What can you learn from observing the top performers within your organization as well as embracing the mindset of your potential successor? Strategies to build and protect your personal brand.
While the information I share in this post will help any manager become more valuable to their employer, watching out for your career doesn’t stop here. Even as an eternally grounded optimist, it’s just good business sense to ensure you have developed a contingency plan and have it in place so that you have some additional cushion to land on in the event the bottom falls out from under you.
This could make the difference between a rapid free fall into the abyss of career uncertainty and a lateral move or even an upward career re-engineering on your part where you come out ahead. Develop your career safety net by planning for the unplanned.
Here are three things you can do to keep your job and insulate yourself from a layoff.
Observe the Top Performers
1. Become the Model Employee
What are the best of the best doing? Benchmark best practices so that you can then emulate them. Don’t wait for your boss to come and tell you what they are. By then, it’s probably too late.
2. Master the Basics
Now is not the time to take anything for granted. This includes the more obvious displays of the behavior of a model employee. And this isn’t limited to simply being on time at work and for meetings as well as meeting all of your deadlines. You also don’t want to be caught making personal calls, texting or corresponding to non-work related emails. Stay away from toxic gossip and keep your positive attitude on high.
3. Produce Stellar Work
Everyone today can rely on the excuse of being understaffed, unsupported or resource thin and always feeling under the gun when dealing with last minute demands. This certainly helps justify mediocre work. Instead, treat everything you do as the most important task of the day. That’s the champion’s creed. If you did, how would that change your output?
Embrace the Mindset of Your Successor
Imagine if you were the person who was laid off twelve months ago and has the opportunity to land a new job. How would that change your work ethic? Keep in mind, this is the person who you are competing against for your position every single day.
Develop a Contingency Plan
1. Build Out Your Network
Use social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to connect with the people you know and expand your network from there.
2. Know Who’s Hiring in Your Field
It’s important to know your options. What skills, education, and job training are employers looking for within your profession or industry? While it’s not what you want your thoughts to be consumed by on a daily basis nor be top of mind, you still need a balanced plan of attack; maintain a stellar productivity level while knowing what you can fall back on. So ask yourself, “If I was unemployed today, would I be ready to start up my new business, create my dream job or apply for the open positions tomorrow?”
3. Track Trends
This is where I suggest caution, as the pendulum of extremities can swing each way when it comes to staying current on industry events, changes and news. Reading newspapers, checking your blackberry or iphone, reading journals and trade magazines; even talking to colleagues is good practice in order to keep your ears wide open for opportunity and your finger on the pulse of activity. However, given the number of people I’ve been coaching recently, I’d think that most of us are probably indulging a little too much what the media is feeding us. The unfortunate fall out of this is, what you continually listen to you start to believe.
Be careful about overindulging in the media and the news, and invest more of your time on what you can control in the immediate moment, the quality of your work, your attitude and your productivity. Because in the end, this is what is going to keep your job.
Photo Credit: Wiertz Sebastien