In case you haven’t heard, Richwood Bank is growing. That means we continue to look for more talent to add to our team that’s going to run with us. We’ve been known to create positions because we’ve met someone that can easily prove themselves and be a true asset to our team.
You may ask yourself, “How can I prove myself?” I’ll tell you it’s not a secret. At this point, every strategic addition matters. So I started analyzing what my favorite co-workers are like, what our shared values are, and what my mentors through the years passed along to me.
Here we go.
Top 6 Attributes to Being the Best
1. They Exceed Far Beyond the “Tasks”
Every position is going to have stuff that has to be done. Yep. Stuff. There are so many variations of this quote – If you love what you do then it will never feel like work. I agree – kind of. I believe I am there with my career. I absolutely love what I do and do not feel like I have a “job”, but something I believe in. BUT – there’s always something I have to do that I don’t want to do. Always. That’s been a truth through every step along the way.
Today my “stuff” might be telling a vendor we’ve chosen someone else. Telling a new candidate we’re hiring someone else. Writing clear direction for other people, crunching data for projections on the next plan. Pushing back on old rules that don’t make sense. Filing. UGH. Filing. I’m more like Michelle in Tommy Boy and do better with stacks of piles and piles of stacks on top of cabinets. My controlled chaos is what I call it.
Plain and simple – Every dream job, no matter what it is or how far you are from it – will require tasks that must be done to get you back to the fun stuff that makes you love it most.
If you’re given a task, and that’s what it is – a task – do it. And do it to the best of your ability. And take it a step further. And then make it better. And if you do the task and ask yourself the whole time why you’re doing the task the way someone said to and you think there’s a faster, better and more efficient way of doing it, then try that. And teach others. And rewrite the process if there’s a process to be written. It has to get done so just do it and maybe do it again without being asked next time.
2. They ROCK the Position They’re In
I’ve wanted to be in advertising since I was a toddler. My mother tells me I didn’t care much for TV but when commercials came on I was mesmerized and stopped everything to watch them. By kindergarten I wrote my first ad. It was my best drawing of Fred Flintstone and he was in the kitchen cooking. My headline? Fred Fixes Fine Food.
My point to this memory lane? I’ve been employed since I was 14. I have detassled corn. Waitressed. Alot. I worked graveyard shift as a security officer at a casino. I’ve been a youth service worker at a state juvenile facility.
Did I call them my forever jobs? No. But getting my foot in advertising and getting through school took more elbow grease than sitting around waiting for a job with the word “marketing” in it to show up at my door. And even when it did appear on a want ad, I had three levels of interviews after my creative media plan assignment to win the chance to prove I could even do it.
At 19 I got an internship at a small radio station and started with weather announcements. Within six months I was writing commercials, building sales packages, helping with morning show content and jumping into the new realm of Front Page to make a website. (Sure it dates me. It was the 90’s, ok?)
I worked the other jobs like they were just as important as the one I have now. It was the best education I didn’t have to pay for and kept me absolutely passionate about marketing. I still apply those learned skills in my work today and remain friends with many great people.
If you accept a position – any position – you have to own it and make it the best you possibly can. Hold your head high with your self-pride. Maybe it’s not the one you want forever, but while you’re there you make an impression that lasts and gain as much knowledge from that experience as you can. I believe every job became yours for a reason. A rung on the ladder of your purpose. I don’t care if you scrub toilets or host your own E! reality show – own it.
Those that witnessed me as a teenager, ankle deep in mud grasping at corn tassles above my head and trying to catch up to the guys may have laughed in my face when I told them I was going to be an Ad woman. But I knew I would. And I didn’t sit around and wait for someone else to realize it.
3. They Earn Value, and Keep It
I’ve had the utmost privilege to work with many interns over the years. Seeing them grow and become successful is like a mom seeing her children learning to walk. I’ve been known to hire a few after the internship ended. Do you know why? Because they proved invaluable to me and I couldn’t bear to see them go.
