I have a client, an engineer and an inventor, Frank Springett, who recently won the World Oil Industry Outstanding Engineer of the Year Award. Frank has developed a stable of patents for equipment in deep sea oil rigs. Not only is he smart, he’s a pretty cool guy as well. So I asked him what his views on Becoming Indispensable were, my topic for this month. Here’s what he said, noting that this was just his opinion:
“CREATE VALUE AND SUCCESS WILL FOLLOW. People who spend too much time worrying about where or how they fit in an organization and its politics spend too little time in creating value. Focus on the job and what has the potential to make money for the company and the rest will follow. The types of people that are wanted on a team are the kinds of people that create results, ignore politics, and tend to do the lion’s share of the work. Personally, applying those principles coupled with working hard to be one of the best at what I do has proved to work very well for me throughout my career. Create value and success will follow. “
For the most part, I agree with Frank. But not always. You see, the vast majority of people do not have the strength of self-esteem and character that Frank has. That’s something few people at big companies talk about, because it’s not on the radar screen for most folks. What I’ve noticed in my long career is that people with strong self esteem – and what the hell does this mean which I’ll get to, is that people with strong self esteem are able to navigate political realities better than others. Little things don’t bug them the way they bug others. Perceived slights don’t piss them off and so they don’t waste energy. Frank talks about this, just in a different way than I do, perhaps, but we’re saying the same thing.
Here’s the rule: If little things make you mad, if you feel slighted more than 1 or 2 times a year, it’s not outside of you that you need to look, it’s inside. What’s going on inside of you? There’s where the opportunity is for you to be more successful and to find that “indispensable” niche.
What I mean by strong self esteem is this: You know in your gut who you are and what you are about-and that is a good thing. You don’t need others to flatter you. You rarely judge others. You don’t blame. And you don’t project your own negative characteristics onto other people. You notice what’s going on in the world around you with a generally positive and optimistic perspective. Your emotional health is strong. That’s my kind of self esteem. It’s also something you can work on, you can improve. That’s a good thing!