Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Want Job Security? Become a Utility Player Pt. 3

In the first two segments of this series, I focused on why being a utility player can certainly increase one's chances of keeping their job if, and more likely when, their company is faced with tough economic conditions. Companies need and want people on board who will show a willingness to learn and do more and not simply retreat to the comfortable excuse of 'it's not my job." It's the utility player that stands out, demonstrates value and avoids the horror of being expendable when the corporate ax starts looking for dead wood.

So we get why being a utility player is important to the company, but what does it mean to the company's customers? Well that's when a utility player really shines! You see nothing in business happens without a customer. Customers need products. Customers need services. Customers have questions. Customers have concerns. Customers have needs that they don't even know they have yet. No matter what the case, utility players understand and appreciate the fact that the customer will always need something and they are willing to step up to the plate and help no matter when and where they are called to do so.

What if you were to approach your job and your customers with this simple phrase: "Whatever you need, feel free to call me and I will do everything I can do to help." Would you be viewed differently? Would your customers think positively or negatively about you? Even if you don't have the necessary skills, access, information or whatever it is that they need, you have something....a willingness to help. People remember that. People value that. People love and respect that.

So you say, "Steve you silly boy, I don't work with customers. I am held deep within the bowels of my corporate structure and never see the client. How can I possibly step up and be a utility player for those customers I never touch?"

To which my response is....nothing happens in a vacuum. We all work with customers. The only difference between you who may be locked deep inside the walls of your corporate fortress and me, the one who deals with the public virtually every day is not so different. We both serve the customer. The only difference is you serve your internal customer (co-workers, boss, managers, suppliers, vendors, etc.) and I server the external customer (those people who write us checks for the products and services we sell).

Being the go to person for either the internal or external customer is a powerful position. Utility players like you and me want to step up and play those positions if and when we are called upon to do so and sometimes....even when we aren't called to do so. Remember, utility players see a need, a gap or a something that just needs to happen and they don't wait for direction...they simply step up and take action. It's through these kinds of actions that both our customers and corporations begin to realize and appreciate the value having someone like us around.

As we draw this series to a conclusion I have a challenge for you. Ask yourself what it is that you could be learning, doing or attempting right now to add value and worth to your contribution to your organization right now? The answers are there if you Grasshopper are willing to hop a little further down the path to seek them out.

The challenge isn't really the question but the answer. And ultimately are you really willing to step up to the plate and be the utility player your management team, corporate ownership and ultimately your customers need you to be?

The answer can only be yours to give.

Ripple On!!!

P.S. If you liked this series and would be interested in learning more about becoming a utility player for your company or perhaps you lead a team and need some inspiration along this line for your team, we should talk. I have both personal coaching programs and corporate day trainings that I give in this area. Feel free to email me at steve@ripplecentral.com


Rami said...

You are absolutely right. Unfortunately most corporate managers really don't care who is who and what they are capable of .

Steve Harper said...

Ah Rami...not true. Not if you are with the right corporation to begin with.

Ripple On!!!