In today’s competitive environment, employees cannot be stagnant within their job…cannot do only what has been assigned…if success, fulfillment and growth are realistic expectations. Looking back (instead of ahead), remaining content with the present (rather than building upon the present as a step into the future), and doing what works (as opposed to seeking what might work better) are all signs of terminal stagnation. To grow we should identify and nurture “the possible” rather than accepting and hiding within “the probable” AND avoid a few pitfalls that could limit your potential!
Continually upgrade your skills...refuse to accept “what is” as “what will always be.” What was once necessary to maintain a life-long job is no longer sufficient in today’s ever-changing world. An HR Professional will not survive without updating his or her understanding of current employment legislation. A production worker probably cannot be blind to automation and statistical process control techniques. Employees who “fail to know” typically fail to grow.
Do not confuse efficiency with effectiveness…or worse, keeping busy with being productive. An e-mail may be efficient, but a conversation could more effectively resolve an issue without extended “replies and clarifications.” Effective employees make sure that every investment of time and/or energy has a direct and measurable impact on their organization’s ability to conduct business.
NEVER believe you are irreplaceable. If an employee feels that nobody could EVER do what he or she does, that employee has probably limited what he or she can accomplish. If nobody else can do your job, then you never get time to do anything other than your assigned tasks. Individuals who believe they are “critical” to the Organization within their limited and specialized role do not foster growth, they simply reinforce stagnation and the acceptance of mediocrity.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you know all the answers. Employees who know all the questions are perhaps more valuable than those who feel they know all the answers. One can truly contribute to their organization ONLY after identifying the limitations of current systems, policies and procedures, asking questions as to how they might be improved, then moving forward towards more effective solutions.
NEVER forget (or refuse) to give credit to others…particularly when blame is assigned to others should they fail. Employees who recognize and acknowledge the ideas and actions of those who make things happen – and take the blame if things go wrong – will win loyalty, be recognized as leaders, and become vital contributors to their Organization’s growth.
Take time to plan where you are going, think about how you will get there, and maintain a realistic perspective along the way. We rarely rise to the top without occasionally sinking towards the bottom but will NEVER float upon the surface unless we are willing to enter the water.