You don’t close your eyes when you are driving, never use your signals or pretend there are no other drivers on the road!  However, I believe, some people treat their jobs this way.  They think their job and the company they work for will always be there, but this is not necessarily true.  When you are driving your car, you are aiming it as you travel down the road.  You have a starting point, route, and destination.  As you drive each day you pay attention to your surroundings, road conditions, laws, other drivers, etc.  That is how you get where you want safely and on time.  The same is true in the office, each day you can successfully AIM to keep yourself there.  Here is a three step technique I recommend you think about and put into action every day!

Awareness.  Be aware of what is going on around you.  This is important when driving and doing business.  Be curious and ask questions.  Seek out what is happening in other departments, your industry, and pay attention to competitors and coworkers.  Read industry publications, peruse the internet, have lunch with someone from a different department or attend association meetings for your industry.  Keep your finger on the pulse of your department, company or industry.  Know the size and nature of your customer base.  Pay attention to your competitors, even if you are in accounting.  Gain a better understanding of how your function affects other departments.  If you don’t, you may end up paying the price after a shift takes place.  I can’t tell you how many people have suffered in the last year because they didn’t do this.

Impeding.  Are you helping things flow?  Are you flexible?  Are you facilitating or impeding progress, relationships or innovation?  Think of that person who drives slowly in the fast lane on the highway – don’t be that person.  This may require some folks to increase their self awareness and enhance their sensitivity.  Make connections and get out of the way.  Don’t be one of those leaders who is so set on being the center of power and influence that they are strangling the progress of their organization.  Give credit to others.  Be the one to connect ideas, things or people and gets out of the way.

Mutual benefit.  Are you seeking to conduct yourself in a mutually beneficial way?  Do you create win/win situations and relationships?  Do you truly understand other people’s perspectives?  One thing our company has done to create win/win situations with our clients in this tough economic climate is to offer value added features at no cost.  These are things they would have incurred addition expense in the past and helps with tighter budgets.  It has been highly successful!  A reasonable expectation for mutual benefit is 80% of the time.  I believe we have to look out for ourselves sometimes (20%) to best serve others.  If we always look out for other people more than ourselves we become martyrs.

Implementing this simple technique into your everyday to-do list is easy and beneficial for you and your co-workers.  It doesn’t take much to improve the contributions you’re making to the company.  Your boss will take notice of the effort and your position will become even more valued.

About Jay Gubrud:

For over seventeen years, Jay Gubrud has helped corporations, associations, their boards and members eliminate roadblocks to their success.  His theme is unique and one everybody can relate to … Cars and Driving!  Jay’s articles on performance improvement have been in numerous publications nationwide.  You can reach Jay at and 651-635-9939.

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