Become Indispensable

How To Triumph During Times Of Rapid Change

trapeze-catcher-smI am most times the oldest guy in the room. And I am only 53. Where did everyone else go? What happened to all those colleagues who somehow are now somewhere else- off the radar? How did I survive to still be in the room, contributing, learning? Here’s how. Simple. Powerful.

This ‘change’ thing is pretty damned confusing, and frightening. When the rate of change inside a company is slower than the rate of change outside that company- then the end is in sight. So too with our careers- if we are not evolving our ‘value proposition’, then the clock is ticking before we will no longer be ‘on the team.’ Harsh- but true.

But stay calm- here is one idea to help shape the way you respond to the challenges of change- as a business, and as an individual. It’s very simple. In fact- just two words. Here they are:

Become Indispensable.

Huh? Sounds pretty straight forward, but how?

For businesses, remember- clients do NOT see you as a partner. Outraged? Here’s why I say this. If I stuff up with my clients two times in a row (maybe three at a pinch), what happens? Yes- Kapow! I am fired. These are supplier relationships. Partnerships are far more enduring- and tend to be only within our most personal relationships.

So we have to become absolutely indispensable to clients. We do this by becoming Trusted Advisors. Here we build perceptions with clients around three things:

  1. Credibility– we are genuinely credible in what we say, what we claim expertise in, as counsellors
  2. Reliability– we are proven as being true to our word in all we do, accessible and consistent
  3. Intimacy– our relationship with the client goes beyond just an ‘order taker’- we build genuine bonds as individuals.

But it’s not enough- we also have to become proactive business problem solvers. We have to know the client business so well that we can identify issues, and take proactive, relevant ideas to the client that solve problems. Do that, and you become indispensable.

For our careers, we have to constantly be working on our professional personal ‘brands’, evolving our offers. Remember, if you are green, you grow; if you are ripe, you rot. Do not rest on your laurels. What got you to where you are today will NOT get you to where you need or want to be tomorrow. So, get very serious about working on yourself as a project- work on yourself harder than you do your job. Take your brand seriously. Here’s how:

  1. Do I deliver powerful outcomes? Am I someone who delivers results, consistently, on time, on budget? How can I sharpen my efficiency and effectiveness? How can I be an ‘outcomes’ ninja?
  2. Am I expert in something? What is it about me that my colleagues will say I am particularly good at- that they turn to me for help in? How can I deepen my expertise in that area and become even better and more famous? How can I add a new area of expertise and depth to my capabilities toolkit?
  3. Do I think enough about, and have a point of view about, the future? It’s not enough delivering great outcomes and being an expert in something, I also need to have one eye firmly on ‘what next’, and to alert my supervisors about the trends and likely changes afoot. They are so busy they don’t always have time for this. If I am known as someone thinking ahead- anticipating and alerting- then I am even more valuable and indispensable.
  4. Do my colleagues see me as supportive and trustworthy? All the above matters naught if I am not seen as a good colleague and someone people want beside them. Am I doing enough to build relationships, do the right thing, supporting others?

Become Indispensable….. as a business to your customers, as an individual to your colleagues and supervisors. If they still don’t appreciate you, relax- plenty of others will. Get started now. Make a list. Set deadlines. Review regularly. Do this- and I’ll see you in the future –happy, successful, fulfilled!

Become Indispensable

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8 Responses to How To Triumph During Times Of Rapid Change

  1. Glenn Cogan March 26, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    Thanks Chris, appreciate this. I am sharing this with my production team today. Wise words indeed, Glenn.

    • Chris Savage March 27, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks Glenn

  2. Joanne March 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    Thanks Chris
    This is perfectly timed for my thinking of ‘what next’ in my professional life at age 56. Many of my colleagues are ripening and heading out for retirement. I’m still ‘green’ and eager to learn 🙂

    • Chris Savage March 27, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Good to hear Joanne!

  3. Tony Simms March 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    Great post Chris. As someone who is exactly the same age as yourself, I have found it is an enormous challenge remaining part of the industry when I believe I have the up to date skills to continue to make a significant contribution

    Unfortunately the industry has some incorrect perceptions of those who have built hard-won experience and continue to grow and learn. They are often seen as incapable of continuing to grow in a period of rapid change.

    Having met many who are the receiving end of this incorrect perception and experienced it myself, it is is painfully clear that the industry is poorer for their exclusion. The hard fact remains that use-by dates are too readily applied. The diversity of experience within teams creates solid foundations for the future of the industry. The contrary unfortunately means that career paths are wrongly all too short for all concerned.

    • Chris Savage March 27, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      Agree Tony- thanks for the view.

  4. Barbara March 28, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    Thanks for your great blog posts, Chris. Your friend John in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has gotten many of us to subscribe and we are thoroughly enjoying your topics. Thanks also for sending along my son Matthew Regenie’s CV to the right people. It is greatly appreciated!

    • Chris Savage April 1, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

      Thanks Barbara

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