When you start a new job you don’t know what you don’t know. With all your previous expertise and the best will in the world, you may be shocked to know that you are technically a bad employee.

Don’t worry though. Slowly, over time, you start to become aware of the things that you don’t know. Now you’re frustrated but also energised and motivated to learn. Congratulations, you are now a mediocre employee.

A few months go by and you start to settle into your new role. You start to do things automatically and with a new level of excellence. You are picking things up and you know that you are getting things right. Don’t get too carried away, but I’m delighted to tell you that you’re now a good employee.

Sorry…..no medals or trophies yet though.

The important question is, how can you become more than ‘just another good employee’ and stand out from the crowd?

Well, here are some observations that I’ve made in the workforces of the retail, energy and sales sectors:

Treat every conversation that you have on a day-to-day basis as a future business opportunity (not just business conversations that you have during office hours).

Whilst striving to be an expert in your field, don’t allow yourself to get overly familiar with your industry, market or client base. Keep enough distance that you can objectively spot subtle changes, developments and opportunities.

  • Draw intentional boundaries in your private and professional life which allow you to rest well and then give the best of yourself to both family, friends and your employer.
  • Commit to using your quieter moments in your working life to creating and implementing plans and processes which will make your busier times more efficient and less stressful. Twenty minutes of careful and well-thought out planning at the end of a quieter-than-usual working day can save you hours of time and stress in the future.
  • Treat customers exactly the same regardless of their buying signals or potential.
  • Forget the words COST and ORDERS and replace them permanently with the words VALUE and INVESTMENTS.
  • You don’t have to work longer hours than your colleagues to out-perform them. If you can’t excel within your contracted hours, then you will never be excellent. In summary, work smart AND hard!
  • You don’t have to be a cold, heartless, money-grabbing back-stabber to be successful. Honesty, integrity, a good work ethic and a ‘can-do’ attitude will get you a long way. Add a likeable personality, the willingness to be criticised and some innovative ideas into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for success.

If you are mouldable enough to consider adopting some of the above practices then I look forward to meeting you in the future. You see, excellent employees tend to have a habit of identifying other excellent individuals and building effective long lasting rapports with them.

So, lets grab a coffee sometime, swap some ideas and maybe even do some business at the same time…

Joff Alexander-Frye