A fundamental mistake that some companies make is not utilizing the talent that they have to get things done. Companies like GoGuardian, an education tech company in Silicon Beach, prides itself on “hiring the smartest people and getting out of their way.” GoGuardian isn’t the only one. Salesforce does a great job of empowering employees that want to use their gifts and talents to make the world and their workplace better.
When companies see pass the "doer" in us and recognize the "grower" in us, we can all benefit. I've seen companies outsource for skills that they already pay for. They simply make the fundamental mistake of reducing their employees to doers and not growers.
While I dedicate most of my time on Twitter speaking to startups about marketing and operations best practices, I want to take this time to speak to the employees of the companies that make this “fundamental mistake.” The truth is, we can't change the way they manage their businesses. What we can do is change our behaviors in a way that helps to establish trust and confidence in our abilities to get the job done. Here are three things you can do to help your employer see you as a grower and not just a doer.
1. Approach your manager with solutions, not problems
To gain the respect and confidence that you want from your manager and coworkers, you have to be a proactive employee. Don't just react to a command to get something done. Find the time (in your 12 hour work day) to think strategically about what's going on around you and how your skills can help. It's not enough to identify a problem. The best employees identify the problem, several solutions and the expected outcome of each implementation strategy. When you go to your manager with these three things fully developed, it builds their confidence in your ability to apply similar processes to other business units.
2. Be Prepared to defend your choices
Don't simply develop a plan to solve a problem, take the necessary time to identify rebuttals for your suggested problem solving strategy. For me, this involves writing down every possible question that may be asked. Sometimes I reach out to coworkers with knowledge in that specific business unit to play "devils advocate."
Whatever your process is, you need to be able to justify your reason for certain strategies in a way that translates to results for the company. Be sure to use data points and examples of past success (if applicable). By the way, don't simply justify your strategies, articulate them with the utmost confidence.
3. When you encounter adversity
It would be unfair if I told you to do things 1 + 2 and you'll get the respect you deserve. The fact is that since you're stepping out of the norm, opposition will be at an all time high. What happens when you present an air-tight strategy but you get shot down? Well, that depends on who you are.