The better we do at our jobs, the more we’ll succeed at life. The secret sauce to advancing in your career is exceeding expectations. I recently lost 20 pounds of fat. Nobody noticed. My fat friend lost 10 pounds. Everyone was elated.
To gain attention, you must shock people. Just doing the right thing all the time is not good enough anymore. You must exceed expectations to stand out among the crowd. Nobody cared that I lost 20 pounds because it was just normal for me to take care of my body. When my fat friend lost 10 pounds, it was a shock that he was being proactive about his weight.
So how does this apply to the workplace? If you’re going to be promoted or given a bonus, someone is going to decide that you deserve it. When they make the decision to hire you or cut you that big check, they’ll first spend a minute thinking about their general opinions of your performance. The only way to win at this game is to exceed expectations.
If you are a hard worker and always do your job well, you’re probably doomed because high performance is just normal. Here are a few ways you can easily exceed expectations and earn the reward you deserve.
Be crazy organized – My best advice is to follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done program. My favorite feature of the GTD program is that by processing in, you’re keeping information at your fingertips. Everything is neatly filed and easily accessible. This has helped me exceed expectations many times.
Delegate – Keep yourself free to focus on what will get you noticed. You’re not going to get that promotion because you are excellent at filing financial statements or addressing letters. Delegate as much as you can and give your employees a chance to exceed expectations you’ve set for them. You should be focused on the big win.
Be Prepared – Always try to have the answer. If you don’t, find it quickly. The key to exceed expectations here is to take time to prepare before attending meetings. Also, take time at the end of every day to review.
Anticipate – Dennis Rodman used to watch the ball out of the shooter’s hand. Based on where they shot from and the angle of their shot, Rodman knew where the ball would be when it ricocheted off the glass. Learn to anticipate your bosses next move and be there before the ball. You’ll exceed expectations every time he goes to look through the new contract and you’ve already reviewed it, marked important information and made notes.
Prioritize – Jack Welch once said that the quickest way to advance your career is to “find out what your boss wants, then over-deliver”. If you’re going to exceed expectations in your boss’s eyes you’ll need to over-deliver on what he wants. Use Nozbe to prioritize your projects based on what your boss wants the most.
In order to exceed expectations and advance your career, you’ll need to break away from the comfort of doing what you’ve always done and shift to doing what is uncommon for you. You are in charge of getting yourself noticed. Earn that promotion or bonus by exceeding everyone’s expectations and surprising them.
Any other ideas about how to exceed expectations? Please leave them in the comments below.