How to Become Indispensable so You Can Snag that Raise or Promotion!
I know! You feel so damn lucky just to HAVE a job, you don’t dare rock the boat by asking for a promotion and/or a raise. My response is, if you can prove your value to your company, go for it!
I love this quadrant breaking down value versus impact. Nobody ever has to wonder if the folks on the bottom right are awesome. They’ll let you know! These big talkers don’t actually do jack for the company. Then you have the “who?” people in the bottom left: the invisible people who totally kick ass at their job but stay under the radar for decades.
Where do you fall on the quadrant?
If you're not there already, I'm gonna show you how to get to that top right quadrant by becoming indispensable.
Impact and Visibility are Your Path to the Top-Right Quadrant
Impact is the effect you have on your company's performance. You might be incredibly valuable to your employer, but if you can't show numbers or tell a story, who’s gonna care?
Make them care by presenting quantifiable data proving the impact your actions or non-actions have on three stakeholder groups:
1. Your company
2. Your customers
3. Your boss and/or team
Each of these looks at success from different angles. Be nimble in your ability to convey how your work improves performance in ways that are meaningful to each of them. Use the language they use. Address their pain points.
Here Are Some Questions to Get You Started:
• How have I helped my company make more money or, or save more money?
• How have I made positive impacts on our customers?
• How have I helped my boss or my team or department?
• How have I been an indispensable team member to my department?
• Does my boss know that?
• Does anybody?
Craft a story based on the values you bring to each stakeholder group. This reduces the effort and friction of negotiation. Your next step is to make sure the right people know about it.
Start with your elevator pitch. When people ask what you do, tell them in simple but specific terms. Don’t list 5 things!
Pick one or maybe two areas in which you really excel. In my case it's easy, I'm an income coach. I help women make more money. When my clients want to tell someone about me all they have to say is: I know a guy who helps women make more money.
Morgan helps women eliminate debt, build net-worth and savings. Simple language like this is better than using titles, which can be misleading or meaningless.
Picking just one or two talents can be challenging because of the unwritten rule to always keep your options open. Think about it a different way. When you keep your options open, you’re telegraphing the message that you don’t know what you want to do. Instead, be known as someone who's really good at this one thing. If you cast too broad a net, you’ll just get a bunch of average referrals to companies that aren't really a fit. Your time's more valuable than that!
This is where the power of value statements come in.
Value Statements: A Core Component of Becoming Indispensable
Create a value statement using examples, aggregate numbers and stories. This is what you’ll talk about in job interviews and meetings about promotions. You can also just cut and paste them into your resume and LinkedIn profile.
All of these stories should communicate your value or impact. Use relevant numbers as much as you can.
Good, Better and Best Vision Statements
I delivered over 50 live virtual presentations to 10,000 potential customers and partners, or:
Vibrant Money delivered over 1,000 hours in individual and group coaching programs in 2020.
These both include numbers but they don’t necessarily communicate the impact of our work.
Who cares that I did 50 presentations? What does that mean? Using the numbers is good and it helps tell a story but we can do better.
I generated over $12 million in sales pipeline from thought leadership assets.*
In an interview I’d get more specific, explaining exactly how I did it. Boom: I just told you the actual impact of my work.
I delivered over $100 million in sales, marketing, and product revenue.
Some typical verbs are I led, I improved or I purchased. Good numbers/data include revenue, expenses, efficiency and customer satisfaction. Make sure to convey that you understand the company's goals (e.g., sales, enrollments, patient satisfaction.)
Admittedly, it’s harder to come up with numbers for certain jobs. Maybe you could craft your value statements around deadlines, delivery dates or project completion. Then use that data to tell a story. In my case, I added up the sales results of five years in my career.*
You could say something like:
We delivered the project on time and on budget despite a 50 percent variance in the requirements. The goal and scope of the project kept changing. I was able to rally my team and figure out work-arounds to get it done on time and on budget.
Even if you can just estimate numbers, it can add punch to your story.
An example of this could be to average out salary costs or an hourly internal cost. Then use those metrics to explain how much you saved the company. I did that a lot for several of the big business projects I worked on.
I help my team be more efficient, which helps reduce costs. I saved x# of hours @ X#/hours for a total savings of Y.
Try it yourself. Here's a kind of mad-lib way of doing this. In the last [time period], I [VERB] [#] of/in/by [NOUN.]
Finally, there’s the people part of getting promoted.
Ugh, Are we Still in High School? (yes and no)
I get it. People don't necessarily want to be friends with their bosses. They don't want to network with the CEO. They just want to do their job and go home.
Unfortunately, we all have to deal with the doggone human beings whether we like them or not. Sometimes, people with access to information, projects and ideas to help you advance are just A-holes. But, honestly? This could be the only missing ingredient that’s keeping you from moving up.
The best way to get a raise or promotion is to laser-focus on the value/impact you bring to the company. Include story and numbers to prove it. Create an awesome, specific value statement and make it known.
When you talk about your contributions, describe them from the points of view of your customers, company, team and boss. Speak in a way that shows you understand the big picture.
Let's go out there and make some more money!
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