We received many comments about Tuesday’s post – “Spineless Maggot” – that talked about the importance of DJs and station staffers stepping it up and providing more value to their stations. A frequent topic in this blog is “indispensability,” a concept popularized by Seth Godin in Linchpin.
Researcher, futurist, and radio vet John Parikhal submitted a comment that is worthy of attention here, and in the hope of continuing the conversation, it appears below as a guest post. John is best known as president of Joint Communications, an international media consulting firm that sports an impressive client roster. Like many of us, John is adapting and evolving, forming a partnership with renowned business expert Philippe Denichaud. As John notes, “Peter Drucker and Philippe are my biggest management influences. From them, I learned how to apply practical strategies to help businesses survive and grow.”
Today, we get a great lesson from John:
Great article, Fred. It’s a good list for any hardworking employee to think about.
The tough thing for a lot of people is that they will work harder, show up earlier and do all the extra crap jobs – and still get fired.
Here’s how to avoid this fate (or at least reduce the likelihood)…
NEGOTIATE your expectations in ADVANCE.
For example, how much does the station value a speech at a local high school or business? How much is it worth to the sales department? How much are your time and speech skills worth personally to you? What about all the other things you do?
If you are doing a lot of “extra” work for the station, it’s a good idea to get an estimate of its value.
So, ask your boss.
When you go to your “boss,” be polite and frame intent … “I’m a hard worker. I want to help the station. I seem to be picking up a lot of work that wasn’t in my original job description. I’m just wondering if what I’m doing has value. And, if it does have value, I’m curious about how you value it?”
If the “boss” is evasive or doesn’t want to talk about it or says “We’ll figure something out later,” ask them when they would feel comfortable talking about it. After they tell you how much time they need to figure out the “value,” schedule a meeting for that day to discuss it.
This will help later when they decide to “make a change.” They will know what the work was worth and, as Fred mentions in his comment, the “value” is no longer a random gut call by a manager when they are cutting staff. They know how much more you are worth than before.
You may think it’s risky to raise the issue of what “extra” work is worth (very few of us like “confrontation” with someone else and you might think of this as confrontation even though it’s simply a professional business question).
However, it’s more risky not to raise the issue.
Here’s why … if you get known as a jack-of-all-trades, you may survive in the short run but in the long run the company has no job description called “jack-of-all-trades,” which means that it’s always going to be a subjective call and few people survive more than a couple of those.
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t step in and pick a few extra things up when they have to be done. We all need to do that from time to time. No need to negotiate that.
Here’s what you need to watch out for…
When you do something 3 times, it becomes a “recognized” pattern of behavior and when you do it 4-6 times, it becomes “expected.” By that point, you might want to “negotiate” your expectations of what you’ll get for the extra work.
Or, at least ask someone you trust to tell you what it’s worth … to you … and the company you work for.
Thanks, John. And as always, we welcome your comments.