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Be the Person Your Company Needs–Not the One Being Shown the Door

Published April 15th, 2016 on Inc.

Ines Temple, president of LHH-DBM Peru and LHH Chile, is passionate about the importance of developing a strong personal brand by becoming a strategic resource for your employer. Here Ines shares exactly what becoming a strategic resource to an organization means, and how to become indispensible.

We all know that organizations are constantly changing. They change either because they are doing well and want to be better, or because they are not doing well and need to improve.

With every change, organizations must arrange and rearrange their executive staff. They change managers and heads of department, and people are redirected to other areas. New skills and different teams are required. And, sometimes, others are let go.

If we like the company we work for and what we do there–or if we really need this job in particular and can’t afford to lose it–it is critical to be considered a strategic resource to the company. Being a strategic resource means becoming a valued key player within the organization–appreciated, and hopefully deemed essential to the progress of the firm. When this happens, the company will want to keep us around even when there is change on the horizon. And, above all, they make it a priority to retain our services and ensure that we are happy at work because they don’t want to lose us.

When we present great value to an organization, we will have the power to influence the path our career takes and the decisions that will impact it. Being a strategic resource to the company we work for gives us an increased sense of security, improves our employability, and adds value to our personal brand.

We have to stay up-to-date and competitive and never give in to arrogance or self-indulgence. At the same time, it is critical that we maintain our knowledge and skills, and keep our expertise current at all times while pushing ourselves to come up with new ideas. We should always keep a list of well-measured accomplishments–those that demonstrate our ability to deliver results and that add value to the organization.

What do we have to do to be considered a strategic resource to the company? This involves both a life and a career choice. The key to becoming a strategic resource is making it into a personal challenge with a clear purpose, and also one that can be measured. You might say, «But setting out to be a strategic resource is not enough.» True, but it is most important to take that first step, to make that vital shift in attitude. It means aiming to be a major support to the boss, a key member of the team–the person that the organization feels they need in order to reach their goals. It implies developing an attitude of service, collaboration, always wanting to make a difference, giving our best, and always pushing to do things better.

In his book, It’s a Big World and There’s Lots to Be Done, the founder and chairman of Daewoo, Kim Woo-Choong, tells the story of a company challenged by the shortage of space in ships to transport its products. Often, their shipments were returned to the dock due to a lack of space in the ships holds. The company sent three of its employees to dispatch a shipment, and each did things differently. The first employee escorted the goods to the port and left relaxed because his work was done–he had taken the cargo to the port of embarkation. The second employee would not leave the port until he was sure that the cargo had been properly loaded into the ship’s hold. Only then would he leave, proud of having gone that extra mile. But, the third employee would not leave the port until he was sure that the ship had been weighed with the cargo on board, as he understood how important this was in order to leave the port. Different attitude? Yes. Different results? Absolutely.

Think about whether or not you are a strategic resource within your organization as this third employee was. Do you have the attitude, the clarity of mind, and the determination to become a strategic resource? Make a commitment to yourself to be one every step of your professional life, every day, and at all times.

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