What’s Your Secret Weapon In Today’s Work Environment?
Hayley finally landed a job with a very large corporate firm. It has been an agonizing 2 years since she graduated from the University of Iowa.
The student loan bills she accumulated were astronomical and she was breathing a little easier now that she had a job.
She struggled over those 2 years because she just did not have a life and she was still living with her parents. She didn’t mind that so much, but it was time to move on.
She knew this was a good opportunity and she intended to take full advantage of it. Hayley began immediately thinking how she could improve her worth for the company.
Those 2 long years after college with no job taught her a few lessons. The times she would go out with friends that had jobs, she would listen intently and listen to them complain.
So many times Hayley thought to herself, “I would kill to have any kind of job.” Her friends that were complaining about how miserable were actually an inspiration to her.
Hayley always had it pretty easy growing up. Her parents, like so many other parents, gave her too much without any expectations.
Hayley only learned this lesson when she was unemployed for 2 years and she knew if she was going to make it in the world no one was going to hand it to her.
This was a hard lesson to learn, but she was going to make the most of it. She knew it was important to fit in with her co-workers and not give the impression she was better than other people.
She also knew it was important to contribute to help the company get better. One of the things she learned from her father was to always improve and get better.
When Hayley turned 16, she got her driver’s license. Her father was adamant about her not texting while she drove. Too many kids that Hayley knew were getting into accidents because of texting.
Hayley’s father encouraged her to listen to audio CDs about self-improvement and leadership.
After 8 years, Hayley understood the wisdom of what her father was trying to instill in her. She really liked the education she was getting in her car.
Hayley always thought that there is all this great technology out there, but too few people are using it to better themselves. Hayley was proud to have 8 years of audio car training under her belt.
It was like getting a master’s degree and she knew exactly how she would apply what she learned on those CDs to her knew job.
She knew workers were afraid to be leaders because they didn’t have the title to back it up. She also knew that even the newest employee in an organization could make a big difference.
Hayley learned not to use terms like, “I think this might be a good idea” or “I didn’t know if this will work, but” or “I have an idea”.
People in leadership positions view that as an opportunity to pick apart your idea. One of the important lessons Hayley learned during her extensive CD lessons was come up with solutions and not ideas.
For example, when Hayley first started her new job, she thought there were inefficiencies in how the company created meeting material for the monthly executive meetings.
She was smart enough to realize that if she was going to propose a solution, she had to be clear on why this was a problem and how it could save the company money.
After 3 consecutive meetings, Hayley saw a clear pattern. One of the office administrators spent an entire 12 hours creating the packets for the executive team.
This was a day and a half that the person in charge of this task was taken away from her real duties. But was this enough to make a decision on changing the strategy?
Hayley called 4 vendors and told them what she needed. She had a figure in her head before she called because she wanted to have something to negotiate with.
Two of the vendors came in much higher than she wanted and she excluded them immediately. The other two vendors came in much lower than the time it was taking an internal employee to complete the job.
Confident that she had a viable solution, Hayley went to her boss and explained that there was a problem that could be easily fixed at a lower cost to the company.
As Hayley was describing the scenario to her boss, James, he was very happy that one of his employees came up with a solution to a problem.
Hayley told Robert that it took a minimum of 12 hours for an employee to get the meeting materials ready for the monthly executive meetings.
According to the salary this employee received, that was about $220.
James was getting ready to say, “So what, saving $220 is not that big of a deal.”
Hayley was prepared for James to respond that way. Here’s why this solution works out so well for the company, Hayley said.
Over a year’s time that number now becomes $2640. And let’s not forget that it is equivalent to that worker calling in sick 18 days.
Hayley told James that unless you look at this in practical terms, it might not seem like a big deal. But come on, 18 days is almost like some one taking the whole month off.
James was smiling inside. He was proud that Hayley came up with a solution that really made sense.
Hayley showed her leadership without having a title. Even though she has been with the company for a short period of time, she wasn’t afraid to demonstrate fiscal leadership skills.
What skills are you holding back? In today’s tough work environment, working hard means nothing; everybody does that.
Having a great attitude, constantly learning and providing leadership is what keeps you above the rest.
What is your secret weapon? Don’t be afraid to use it, but make sure you have thought it out like Hayley did.