Personal growth in the office

Jun 15, 2015 Published under Leadership

But you can’t stop there. The other quality that makes you promotable is constantly working to make your boss smarter. So when your boss asks you to do something, don’t only do that, but expand your responsibilities and lay out a much bigger picture. Present a deeper, broader understanding of where your organization stands in relation to the other players and the playing field, so that he or she gains a whole new, wider perspective on the business.

One time, when I was a young process engineer on a new plastic, running a small 10×10 chemical pilot plant, my boss said to me, “Oh, the boss from New York is coming up. We want to show him the pipes you put in place in the new pilot plant you’ve got.”

When the New York boss came up to see us, I gave him the requisite update on the plastic and my little project. But I also painted him a bigger picture of how the plastic we had fit into the entire plastics industry and where the industry was headed.

Now, I had only been there a year and I was not a genius by any means. But I had done a hell of a lot of research to show how our product fit into the larger scheme of things. It was enough to give a clear view of what he was investing in, where we were in it, and how our plastic compared to our top three competitors — what our strengths were, compared to what their strengths were.

He left that meeting with an impression of me.

A year later, promotions came up. The New York boss remembered that presentation and I ended up getting a big promotion because I made him smarter about something he never expected that day.

And if you want to move up in your career, that has to be your number one job too — over-delivering on the numbers and the behaviors, but also gunning for the bigger perspective.

Your boss wins on all three.

Jack and Suzy Welch are co-authors of the new book, The Real-Life MBA — Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career, which debuted as a #1 Wall Street Journal and Washington Post best-seller.

Jack Welch began his career with the General Electric Company in 1960, became its eighth Chairman and CEO in 1981, and was named “Manager of the Century” by Fortune magazine in 2000. For the past decade, Mr. Welch has been active as a special partner with the private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice, an advisor to IAC/InteractiveCorp, and a popular public speaker addressing audiences around the world. In 2010, he founded the Jack Welch Management Institute, a fully accredited online MBA program with 900 students, designed to help working professionals get ahead in their careers.

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