We used to have an intern in our office who thought of this principle—“Plus one” everything.
What this means is that—beyond doing what is asked of you, and doing it on time—you do something else, above and beyond. Every time.
For example, maybe you wrote a report and you got it in on time. To “plus one” this, you ALSO took the liberty of doing a quick analysis of the report, finding redundancies, and making a recommendation to your boss about how to make the process more efficient.
In everything you do, find not just the time to give a little extra, but also the heart. It IS a matter of heart, you know. Once you’ve truly thrown your heart over the bar, “plus one” will happen naturally in everything you do.
Every employee who disagrees with a policy or a decision has a choice: ignore it, whine about it, or be direct.
Ignoring something you don’t agree with is fine, so long as you feel the difference of opinion is not a serious error. If you feel that a policy or decision is harmful in a way that really matters, you have an obligation as a member of the team to voice your concern.
But here’s the thing: Don’t whisper your concern in a “meeting outside of the meeting.” That’s destructive to the team. Don’t cross your arms, roll your eyes, and whine to your colleagues who have no way to influence the outcome.
If it doesn’t matter, forget it! But if it does, you have an obligation to put your grownup pants on and head straight for the decision makers who can do something about it.
If those decision makers are worth their salt, and you present the idea calmly and clearly, your stock will go up in their eyes.
We all know people who spend half their time telling others how overwhelmed they are, funny thing though, you sometimes need a microscope to find what they actually accomplished. But they seem so busy, so committed, that management sometimes finds it hard to say anything. But they keep on being busy, busy, busy.
Then there are those who are quietly and happily productive—and end up with the lion’s share of the outcome riding on their shoulders.
The perception of hard work should never be a cover up for ineffective work. No matter where you are in the company, it isn’t kind to the whole team to let someone ride along on that perception without making a real contribution.
A feeling of being overwhelmed isn’t something to be proud of—it’s a problem in need of a solution. Be that solution. Next time someone whines to you about how busy they are, make suggestions for using their time more efficiently. If you are that person, realize that you could shave hours off your work, and do the same work, and be happier at the end of the process.