How to Excel As An Employee

So, you accidentally landed or you have contemplated the cash flow quadrant and have selected E (employee) as your preferred vocational style.  This E option has many benefits and many downsides as well, just as do the S, B and I quadrants.  I would like to offer you some guidelines on How to Excel As An Employee.

Be Reliable.

Show up early by at least 15 minutes every day.  This includes days when you are sick, when your babysitter cancels, when your car breaks down, when you are in jail etc.  All of us have personal problems from time to time, and these are none of your manager’s business and to even tell your manager about them is an insulting waste of their time.

Be Positive

Your attitude REALLY matters.  Even when you are frustrated, stressed, angry, sad or are experiencing some other emotion, never let anyone see you display this attitude.  If you are grumpy and unhappy about your job, negotiate a solution with the manager, perhaps quitting.  If you choose to stay, be cheerful and work hard.

Learn Everything

Ok, this one is a big deal.  Even if you were hired as a janitor, learn everything you can about other aspects of the business, and do most of this while you are NOT on the clock.  For example, if you see the receptionist answering the phone and directing calls, why not ask her if you may watch her and maybe even help?  If you see the maintenance man changing light bulbs, offer to help.  It is wise to plan to invest at least an hour a day to continuing education, and again, do NOT do this while you are on the clock.  Once you have been at a job for 6 months, you should know YOUR job well and at least two other jobs fairly well.

If the above paragraph is “not relevant” to you, then spend that hour learning in some other way.  YouTube, Google, Khan and many other sources of FREE information await you!  As long as a topic is somewhat useful and you are interested in it, go for it!  Could it hurt to learn to tie 10 cool new knots?  How about how to install a lift-kit on a truck?  How about learning to understand P&Ls, Balance Sheets and the difference between net profit and profit margin?  SEO is a great skill to learn, as is sharpening metal blades.  Learn about propaganda, metallurgy, woodworking, typing, how to connect 50 different Bluetooth devices, how to make printers actually work and how to juggle.

Promote Your Company

Learn what the corporate goals are, and help with promoting what will accomplish them.  For example, start a Facebook page called, “Awesome Employees, Partners & Clients of Acme Company.”  Make a daily post of something positive, inspirational and that promotes your company.  An example for a motel maid could be a pic of her room check supervisor with a clipboard, “Trinna is looking cheerful and sassy today as she makes sure every single detail is perfect here at Motel 7 here in Springfield.  Ever wonder why our rooms always look so great?  Two words; “Wonderwoman Trinna!”

If your company does not provide business cards for you, grab the CEO’s card and have some similar ones made for yourself.  Be proud of your company and hand cards out when you meet folks.  Don’t ask the company to pay for these cards, they are an investment in YOU!

Attitude of Gratitude

Every single day, make a grateful comment to your manager.  An example could be, “Thanks for the opportunity today.”  Every single day, express your gratitude to a co-worker.  If you are allowed to have client or vendor contact, thank them every chance you get.  All of this gratitude needs to be genuine.  If you are not grateful and if you are unhappy and don’t like it where you are, PLEASE stop sabotaging the company by being mediocre and move on to a better opportunity!

Pick up Trash & Clean Up

OK, so at the beginning I suggested that you arrive 15 minutes early every day.  There you are in the parking lot, and you are not allowed to clock in for 10 more minutes.  What to do?  Walk the parking lot with a bag picking up cigarette butts, trash etc.  If everything looks good, use the broom you brought from your house to sweep the sidewalk and parking lot near the entrance.  When was the last time the sign by the road was cleaned?  Do any branches from the bushes block the sign?  Is there a stack of “stuff” by the side of the building that looks unsightly?  Re-stack it neatly.

Oh yeah, and if the janitor ever calls in sick, guess what you should spend all but 5 minutes of your breaks and lunch doing?  Yep, even if you are “clocked out” for lunch.  If you have already learned other people’s jobs, and someone calls in sick, offer to help with that job that day!

Be Excellent at Your Job

Oh yeah, let’s chat about why you are there.  You are a human part of a bigger system that includes people and tools.  The management humans set the course for the company, and are responsible for getting and keeping good people and and helping them be super-efficient using good machines.  They are responsible for setting the retail prices of the service or product your firm specializes in and for crunching the numbers to determine how much should be spent on tools, human labor, marketing etc.

The managers have decided that your position will help the company achieve more productivity than your cost of being there.  They have decided what tasks and tools you should use to accomplish certain tasks.  Part of being in the E quadrant is being supervised and managed by other folks.  If you don’t like it, change quadrants like I have done.

If you decide to stay, do what you have been told to do, and think creatively.  What does the company REALLY want you to achieve?  If you are in the sales dept and your tasks include making at least 10 calls per hour to acheive 10% closes equaling 8 closes each day, does the company REALLY care if you make 10 calls per hour?  NO!  Set your own goal of 10 closes per day, and contemplate how you will achieve it.  You just might think of a new technique that gets you 40% closes, which means you will likely be the highest producer in your division!

If you are a janitor, contemplate why the company chooses to spend mone on your salary rather than pocketing it.  Is it for the sake of the other employees?  Is it for the clients?  Maybe both?  What does the company REALLY want?  Chances are, they want a clean & safe place that is appealing to the senses.  They have decided that the tasks you are assigned to do will achieve this.  Do those tasks better than anyone has ever done them, and do them quickly.  Then, think about what else you could do to create a clean & safe place that is appealing to the senses.  How about printing off a cute motivational saying, using a photo editing program (that you taught yourself to use on YouTube) to make a funny and positive meme with a picture you took there at the workplace?  Put it on the wall in the break-room each week.

How to Excel As An Employee?

Be awesome, cheerful, work hard, be timely and reliable, be creative, always learn and go WAY above and beyond!  If you know how to do half of the jobs in the company, are known as the most cheerful person on campus, have never been late or called in sick and have given the company more value than you promised or they expected, guess who is likely to have that job for a long time or be promoted?

Oh yeah, I trust that you are motivated enough that if you were not familiar with the Cash Flow Quadrant, that you already did a search for the term and learned about it?  THAT is what an excellent employee would be creative and motivated enough to do.



Shepard Humphries How to excel as an employeeShepard Humphries is an entrepreneur in the luxury entertainment shooting experience industry and other sectors.  Reared in poverty in a Mennonite community in Tennessee, Shepard has organized his life to become a successful husband, father, businessperson and innovator.  Shepard is active as a principal in numerous ventures, serves as a consultant, serves on the board of several non-profits and writes about a variety of topics including shooting instruction, entrepreneurship, economics, philosophy and propaganda.

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