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A Tap on the Glass - Vol. 21 - Back to Basics

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By all indications, 2012 is shaping up to be a "Back-to-Basics" philosophy.  Companies will be looking very hard at what they're spending their harder-earned money on....and on who.

I'm reminded of an old saying:

What we must decide is perhaps how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

Companies will be scrutinizing staff and staff performance at near microscopic levels in 2012. It's important that you make sure that the people that need to know how YOU are valuable are well informed of your value to the company if you want to hold on to your job. Here are some tips for an employee to make the most of their "visibility":

  • Understand the system. Try to determine your company's main focus, the important decision-makers and their criteria for measuring success.
  • Understand your manager. Identify your manager's top priorities and highlight how you've worked on them often.
  • Do your homework. Be prepared with documentation to any of your major achievements this year. Know your job better than ANYBODY.
  • Think like a marketer. Emphasize the ways in which your work has specifically helped your organization's customers and contributed to its core services. Make sure your manager is aware of those ways.
  • Use numbers and examples. Instead of making broad statements, support your comments with facts and numbers, when available.
  • Tell a good story. If statistics and hard evidence are unavailable, try to provide some anecdotal support, such as a creative idea you provided.
  • Don't be defensive. Criticism from your manager should be expected, so try not to argue or snap back when confronted with a legitimate critique.
  • Deliver a surprise. If you can, try to accomplish a project, even a minor one, right before the end of a cycle is scheduled in order to give yourself a last-minute boost.
  • Show some personality. Managers are more inclined to reward employees they like, so ingratiating yourself with the boss can't hurt.

While this advice cannot guarantee successful employment in the year ahead, the tips provided here can serve as a guideline for how to approach year-end, and even day-to-day, interactions with management.

It's going to take a little more work on your part, but when the dust settles on 2012, you have a better chance of not being one of those standing in the long unemployment lines.