How To Get Ahead in the Workplace: Know the Details

How to get ahead in the workplace? The simple answer is to know the details. That does not mean spying on information you are not privy to. What I am suggesting is for you to be sensitive to things that matter at work. Small things that matters big, things that gets you ahead at work.

1. Start With Simple Details
Like your role, work and your department. Know your boss’s habits and manage your boss. How does she work? How does she like to be updated? How does she take bad news? Know your CEO’s agenda - what is the vision, what are the greater goals, what are the big projects, pet projects, and then align your goals to those. Learn how to work with it even if you do not agree with the projects. That's how to get ahead at work. Remember, a company is not a democracy.

2. Your Company’s Brand
What is it, how is it marketed? Who are its consumers? Knowing these makes you being able to contribute? Understand that it’s a marketing world, nothing moves until something is sold, so learn how your company’s brands are sold.

Learn what it stands for in the eyes of the people who buys your company's products because those very people make your company profitable. Learn to empathize with the folks in sales and marketing especially if you are in the supply chain.

3. Budget = Resources
Know where the budgets are for hiring, for research and for the important things that matter. Too low ranking to know? It’s okay, at least have an inkling how it works. Which departments get what sort of budget? It’s good to pick things like that from the start. Eventually the numbers become important regardless which department you are with.

Learn to like numbers even if you do not like math. But resource does not equate resourcefulness, which is where you come in if your department is resource poor. Time to demonstrate your resourcefulness. That’s how to get ahead in the workplace.

4. Ownership
Take ownership of important projects but before that learn to first take ownership and deliver. Once you can deliver and have the confidence, you can take on more and more important ones. Learn to love responsibility because bosses like people who take ownership of things. It just means they have one less thing to worry. It means you will be responsible for the things that come your way and it means you can handle more.

5. Being Prepared
It means prepare for the long term, prepare for the short term and be prepared for the worst but strive for the best. Crisis will happen; work will throw you a curve ball. Learn to handle crisis when it happens. When you know details you are better prepared to handle crisis. And the details also allow you to know where to get resources to help solve it.

6. Learn To Be A General Specialist
Think of it like having a few majors and a few minors in college. That means you have main skills and you are the "go to" person. As an example, you are the best to work on project management but there is a need to work out the budget and finances of the project. What is nice is you aren’t blind to it and you can talk figures and cents with the finance person. It means you have multiple cross disciplinary skills you can use. There is no, “Ok, I can do this boss, but I am blind to this, this and this.” In a game, you can switch positions and still be comfortable with the new position and the team can still function well.

Do you know the finer details of your work? Details like your roles, your boss’s role, your company, budget, what makes the company tick and such. Work on knowing those details and how the dots connect. If you do, then you know how to get ahead in the workplace.

Can I recommend this? Invest in a copy of 101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career. I am a contributing author together with the world's 100 other career experts. It will help you answer a lot of career questions you have, how to get ahead and makes a great gift for yourself or your colleague. Check it out here.

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