Making Yourself Invaluable

My brother works for a company with over 13 billion in annual revenue (not freight or LTL related).  Last week he was interviewing for a big internal promotion.  His company only promotes from within and it was down to him versus one other manager.  His overall net impact and performance far outweighed that of the other manager; however, he was not selected for the promotion.

They explained to him that although he has been extremely successful at all of his positions held at the company, the other candidate had experience within one vital division of the company that he didn’t, one in which they are focusing on heavily.  What my brother asked to do though was interesting. Instead of simply staying in his comfort zone, continuing his existing position and waiting for the next opportunity for a promotion, he requested and was granted a lateral move to managing this part of the business, which he didn’t have any experience.  Frustrating as it might have been he understood that he needed this experience and will quickly grow from it.

This is a great example of why cross training is so important.  If you want to excel within your company, you should EMBRACE every opportunity to LEARN everything you can about every part of your organization.  The more people come to you to ask for answers and rely on you, the more invaluable you become.

Cross training falls almost exactly in line with Best in Class posted yesterday.  It’s something that a lot of the time you have to proactively ask to do or ask to learn.  When you get a question that you don’t know the answer to, ask yourself, am I passing along something that might be easy for me to learn? Is this something I’ve been asked before? Is this something that might be beneficial for me to understand? Could this come in handy in the future? Is this something that’s an important part of our company?  If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, take a minute to find out the answer, to learn how to do it, or to learn about that part of your company.  Also, when you have the opportunity, proactively talk to people who you work for and ask them questions about the company you don’t know the answers to.  I love it when people ask me forward thinking and strategic questions.  It shows that people care and want to learn.

Having a working knowledge of every piece of your operation and best practices is a key part of making yourself invaluable.  How valuable are you?

Magnus Edling, VP of Business Development