Yes. Everyone is busy. Some say we are living in a “culture of busy” In fact, there are studies that prove just how busy we think we are. Busy has become a badge of honor. Who are you, anyway, if you have tons of time, unless, of course, you have lots of money to go with it?
It’s funny though, people have time for things they value. In fact, studies are showing that the number of hours we are working, as a society, are going slightly down. The number of Americans working from home has risen by 41 percent. We are no longer competing for each other’s attention, for something at work with other work projects, it seems from the research, but instead, the toughest thing we are competing against is having people choose what we want over something they could do with their family, friends, or even alone on their favorite apps.
If you aren’t getting what you want at work, there’s probably one reason for it. That reason is captain obvious after you learn it, and invaluable once you learn to appreciate and work with it, instead of against it. People don’t get what they want from you because of this same reason the exact same way you aren’t getting what you want from them.
The one reason you might not be getting what you want at work is that you could be seen as someone else’s spam. Yep. Spam. Like those annoying messages that pop up in your email box that get in the way of the important things you need to focus on. Being spam to someone else at work simply means you have not moved into their zone of relevancy right now. It’s not good and could be the one reason why you are not getting what you need or want at work right now. It may not even be personal. It may just mean that you and what you need or want is not part of someone else’s top priority list. When your message falls into someone’s “spam folder” and you need to be seen or heard, the best thing that can happen is for you to know it and quickly do something about it.
You can apply this if you are a technician, a manager, a sales person, an entrepreneur, or a government employee. We all need or want someone’s attention in order to get what we need or where we want to go and falling in that person’s “spam” category can delay your forward momentum.
There are 3 ways to determine whether you are spam to the people at work that matter the most. By that I mean, the person you report to and those that you need in order to get your work done and perhaps, get promoted, or land that big sale. Those people could be people on your team, vendors that you collaborate with on projects, and even, perhaps, the best customers of your organization. Being considered “spam” could mean you don’t get that promotion, that assignment you wanted, that raise you thought you were up for, the account you needed, or even the next job you apply for.
Want to know 3 things that could signal you are spam to someone at work?
- They don’t get back to you. Ever. Yes, it now can take multiple touch points to get someone’s attention even if you have a great relationship and are seen as valuable. You are spam at work, though, if you never get an answer back. They don’t return your calls, your text messages, your emails, the notes you left on their desk, your FB message, you name it. The person you need or want to communicate with simply ignores your requests for a response from them for longer and longer periods of time.
- They promise you things and never follow through. They say you are important, yet when you really need something to do your job or complete a project, they don’t actually get it to you. They are nice and polite, yet you are not the one they choose when the stakes are high. In fact, they avoid you when everything is on the line. Polite does not equal important in business.
- Your opinion is unimportant. You are never asked for it. A whole meeting, or series of meetings, can go by and your input is not requested. Decisions are made for your team and that greatly affect your position and you are not included in the conversations you thought you would be.
How do you go from spam to the top of the list at work?
Let’s start with the why first.
People pay attention to things they derive as having value to them. You want to be considered a value to your team, to your boss, to your organization and most importantly to the clients, customers or citizens your organization serves. Why is your value important? Value is equal to higher levels of compensation…that’s money directly in your pocket. Another reason you want to be seen as valuable is that workers who are valuable have more freedom and choices in the workplace. The more valuable you are the more you gain the position and right to say what happens to you. I know, hold down the house! You have to earn the right. Yes, other people have and you will as well.
If you argue with that notion think of it this way. Even if you leave your organization and open your own business you will have to earn freedom and choice by satisfying lots of clients or customers. Satisfying those customers is the only way to grow that company. Until you grow it you will be working your rear end off! If you want to leave where you are at you are going to need to find another job, maybe. Well, another organization is then going to deem whether you are valuable or not. Guess what, that’s where that spam to people like citizens or customers outside of your organization come in. Every time you interact with someone outside of your organization they could be the person that is, works for, or is related to or a friend of your next potential boss.
Yes! That person you were rude to. That person you argued with about something on FB and you told them they were an idiot. They could be someone you need in the future. That person YOU considered as spam, could suddenly be on the other side of the table one day, visible or invisible, making the decision on whether you get that dream job.
Now, let’s figure out what you can do to move up on someone else’s priority list.
- Be curious. Ask more questions. People do not consider something spam when it is relevant to what they want. In fact, our brain filters everything based on relevancy. Get a little creative. Watch who they do consider valuable and observe why they might think that about those people. Don’t do the same things over and over again if they are not working. Develop new methods based on research and curiosity.
- Be competent. Before you communicate with someone significant, be sure you are prepared and know your stuff. You don’t have to be Einstein…no one likes a know it all. What I’m saying is that you need to zoom in on the most important deliverables and nail them to get noticed.
- Be respectful. Remember the “everyone is busy” thing we talked about earlier? Respect people’s time. Don’t come ill prepared to a meeting or interaction and then think the other person is cool with you not knowing the answers you needed to have for them. Act with respect to those that have earned their positions in the company, whether you think they have or not. Let them finish their sentences. Don’t think you know what they are going to say before they say it. Refer to rule number 1.
Moving into the category of truly valuable to others at work, and out of their spam file, takes lots of time, focus, and energy. You want to be seen inside and outside of your organization as trustworthy and reliable.
You want to know why I am convinced you can do it? Because you wouldn’t even be watching or reading this if you weren’t! Go forth and conquer your day! You are valuable and with this information you can move straight to the top.