Make Yourself Invaluable

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Mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations. What's an employee to do? The best thing you can do is distinguish yourself as an outstanding employee your credit union can't do without. To become invaluable, you must give your credit unions what it needs: an employee who embraces change, impacts others positively, and works harder, faster, better.

Embrace change: Change is here to stay and employees who embrace it are far more valuable than those who resist it. Embracing change is based on thinking differently about work. Instead of thinking how you can keep your job, think of how you can stay employed. If you work too hard to hold on to your job, you may become resistant to change and miss opportunities to make yourself more valuable by developing sought after skills.

Today's marketplace requires successful credit unions to adapt to markets, adopt the latest technology, and make improvements rapidly. Rapid change is difficult with resistant employees, and those who are unwilling or unable to change hinder rather than help a credit union adapt. To embrace change, educate yourself about the transitions people go through as an organization undergoes change. Learn strategies for not only coping with change but for making it work for you. Uncertainty and frustration are part of change but so too are growth and exhilaration. Recognize that you have plenty of experience with change; you have been changing since you were born, you've gone through many stages of life, and will go through many more. Without change, you would become stagnant just as your credit union would. Embracing change not only helps your credit union, it helps you.

Impact others positively: Everyone knows people who impact others positively no matter what. They focus on the positive, are enjoyable to be around, and bring out the best in others. When given the choice of working with a brilliant but obnoxious person or working with an average but positive person, most people will choose the average but positive person.

Almost everyone has experienced the frustration and morale-draining impact of negative people in the workforce. They create tension, inhibit productivity, and make work miserable for just about everyone around them.

To impact others positively, become the CEO of your own job. Take full responsibility for what you produce and how well you produce it. Avoid the gossip circuit, give others the benefit of the doubt, and find the good in others. Relating well to co-workers, bosses, and members is the key to creating results and just as your credit union must have a distinguishing factor, so must you. If relationship building and bringing out the best in yourself and others is your strength, you will be a valuable resource for your credit union.

Work harder, faster, & better: Some people get the work done-eventually-but the process is inefficient, slow, and mediocre. You can't expect to be considered a valuable employee if someone needs to light a fire under you to get things done.

Employees who see what needs to be done, accept their responsibility for doing it, find solutions to problems, and follow-through are highly valued. That's what working harder, faster, and better is all about.

To work harder, faster, and better, think about how you can streamline your work, reduce waste, and find new ways of doing things. Find ways to get more done in less time. Don't wait for someone to tell you what to do; look around and do what needs to be done. Monitor the quality of your own work, learn what you must to do a better job, and produce excellence at every turn. When push comes to shove, an employee who works hard, quickly, and efficiently will win out over one who does the minimum, works slowly, and is inefficient.

Your primary goal is to stay employable. Job titles, duties, and even employers may change but the need to constantly upgrade your own skills and to continually give your best will not. If you can distinguish yourself as a exceptional employee, you will be a highly sought after employee and will be able to survive layoffs, reorganizations, mergers, and acquisitions. You'll be in the running for special projects, promotions, and new opportunities.

If you don't feel you excel in three areas: embracing change; impacting others positively; and working harder, faster, better-search out ways to develop more expertise in these areas. It will make you an employee of choice.

Barbara Wirtz works with credit unions to turn improvement ideas into reality, and is a frequent speaker and consultant to credit unions. She can be reached at 541-344-8213 or bwirtz

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