How to Stand Out and Contribute at Work During this Crazy Year

How to Stand Out and Contribute at Work During this Crazy Year

“In crisis times . . . everyone gets much more focused on how they control their own economic destiny.” Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn

There will be times when your company is under duress and the business world, and the press, are watching. As we said in Look Out Above!, perhaps following a natural disaster, network attack, or product tampering that puts at risk the safety of your customers or employees, or their property, or private data, or when your company is merging, going public, or fighting an unwelcome takeover bid. We didn’t see this virus coming but, hey, this is exactly what we had in mind – this is one of those times!

While most everyone is unsettled (that’s an understatement!), this isn’t the time to lose focus or slack off, especially as many companies face a cash crisis and look for ways to reduce overhead expenses.

Nick Slater Caricature
In England, professional soccer players in the top-flight Premier League are being publicly pressured to take a reduction in pay. The Premier League, like sports leagues throughout the world, has been indefinitely suspended due to the COVID19 pandemic. The English public has long been critical of rising player salaries, and the pandemic has brought that outcry to a fever pitch. Many soccer players (pardon me, “footballers”) have been incredibly generous over the past few weeks, donating money, time, and the coverage afforded by their massive social media presences toward the fight against the virus. Yet the public demand for a pay cut (the level being bandied about is around 30%) persists. Many players are understandably resistant to taking a pay cut due to a work stoppage that is beyond their control. What do you think? Is either side “right” here?

See this moment as an opportunity and rise to the occasion. Be fully present when all hands are needed most. Continue to do your best work and maximize your contribution, even if your industry is not deemed essential and you’re sheltering in place from home. To ensure and enhance your contribution during this time, consider:

  • Give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay – if working from home, be mindful of the time you’re frittering away on added distractions (dog, kids, TV, refrigerator, couch!)
  • Be on time and look professional for Zoom/Hangouts calls – dress as if you were at work
  • Be intentional – think about workplace success looks like for you doing this time and strive to make it happen
  • Contribute on conference calls – don’t speak just to speak but if you never contribute it will be noticed. Try to offer a fresh perspective, or insight, versus piling on (“You know, I agree with what Suzie says”)
  • Bring facts to help solve problems – lots of people have opinions without being burdened by the facts – bring the relevant facts
  • Work your learning plan – the skills and knowledge that you determined are essential to succeeding in your current role, and perhaps in the one to which you aspire

Beyond doing your job, seek to stand out in this time of crisis. Ask your manager what you can do to help or, if she’s not available, just find a way to pitch in and help your colleagues successfully navigate the situation. Hopefully your recognition of the importance of the moment, and your response, will be remembered and later rewarded. More certain is that those who were unresponsive will be unfavorably remembered.

Are you doing your best work now? If not, why not, and what will you do about it?

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