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Want To Get Promoted? Develop The Habit Of Going The Extra Mile (GTEM)
Richard A. Chambers (Rick, his nickname, for short) was my training manager/coordinator at the Guinness Corporation. Plc Ikeja Brewery, Lagos in 1994/95. During this period approx. During the year I reported to him, he repeatedly challenged me to “build” myself and become highly competent as a brewer and manager.
When I visit the Benin Brewery, I have four thick spiral training reports (typed by myself) with very large photos (taken by Rick) of every process area/plant I have trained on. These documents – as Rick assured me they would – became very useful references during my later years at the company. As a matter of fact many new entrants (and some older managers) found at various points they needed to borrow and make copies!
But that’s not all. It was Rick’s prowess in Lotus spreadsheet macro programming that really brought us close. Over the course of 6 months he – assigned to him in a formal role – single-handedly developed an automated brewery variable cost analysis spreadsheet application that was adopted by both Lagos and Benin breweries for formal monthly brewery performance reporting purposes.
Fortunately for me, he saw the interest I showed while furiously coding various data entry/report generation interfaces, and decided to engage me by giving me a laptop, and checking the formulas for errors.
As time went by, he started giving me copies of all the code in different applications – for the brewing and packaging departments. I was still a trainee, but 6 months after resuming at Benin Brewery, I was formally responsible for maintaining/updating Rick’s software for Benin Brewery. This was all senior management level work – the very complex formulas for computing key performance indicators (KPIs) would have intimidated most people, but Rick prepared me well.
Not surprisingly, by 1997 I had successfully developed four custom reporting apps to replace manual data handling systems in the brewing department. Over time, other departments would make use of my skills – including engineering services and packaging departments.
But do you know the best part? I did all this casually – in my spare time – while still working full time as a brewer/manager. Nobody gave me any time – and I never asked for it. The challenge was there – and I was up to it, and the passion/enthusiasm to make a tangible difference was enough. Having seen Rick do many things outside of his brief, I had no problem doing so. He set a good example.
The time I spent with Rick prepared me for the successes I would later achieve at Guinness. Examples include enrollment in a company-wide Project Insight team that developed comprehensive frameworks for computerization of technical report data collection, analysis, etc. High profile secondments will be followed by promotions to relieve senior managers in various departments/sections, and then further seconds – incl. Travels abroad to attend international courses.
But I didn’t rest on my laurels – in fact, by the time I left the company (to start my own business), I had successfully mastered MS Excel-VB programming skills through self-tutoring, taking advantage of the company’s transition from Lotus. Smart Suite in MS Office. So, I didn’t just jump into developing a custom spreadsheet solution. I’ve been doing it for years before going into business.
It is important not to be arrogant, or think that you are superior to those who are not talented at what they do. I will never be old enough to call someone – 5 years old – a little boy or girl. The last thing I want to be is a big man – you know the one who owns all kinds of airplanes because they have money/power or position. It’s ironic that billionaires like Warren Buffet who have more reason to do great things still use old model cars and stay humble!
This article is written to encourage any person(s) currently in paid employment to allow themselves to be drafted to play roles that they consider outside of their job description would not be in their best interest. Many times opportunities for growth, advancement and success come in the form of work – to paraphrase Thomas Edison.
And so many people miss them! If you want to equip yourself for sustained success, ensure that you master your primary responsibilities that will enable you to successfully face additional challenges, as decision makers see that you have the ability to hold positions of higher responsibilities.
Some people get carried away by the “position” they think their job affords them. They are obsessed with acting as big men and women. This mentality makes them feel that they are too big to play certain roles. And that causes them to miss out on career advancement—especially in a company that’s looking for selfless leaders to get things done.
No serious minded decision maker will offer you a promotion or career advancement opportunity without ensuring that you have the ability – and enduring passion – to deliver the desired results. Develop the habit of going the extra mile (GTEM) in your work today, and watch yourself move to new levels of success!
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