the business like it was your own. Make it your goal to learn every job you can in the business and train up others to take your place at each position. Learn each job so well that they have to promote you! Make yourself such a valuable asset that they cannot afford to lose you.

What if they don’t promote you? Well, if you have learned everything so well that you know all the ins and outs – go start your own business and you be the owner! If they aren’t smart enough to promote you internally then go become their competition.

At 19 years old I worked for a company as a sales rep. Within 12 months I was the number 2 sales rep and I was promoted into management at 21 years old to oversee 90 sales people. By age 24 I was passed over to take over the office and told I could not get the next position until I was 30 years old, no matter how good of a job I did.

Now, that demotivated me at my job but it woke me up to becoming my own boss. A few months later I left the company and started at A.L. Williams where I was in business for myself but not by myself. I was so excited that I could now take the people skills I had learned the previous 5 years and go on to build something for myself with mentors who wanted me to win. I have never looked back and it was the best career decision I ever made!

So, whether you want to have your own business or get a promotion, if you ‘give it 110%’ and go above and beyond your call of duty, while I cannot guarantee you will become a millionaire, I can guarantee you will be a million miles ahead of the person who just can’t be bothered to go the extra mile and is ‘ just doing their job’.