Many people have spent their life, up to now, deciding on how they will advance their career. The advice to work harder seems impractical and working smarter feels more welcoming. For the career minded person, it may be about understanding the norms. Will you advance your career?
Life is full of averages. The things that we feel, see, and experience are always based on our expectations and perceptions.
Averages and Norms
Fifty years ago we couldn’t carry a telephone in our pocket, access information or data by sliding and swiping, or watch a video on a three inch by five inch electronic device. Today it is expected.
In the workplace, we deal with average people. They are the people who do what is expected. Their contributions are normalized on the bell curve. It is where most of the mass is located. Certainly, there are people on both sides of the median, but what is expected is something close to the middle.
The other ten to twenty percent are different. They are either failing in their attempt to be acceptable, or they are on the side where their performance is well above the norm.
Above the norm is rare. Expectations drive output, even the hardest workers sometimes relax because doing more than the norm doesn’t often feel like it matters. People blend in, fill gaps, adjust, slow down, and deliver less.
Extra effort will advance your career because it represents a surprise.
The person who delivers exceptional customer service does so because it represents a surprise. Can you recall one of your best customer service experiences? When you do, it is because it was a surprise. It was more than what was expected.
Advance Your Career
Extra effort and the surprise represent what you may need to do to become visible, memorable, and to keep moving. It isn’t about showing up, it is about showing up with a surprise.
Extra effort doesn’t cost nearly what it is worth. Having similar or even less pay in some cases isn’t the point. The point is that your extra effort will advance your career because it isn’t about what you are paid for it, it is about what you become for it.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.