Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Secret to Being a Super Employee

"ABC -- Always Be Closing." -- Glengarry Glen Ross, D. Mamet

Work hard. Show up early, stay late. Smile. Have a positive attitude. Kiss Boss' ass.

Forget about all that. For me, what worked, what got me a raise, a better job, was the Secret to being a Super Employee. I was productive, efficient and the greatest asset to a company once I figured out the Big Picture and the Bottom Line.

Some jobs, like Sales, are easy to figure out. The goal is to sell the most widgets or whatever. The more you sell, the better for you and your company. But many jobs are support jobs, so what's the Big Picture?

Most support jobs (assistants, secretaries, etc) don't bring in any money. The Bosses do that. So your "true" responsiblities are to help the Boss achieve his goal -- which is to bring in more money into the company as efficiently as possible.

Real Life Job Case #1

I was an Assistant to a Motion Picture Agent. My responsiblities were: place calls, answer calls, faxing, copying, filing, etc. My Boss' job was to find jobs for his clients -- which happened only after he negotiated and closed the deal. So basically, I had to help him close as many deals as possible. I viewed all tasks with this criteria in mind and the Life of the Deal, which were:
  1. A job opens up.
  2. Boss pitches Buyer a client. If interested, send Buyer client's resume.
  3. Send client a script.
  4. Set up interview for Client with Buyer.
  5. Boss negotiates Deal.
  6. Deal Closed.
Now multiply that by 10, with dozens of deals in different phases, and I had to juggle over 300 calls a day. But once I had my goal in focus -- help Boss close deals -- I knew what to do. If there were 5 calls on hold, Buyers usually had priority, unless Client's phone call was closer to closing a deal.

With goal and Big Picture in focus, even mundane tasks like Faxing and Filing became important. Nothing happened, deals could not move forward, until I sent that Fax. If I filed correctly, the Deal Memo could be found quickly and referred to easily during negotiations for the next deal.

Of course, there were also lots of tasks that came up outside of the Goal. Things that fell in the category of Favors, or keeping Clients happy: getting them tickets to shows, copies of DVDs, etc. But once I knew the Big Picture, I knew these were lower in the priority scale and treated them as such.

If I was really ambitious, I would read scripts on my own time, offer ideas for my Boss, etc. This all goes under the Helping Boss Close More Deals criteria.

Even before I got to this advanced, ambitious level, I got my raise and I got another job offer, which I took.

The key really is finding out the Big Picture of how the company makes money and aligning your goals to that. In a supporting role, finding your Boss' goal and helping him/her to achieve it consistently. Or at least, making your Boss' job easier.

In Part II, I discuss Real Life Job Case #2, and some examples of Big Picture thinking in other jobs.

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