Office Hacks for Everyday
I wrote the above list for my nephew who started a new job last week as an analyst. Here's an explanation of each tip adapted for everyday- food for thought, if you are starting a new career, a new job, or just a new day. It's never too late to reach for your dreams or strive to change the world. What are your office hacks?
Dream Big. Figure out what you're good at, what you love to do and work at transforming good to great. Never be afraid to say, 'Here's a crazy idea..' and don't let the naysayers get you down. Pick your battles, let the small stuff go and protect your dreams at all costs. As Albert Einstein once said, "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." In 2017, it is those with imagination, passion, and courage, who will lead us into the future.
Work Hard. Try Everything. Some people think this one is about optics, but it's actually about output. Have you ever noticed the greatest leaders are the ones who worked their way up from the bottom? Roll up your sleeves and learn everything by doing. Malcolm Gladwell will tell you it takes 10,000 hours to master a craft. You will gain insights from every experience. The more you understand the challenges, roles and people around you, the better your work will be. And at the end of the day, don't forget to find time for life - your perspective and energy will be stronger for it.
Be Yourself. They hired you for a reason, so bring your authentic self to work every day. It's important to be the pro you want to be, but also remember to be generous with your style, your empathy, and your personality. Connecting with your team will make the work better, on many levels. It also helps build trust, which will be your strongest asset. As they said in the movie Step Up, "Be yourself. Life's too short to be someone else." Business is a human enterprise. So be you!
Respect Everyone. This is a good rule for life, but it becomes especially useful in the office. Playwright Wilson Mizner once said, "Be nice to people on your way up, because you'll meet them on your way down." I like the Dalai Lama's articulation of this rule even better. "Treat everyone you meet like an old friend." You will be amazed how much more enjoyable and productive the day will be, how much you will learn, and what you will reap in return. Never blame anyone, and learn from every move. The more you give, the more, you will get. It's that simple.
Ask Questions. Life is kind to the curious. No one has all of the answers and be wary of those who claim to. The world's greatest inventions have all begun with great questions. Question everything and listen hard. If you don't know the answer, say so and find out! And a word on gossip - listen to all and repeat none.
Stay True. This one is about integrity in everything you say and do. If it feels wrong in your gut, it probably is. If you think a project is about to fall off the rails, it probably is. Never compromise yourself, your team, your clients, or the work. Remember that it takes a long time to build trust and just a moment to lose it. If anyone asks you to be flexible on your values, it's time to find a new way to earn a living. Truth is a deal breaker.
Lead by Example. We are living in the age of transparency, authenticity, and opportunity. It's not what you you say, it's what you do. The best way to prove yourself is with action; it's what you do both in front and behind the scenes that matters. Momentum is contagious and you will be amazed at what happens when you push forward with grit, creativity and an open mind.
Do What You Say (And Say What You Do). Pave the way to great work and be the one everyone wants on their team. See the opportunity. Manage your own output. Be realistic about timelines. Celebrate great work. When there's a chance to do something above and beyond or a little different, go for it. It's what you are not expected to do, that will get you noticed.
Tell it like it is. Don't sugarcoat it or try to put lipstick on a pig. Don't be afraid of tough conversations. Addressing the elephant in the room will bring you one step closer to building work that works. You will sleep better and save yourself and your team time and energy.
Be the CEO of getting &^% Done. Everyone in this world has ideas. It's those who make them happen who win. Roadblocks will always arise but there is more than one way to skin a cat. Tough situations will make you stronger, so stop complaining and start solving. Tear down bureaucracy. Re-imagine solutions. Execute with determination and find new ways to get to market faster. Find faster ways to start doing what you love. Build creative ways to succeed.
BONUS: Shake hands like you mean it and remember everyone's name.
What are your office hacks?