Now granted, I’ve seen more leave than stay (And enjoyed the parting). So it is rare. But those that stayed were a mix of raw talent, strong initiative and a passion that stuck with them well after 5 pm that kept me impressed. As my favorite mentor once told me, bring your value to the relationship. Whether that’s peer to peer, business to consumer or boss to staff – you have to bring value to everything you do. It’s not just about the job. It’s about who you are and what you will lead others to do.
You have to be fully accountable to your role in the relationship and understand your strengths you bring. Compromise, consideration and teamwork with a strong dash of “go get ‘em” initiative. If you’re standing on the sidelines wondering why no one puts you in the game or tells you what you can do to help, you aren’t building your brand of value. “Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner” is not true. You have to shine and get yourself out there and not wait for someone to pull you in.
Think about anything of value. Let’s look at Pawn Stars for this analogy. If you brought a penny in to the shop, you’d get a penny to leave with. They’d probably give you a dime for a dozen. They only care about the rarest, hardest to find things that have a story worth telling.
What’s your story? Those that are the most priceless are rare, nearly impossible to replace and make you feel like a better person when you’re around them.
4. They Bring Ideas
Fast on your toes and ready for anything, you’ve got to bring your “A” game every time. Seeing patterns, figuring out the strategy and what to say or helping others with their paths takes a lot of practice as well as empathy. Be creative. There’s a positive angle in every situation. Every situation. You just have to be wired to find it. And implement it. And spread it to others.
Don’t be afraid either. If I were to throw a stat your way, I’d guess that only one out of ten decent ideas is worth evolving further into a better one. Maybe 1 of 10. You have to be in an environment where you can give nine and not feel silly because if you’re among a team, one of your bad ones could ignite a fantastic one with someone else. That’s what collaborating is all about. Make sure you’re someone worth collaborating with.
5. They Push Forward
This one is twofold. You could be in the career you absolutely want but have to overcome setbacks. Or you can be where you don’t want to be but aren’t sure where to go next. Push forward.
Maybe you don’t like being a security guard or a waitress. Maybe you are in marketing but you work with others who are draining, lack ethics or are unappreciative. Maybe you’re just out of your league. Always keep doing the absolute best you can, be a role model and make your escape plan. Just remember – every experience – good or bad – will teach you something. Soak it up and keep your head up. (Extra bonus – pay extra gratitude to said security guard and waitress because they are rocking it now instead of you.)
Scenario 2 – You actually like where you are but see areas for improvement. Then help lead the way to improve them. If you buy a new house and find one of the rooms has a broken window are you going to shut the door and complain to everyone about the broken window or are you going to figure out how to help fix it?
Complain. Get it out. Whine if you have to. But you better have at least one, if not three, ideas for how to improve it so it’s fixed. If you can’t end it with an idea or positive spin, you’ll suck the sails out of the room. Don’t be the wind sucker. Ever.
6. They Keep Learning
I was once told that when the day comes that you become confident that you’re an expert, you probably aren’t. The person who is the most knowledgeable easily realizes there is so much more to learn. I know there’s a lot to know that I don’t know. It’s going to keep going and I want to keep learning and surround myself with others who always want to keep learning. Drop your ego at the door.
If I left college saying, “I’ve learned everything I need to know about marketing and business” I’d probably still be hearing slot machines dinging at 3 am. My college final consisted of a video written, produced and edited to fit VHS. Today we are discussing the best platform to integrate our social and digital plans for clients and many of my team never used a VHS tape. My goal is for us to be proactive and soak in everything that can make us better, faster, smarter and more knowledgeable. A rolling stone truly gathers no moss.
As for my favorite employee, that’s who they are. They do exist and when you find them, wherever your journeys may go – a lifelong bond is formed. Our team for development is striving for excellence and a dime a dozen just won’t work here. We’ll all suffer. Even the penny in the corner holding us back.
Bring these values and you’ll go far – wherever it is that you’re going.