All jobs are important, but some are more important than others. Pivotal jobs are ones where that role contributes to a direct impact on revenue or market share and where the value created by the role makes a notable difference in business success
At your favorite convenience store such as GetGo, Sheetz, or 7-Eleven, you may think the front counter person’s role is most critical as they interact with customer’s every day. While that job is important, it is not pivotal. A better description of a pivotal role in that business would be the woman who is buying and hedging gasoline. Convenience store’s greatest revenue comes from fuel sales and finding a commodity sale that is a quarter of a cent less per gallon can reap enormous revenues for the firm.
On the other hand a role that could be considered pivotal is the doorman at a hotel. When I arrived at a midtown hotel in New York a few weeks ago, the doorman asked me my name. He communicated it immediately to everyone else I would interact with for the next 15 minutes with people greeting me by my name and having my check-in material all ready as I approached the front desk. I was certainly made to feel welcome and I’ve already booked that hotel for another visit in a few months.
While pivotal positions may be defined by work processes, it is also possible to craft your position into a more pivotal role. Many employees make the mistake of allowing their “value” to be defined by their job description instead of finding ways to increase the value of their job so that their role is seen as being more critical (and pivotal).
Interestingly, most companies are searching for ways to help get their key employees more engaged in work but what would be the benefit for you as an employee if you took those actions first. Here are 3 things you can do to make your job more pivotal and critical to business success and which will ultimately translate into business success for you.
- Define your value in terms of business outcomes:Anyone in any role can find ways that they are contributing to business success. Start with your company’s strategic plan and translate the results of your efforts in how they contribute to your business’s outcomes. For example, if you are involved in a project and see that there is a log jam about moving the project ahead, you can take the initiative to determine where the roadblock in located and jar the project activity that that the effort gets back on track. Note your effort and how that time savings will contribute to getting the next sale done or how they process will improve production (and save money).
- Craft your job: The idea that you can somehow change your job description might seem foreign but I can assure you that if the company decides they need to tweak or add or change what they need to have you do, they will not hesitate to do so. While you have to be doing a great job at what is currently prescribed, take a look at what fuels you—your passion about your role and how you think you can improve it. Try some small experiments to see how changes can add more value and enjoyment for you and discuss it with your manager ahead of time so that you are effectively “socializing” the change.
- Toot your own horn: If you don’t toot your horn, there won’t be any music to be heard. I know that most people don’t want to brag, lest you be seen as a buttering up your boss.The truth, however, is that your boss is looking for help in running the business and will probably welcome hearing your ideas to improve things. Engage your manager as a colleague bringing your ideas to her as a peer and not as a boss. Be honest about your agenda (“I want to advance in the company and I am looking for ways we can do something better.”) If your boss rejects your efforts, that is probably a sign for you that you may want to start looking around for some place where you will be more appreciated.
Pivotalness is about bringing more value to your work and ultimately more business success and professional satisfaction. Too many of us just let our jobs define us instead of the other way around and you may find that you have more success that you can stand
Material for this article has been drawn from our upcoming book (Michael Couch and me) Strategy-Driven Leadership: The Playbook for Developing Your Next Generation of Leaders