Every January first, many of us decide what resolutions we will make about improvement in the coming year.
Then, we promptly forget our goals.
As Labor Day marks the beginning of the final third of the year, perhaps it’s a great time for us to re-evaluate how we have been doing. And, as it happens this time every year, the pundits and politicians will leverage the holiday for the advantage of their particular point of view.
One side will talk about the “good old days” when workers were more organized and the playing field between the employee and owners was more level. The other will espouse that the labor organizations eventually became worse than the owners, spiraling the country into low productivity when evaluated against global competition.
What I would suggest is more important is simply this: The economy has added no new jobs, the first time in eleven months total payrolls have not risen, according to the New York Times.
So, in this challenging time…how do you make certain you will be able to continue to labor well after Labor Day?
Four steps — taken from “Collapse of Distinction.”
First — Clarity. Be clear about who and what you are — the “jack of all trades” approach doesn’t work anymore. The reason? There are too many of them.
It seems like everyone wants to do everything — but few do ONE thing really, really well. Resolve to learn more…so you can become more…no matter where you are on your career path.
Second — Creativity. Distinctive professionals — those whom every organization desires, regardless of economic circumstances — have a point of uniqueness about how they do their work. It’s not that they do everything differently…it’s that they find some innovative approach that marks them apart from the masses. What can you do a little differently…a little more creatively?
Third — Communication. Tell stories. Seriously. People today do not want a mundane recitation of facts and figures. They DO want the information, but they desire it placed within a compelling narrative. If you don’t know how to communicate though stories, sign up for anything from a creative writing course at a community college to Toastmasters. It will be time well spent.
Fourth — Compelling Experiences. As trite as it sounds, friends seldom fire friends. (Not saying it never happens, by any means…but it sure is more difficult.) That doesn’t mean “make your boss your buddy” — it means in business today we desire emotional connections. Focus on how you can enhance relationships. If customers and colleagues feel connected to you, that they can trust and engage you, that you are a person that makes the company a better place to work – then you have a much stronger likelihood of being able to continue to make a contribution.
Does this work every time? No, of course not — what does?
However, in this challenging and volatile economy, if you can use this holiday weekend to re-examine your priorities — and resolve to find a way to labor in a manner that’s more productive for both you and your organization — this Labor Day will be a true cause of celebration!