Welcome to round two of my 30 Steps to Great Finances series. If you missed the first post, you can find it here: 30 Steps to Great Finances: Steps 1 through 3.
Today we'll detail steps four through six that will take anyone from financial zero to financial hero.
Let's get started...
Step 4: Grow Your Career by Over-delivering.
For the vast majority of us, our careers are our largest sources of income. Furthermore, small differences in earnings over the course of a 40-year career can mean millions of extra dollars in your pocket. That's why focusing on your career and taking specific steps to maximize it is the #1 thing we all can do to grow our incomes. And the #1 way to grow your income is to over-deliver.
Over-delivering is simply going above and beyond what is expected in your job. But it just doesn't happen -- you have to plan to make your extra effort pay off for you. To be as successful as possible at delivering more, you need to follow these three steps:
1. Determine the expectations for your position. Talk to your boss and make a written list of what he expects from you. Make the items as quantifiable as possible so there can be no disputing whether or not you reach them. Agree on the list so you make sure you're on the same page.
2. Work to over-perform. If your expectation is to save the company $100,000, work to save it $150,000. If you need to grow sales 5%, work to grow it 10%. If you need to get three new customers ordering your product, work to get five.
3. Document your success. On a regular basis, let your boss know how you're progressing versus your expectations. Eventually, the update will speak for itself -- that you've over-performed.
These three steps help you establish what is required, beat the requirements, and then get credit for it. Those who get credit for over-delivering get more and higher salary increases and promotions -- which will significantly impact your earning potential during your career.
Step 5: Grow Your Career – Develop and Expand Your Network
Many people think about growing their network when they need something (like a job lead), but this approach isn’t productive. Instead, you must grow your network before you need it -- so it's ready when you do need help.
Here are some ways you might be able to do this:
- Take business contacts out to lunch once or twice a week and make time to connect.
- Get involved in activities that you already enjoy and socialize while you are there (examples: charity committees, church activities, recreational leagues, etc.)
- Sign up for LinkedIn (a must!), Facebook, Twitter, and maybe even your own blog. But be careful and assume that everything you post will be seen by a potential employer. Yes, especially your drunken party pictures.
- Talk to people you meet every day while waiting in line for coffee or dropping your kid off at school. The more people you can connect with, the bigger your network.
Approach your network with the intention of being a giver -- a resource that will help others out. Then when you're in need, your network will be there for you.
Step 6: Grow Your Career – Become Likeable
Here is the hard truth—you may be doing a great job at work, but if you aren’t likeable, you may not be getting the raises and recognition you deserve. The good news is that you can become more likeable. Yes, experts have developed a list of what makes a person likeable. The characteristics:
- Be honest.
- Be humble.
- Show empathy.
- Laugh often.
- Be positive.
- Control hostility.
- Be polite.
- Act smart.
- Appear attractive. (dress well and proper hygiene.)
- Listen more.
So simply follow it and you'll be set. :)
Ok, it isn't that easy. But let's face it, being likeable is pretty much common sense. We all know how we like to be treated, right? So simply act that way towards others and you should get most of the way home in the likeability category.
That's it for this time around. I’ll be back with the next steps tomorrow, so stay tuned...
Update: Click here to read steps 7 to 9.