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Want To Get Promoted? Develop The Habit Of Going The Extra Mile (GTEM)
Richard A. Chambers (Rik, his nickname, for short) was my Training Manager / Liaison at Guinness Nig. Plc Ikeja Brewery, Lagos in 1994/95. During approx. one year I reported to him, he repeatedly challenged me to “build” to be more effective as a salesperson and manager.
When I went to Benin Brewery, I had four rich training reports (typed by me) filled with lots of great pictures (taken by Rik) of almost every area of the process/plant I was trained in. These documents – just as Rik assured me they would – proved to be very useful throughout my later years at the company. In fact many new entrants (and some senior managers) at various sites find it necessary to borrow them and make copies!
But that’s not all. It was Rik’s expertise in Lotus Spreadsheets Macro Programming that really brought us closer. Within a period of 6 months he – in accordance with the official role assigned to him – a single person developed an automated brewery Variable Cost Analysis Spreadsheet Application accepted by Lagos and Benin Breweries for the purpose of reporting MONTHLY performance.
Luckily for me, he noticed the interest I showed in watching him furiously code data entry/reporting methods, and decided to get me involved by giving me a laptop, even to check for errors in the formulas.
As time went by, he started giving me copies of ALL the code in different applications – the brewing and packaging departments. I was still a student, but 6 months after resuming at the Benin brewery, I was legally responsible for maintaining/updating Rik’s software at the Benin Brewery. This was ALL senior management level work – the complex formulas for using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) would be intimidating to most people, but Rik prepared me well.
It’s no wonder then that by 1997, I had successfully developed four reporting applications to replace the data management systems in the Brewing department. In time, other departments will find use for my skills – including the Engineering Services and Packaging Departments.
But do you know the best part? I did all of this FREEDOM – in my spare time – while working full time as a salesperson/manager. Nobody gave me time off – and I didn’t ask for it. The challenge was there – and I was up for it, and the passion/excitement to make a real difference was enough. Watching Rik do so many things WITHOUT his brief, I had no problem doing the same. He set a good example.
The time I spent with Rik prepared me for the successes I would achieve at Guinness. Examples include being appointed to a comprehensive Project Insights team that developed comprehensive computerized data collection formats for technical reporting, analysis etc. travel abroad for international studies.
But I didn’t rest on my conviction – in fact, while I was leaving the company (to start my own business), I had successfully mastered the MS Excel-VB programming skills by teaching myself, taking advantage of the company’s change to Lotus. Smart Suite for MS Office. So, I didn’t just jump into developing spreadsheet solutions. I did it for years before going into it as a business.
It’s important that you don’t get cocky, or think you’re superior to those who aren’t gifted at what you do. I will NEVER be old enough to call ANYONE – even 5 years old – a little boy or girl. The last thing I ever want to be is a BIG Man – you know people who put on all kinds of airs because they have money/power or position. It’s amazing how billionaires like Warren Buffet who have NO reason to take BIG action still use older car models and stay humble!
This article is written to encourage any person(s) who are currently employed who may feel that allowing themselves to be drafted into a role they imagine without their job description, will not benefit them. Often opportunities for growth, advancement and success WILL come in the form of work – to paraphrase Thomas Edison.
That’s why most people are MASTERS! If you want to equip yourself for lasting success, make sure you fully implement your primary responsibilities in a way that will enable you to successfully take on EXTRA challenges, make decision makers THEY can hold positions of senior responsibility.
Some people get caught up in the “status” they think their jobs give them. They are obsessed with playing like BIG men and women. This attitude makes them feel that there are certain roles that are too big for them to play. And this causes them to lose career progression – especially in a company that is looking for leaders who are selfless, to make things happen.
No serious decision-maker will offer you a promotion or career advancement opportunity without ensuring that you have the ability – and the enduring passion – to deliver the desired results. Develop the habit of Going the Extra Mile (GTEM) in your work, starting today, and see yourself moving to NEW levels of success!
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