Moving up

Exceptional employees are the driving force of the future.

That is true for every organization throughout the world. Unfortunately, most organizations are riddled with complacent employees, those who merely show up and do as they’re told, who lack the drive and the self-confidence to reach higher, do more, and become indispensable to their companies.

Exceptional employees are those who take chances, are creative, create order out of chaos, generate ideas, figure out what needs to be done and do it—and, in the process, create value for their organizations.

The question becomes: How do you become that exceptional employee, that person who is so valuable to your organization that you not only will have a job for life, you will be promoted beyond your wildest dreams? How do you develop a plan of attack that will take you where you want to go?

I recommend that you take these steps:

Believe in yourself. Build your self-confidence with positive, personal affirmations—positive statements that you make about yourself and that describe what you want to be, what you want to have, what you want to do, and how you want to live your life. Then reaffirm those beliefs over and over, until your unconscious mind accepts them as facts.

Set goals. Indispensable and extraordinary employees set goals and work tirelessly to achieve them. Those goals should be consistent with your values and should align with your passion. They should be clear and measurable. Include target dates for each goal; doing so will keep you on track. Once you reach a desired goal, set a new one. 

Overcome self-imposed limitations. Those limitations are the biggest barriers to your success. If you think of yourself as a failure, no matter how hard you try to succeed, you will fail. You have it within you to be anything you want to be—and to do anything you want to do. You must believe in yourself. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes, because that fear will hold you back. Challenge yourself, take risks, and reap the resulting rewards.

Improve your deficiencies and develop your strengths. Conduct an honest self-assessment. Look long and hard at your attitude and work ethic and at how you deal with customers and problems. How would you rate your performance? Do you meet the expectations of your co-workers and superiors? Are you dependable and accountable?  

Be proactive. A proactive employee is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to stand out. Every problem you encounter is an opportunity for you to produce a positive outcome. When you are proactive and confident in your skills, you put yourself on display for your customers and supervisors. You show others that you can handle any situation. You will be free to be extraordinary.

Develop personally and professionally. Your self-assessment will guide you, as you look for areas to strengthen. Take online classes, read a book on personal development every month, enroll in a training course, attend seminars and lectures. Look for mentoring programs and take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs to further your education.

Associate with winners. Associating with successful people, people you respect, will help you stay on track. They will ignite your passion and provide support. They will motivate you and challenge you intellectually. They might even funnel stimulating projects your way and help you identify improved career opportunities. Stay away from negative people; they will drag you down and hamper your efforts to better yourself.

When you think big—and dream big—you will accomplish great things. When you decide you want to move up to a better position, and a better life, you are making a choice that will drive you to set—and meet—higher standards. You will become an exceptional, and indispensable, employee. 


John Tschohl

John Tschohl, the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as a “customer service guru,” he has written several books on customer service and has developed more than 26 customer-service training programs that haves been distributed throughout the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge.