Managing yourself creatively
…Make yourself Indispensable? CONTINUED…
One way to simultaneously grow more knowledgeable and cultivate a new sense of your own worth is to get a new appreciation of the worth of your institution. For perspective, the manager should be familiar with the history of his firm and its industry. How did it get where it is? For what innovations is it responsible? What does it contribute to society?
What about it’s centralized policies? What quality control processes do the data go through? What manufacturing processes do the raw materials go through? What inspection and quality control methods does your manufacturing plant utilize to assure product excellence? The answers to such questions are often revelations, even to top brass.
One of the very best ways to acquire this type of knowledge is to tour your company’s factory. And even if you have seen your products made, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory and enthusiasm by revisiting the factory from time to time.
Doubtlessly, you already know the people immediately under you, but how well acquainted are you with the functions and personalities of other departments? Who is responsible for (material purchase) pricing? To whom can you turn for information on your firm’s compensation (promotion) policy? How can you quickly lay your hands on copies of your company’s last half dozen (circulars) ads? Who are the resident expert on (computers) foreign markets? Once you know who they are and what they do in your (organization) firm, you’d be amazed at how much you can learn from the people with whom you ordinarily don’t come into contact.
Business is certainly business; but it is not solely business. The men who reach the top are invariably men of wide-ranging interests and accomplishments; they are as much at home amid a group of university trustees as they are at an industrial conference.
The key to their success is continual personal growth. And the secret of such growth is being interested in things and people.
You know how it is with a child. Everything he sees is transformed into a question: “What’s that”? “How does this work”? “Why are they doing such-and-such”? The world of the child is a world of wonder, which stirs his curiosity and captures his interest. Because he is interested, he is fascinated and alive. This is also the mark of the growing adult.
You can keep your own personality alive and flourishing by creating for yourself a concrete plan to improve your mind and then working at it. Begin with a subject that interests you. It may be the internal combustion engine or the philosophy of Confucius; the ice cap at the North Pole or the life of (Vivekanand) Sergeant York; the effect of space travel on the central nervous system or the economy (of our country due to recent devaluation) of early civilization. The subject may be incidental to – or entirely divorced from – your business; the important thing is that you come to life when you get into it.
Then set aside a definite time each day to read and study about it. Let nothing interfere with this. Do this regularly for a few weeks and you will soon not allow anything to stand in the way of it, for the deeper you delve, the more interested you will become. You will find yourself asking questions and seeking answers. You will discover that your subject inevitably leads to many other subjects. In the process, your horizons will expand and you will experience the pleasure of growing mentally. Others will doubtlessly recognize a new vitality in you. And you will develop into a man more worth knowing than ever.
There is a breed of man who can smell responsibility coming in his direction before it turns the corner and dodges it with the artfulness of Red Grange shaking of a Michigan tackle. His greatest ambition in life is anonymity and he usually achieves it. There is another breed of man who welcomes the challenge of the big moments; who doesn’t have to call a mass meeting every time he has to make a decision; who gets all the information he can, but then he says to himself, “Now it’s up to me”. A kind of extra muscle grows on such a man. He gets the self-starter’s habit of action and command. He does not hesitate or procrastinate. He gets things done.
If you look around for something to do when your immediate assignment is fulfilled; if you stay with a job when others would let down’ if you’re willing to show someone else how to do something – you’re the responsible kind who’s likely to get noticed. If, on the other hand, you work only upon instructions and under supervision, you should turn over a new leaf. Immediately.
Few things command more attention than old-fashioned hard work. Whether your particular “public” consists of top executives, the scientists, engineers, or a group of foreigners working in your department, your diligence on the job will speak volumes in your favor. Demand – and get – that extra effort from yourself. Make it a standing rule to go ‘beyond the call of duty”.
Writing a report? Make it the best report of your career! In charge of a project? Put in the few extra licks that can lift it out of the run-of-the-mill! Fighting a deadline? Beat it! The man who works hard every day is still rare enough to stand out in any crowd.