the president was looking for and that no one was providing. By the next manufacturing update meeting, Scott was ready with his presentation.
“By the time I finished, everyone was looking at my charts and the president was smiling,” Scott glee- fully reported. As it turns out, Scott could add one more skill to his list: training his replacement! Scott had been promoted.
Rule #2: Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out
Corporate protocol, such as dress codes, set procedures, and other rules and regulations, is how a large corporation maintains a systematized approach to doing business. But compliance with this protocol doesn’t mean you can’t be an individual. Many of the most successful corporate professionals we know toe the company line, but don’t give up their individuality to do it. And the differences you display could end up being your strongest assets.
The three areas where you can stand out most are in the way you dress, the way you think and the risks you take. The farther you stray from corporate or industry norms, the more vulnerable you become. But if done right-and for the right audience-you can expect success. We’re not suggesting you break corporate rules or go beyond set boundaries. For example, if dress codes call for women to wear dresses only, you shouldn’t push beyond the limit by wearing pants.
Or if you work in a library, you shouldn’t replace the classics with Cliffs Notes. Yes, you would stand out, but you’d probably also be thrown out. We are suggesting that thinking differently, and taking calculated risks, can help you create a niche for yourself-even in corporate America.
Rule #3: Focus on a Specific Need Your Target Audience Has and Then Do Everything You Can to Meet That Need
We know this sounds simple, but it is often overlooked as we move through our careers, so we can’t emphasize it enough. Many, many careers were built on this one point. In our experience, most successful managers-no matter at what level-have a strong “number two,” that is, someone directly below them who works extremely well with them. They become a team and rely on each other tremendously. That’s why it’s not unusual for someone to be promoted or move to a different company and take their “number two” with them. How you become this indispensable is by finding a need that your boss, your division or your company needs filled and filling it.
Carol Crafton has a very demanding career as a sales broker-a middleman between a manufacturer and the retail stores she is trying to sell to. But not only does she have to keep the manufacturer and retailer happy, she must keep the goals and objectives of her own company in mind as well. It’s a difficult balancing act, but Carol has always made herself indispensable to both.
Carol confides, “Because I do my homework so well, I really do know what’s best for each of them. And they trust I’ll do what is right.” Carol’s secret? She has figured out, and focused