Are you a Strategic Resource?

Original Spanish version published in America Economia (Latin America) on February 27, 2016

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 departments, people are redirected to other areas. New skills, and different teams are required. And, sometimes, others will be 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 cannot afford to lose it, it is critical to be considered a strategic resource to the company. We need to be on one of those ‘whitelists’, valued as key players in the organization, appreciated, and hopefully deemed virtually indispensable to the progress of the firm. When this does happen, the company will probably not want to do away with our services just like that whenever there is change on the horizon. Instead, they will always be concerned about retaining us and ensuring that we are happy at work. When this happens, we will have the power to influence the path our career takes and the decisions that will have an impact on 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 certainly have to stay up-to-date and competitive –keeping our knowledge, skills, and expertise current–, and never give in to conceit or self-indulgence . We should always keep at hand a list of well-measured accomplishments, those that demonstrate our ability to deliver results, add value to the organization, and consistently come up with new ideas.

So, what do we have to do to be considered a strategic resource to the company? This involves both a life and a career choice. It is of utmost importance that we consciously decide to become a strategic resource and make it a challenge, with a clear purpose, and a goal whose progress you can measure. Of course, you will say, “it is not enough to set the goal” to achieve it. True, but it is most important to take that first step, to make that vital change in attitude. This attitude predisposes you to act like a real adult at work. It means aiming to be a major support for the boss, a key member on that team, or the person that the organization feels they need in order to reach their goals. It implies developing an attitude of service and teamwork; always wanting to make a difference, to give your best, 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 faced with the problem of a space shortage on ships to transport its products. Often, their shipments were returned to the dock due to 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 one 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 would not leave the port until he was sure that the cargo had been properly loaded in the ship’s hold. Only then would he leave, proud of having gone that “extra mile”. But a third employee would not leave the port until he was sure that the ship had sailed with the cargo on board, because he understood how important it was for the cargo to reach its destination. Different attitude? Yes. Different results? Absolutely.

Think about whether or not you are a strategic resource within your organization, as this third employee was. See whether or not you have the attitude, the clarity of mind, and the determination to become a strategic resource, if you aren’t one already. And then make a commitment to yourself to be one every step of your professional life, every day, and at all times.

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