During an economic downturn, it is easy to get caught up in the entire negative media and get lazy about our work. I know many of you have asked “why should I care about a positive mindset, going the extra mile or looking my best at work when business is slow?” That is exactly when you need to be different and stand out from your peers and competition. It tells your organization a lot about your values, goals and confidence level during difficult times. Here are my three practices for all business professionals to keep you in the forefront of everyone’s minds until the tide turns.
1). Have a Positive Attitude
Many businesses have begun cutbacks on staff, expense reimbursements, raises and bonuses. You must remain positive and be appreciative for having a job today. Although you may be earning less, you are still of value to your company and must have a positive mindset and be appreciative for all that you do have. Offer positive solutions for cost-cutting measures to help your company see ways to save. Perhaps something you suggest will help retain more employees. Sometimes management is unable to see objectively how to do that, given that staffing is almost always a company’s biggest expense.
2). Go the Extra Mile
As we are all doing more with less, it’s important to take on more responsibility, which is becoming a necessity in today’s world. This conveys to your employer that you are responsible, efficient and a team player. If your organization is going through a merger, buyout or transition, step up and volunteer to be on the merger/transition team. This not only allows you to stay on the cutting edge of decisions being made, you will be helping others transition from outside your organization to understanding the company culture. You will hear and see what decisions are happening so you can find out the facts first. Your voluntary spirit will be perceived as being positive and taking a stand to help your organization increase their market positioning.
3). Create a Polished Image
Although business may be tougher to get today than it was a year ago, remember you represent your corporate brand. You are the identity and representative of the firm to your customer. Does your image visually, verbally and non-verbally represent your firm’s values and corporate brand? I work in companies everyday and I can tell you many employees don’t positively represent their firm’s corporate brand image. You may need to spiff up your image now more than ever. When organizations are downsizing, oftentimes one’s image may be a determining factor in your being let go. Many times employers won’t tell you the truth but the fact is that talent and performance isn’t enough today. Looking great today will allow you to reap many benefits in the future because you stand on the reputation of your personal and corporate brand.
Companies do remember in hard times who helped to shift a negative work environment to a more positive one, which employees were courageous and stepped up to take on more responsibility and continued to positively influence their corporate brand through their appearance and professional grace. When all these tumultuous times are over and the economy is back in full swing, you will be the one who stood out from the crowd and be recognized by attaining greater career positioning than your negative peers.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2013, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
1-800-267-3245, [email protected]
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