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How do you know when you are ready for business success?

So you’re right out of school or you’re new to the market and you want to break into your field. But are you ready? Really ready? When after the umpteenth interview and the many false starts, or “almost-getting-it” jobs, you get “the job”. Finally, you have arrived. But are you ready for the work place? Are you prepared to shine and do what it takes to make a good impression? Do you know how to become the go-to person for your team, or even the person that everyone feels they can rely on and trust? Having hired many people here’s my list of what to do and what not to do:

When you don’t add… you subtract: One of my friends once said this to me when we were talking about work and I immediately got it. If as an employee you aren’t adding anything more than just doing the work, then, you’re not adding value. In fact, you actually create a situation where your colleagues will compensate for all you don’t add, weakening the entire team. It’s as easy as being involved. Showing interest and not being afraid of asking questions or stating opinions. It’s not cool to be less than you can be.

Showing up isn’t enough: That’s right. If all you do is show up to the office or job, chances are you won’t be showing up there for long! Doing less and not following through or not keeping pace gets tired really quickly… for everyone else. It’s not cool to do less.

Own it all. From filing to… storing: There’s always grunt work, or work that no one likes to do. This is different for everyone, but regardless what it is, it has to get done. And it has to get done properly and accurately. Work with intention and be committed. It’s not cool to do only what you like to do. 

Cross your t’s and dot your i’s: I cannot say this enough… and I am not just talking about grammar here! Yes, know the difference between its and it’s, or your and you’re. However,  just knowing the difference isn’t enough. You need to exercise the knowledge! I digress. Pay attention to details. Success is in the details. It’s not cool to say ‘Oh, yeah… sorry’.

Come in energized: Come in happy… and rested. It doesn’t bode well when you walk in the door dragging your you-know-what. Be prompt. Be up-beat. No, it’s not cool to yawn or zone out in meetings.

Know what you know: It’s very important to know your capabilities. Know what you know and what you don’t. If you don’t know, then say so. This is a good way to manage your boss’ expectations and timelines. It allows your boss to respond accordingly whether it’s giving the task to another team member or providing you added support to complete the task. It’s not cool to say you know… and then show that you don’t.

Listen and do: Learn to listen and follow the direction you’re given. And well, just learn. It’s not okay to just hear the direction and do your own thing. If your boss tells you how to do something, or how they want something done, then do it that way. If you have a concern or a different approach, then discuss it with them. It’s not cool to just do it your way.

Read the environment: Timing is everything and when stressful situations happen at work, understand that everyone reacts differently. Sometimes people react well and sometimes they don’t. Know that it’s not all about you. Yes… you are important and your needs are important… just maybe not at that particular moment. And no, it’s probably not cool or a good time to joke around or spend time chatting it up with other employees.

Don’t over promise and under deliver: In any business, deadlines are important. Whether it’s a report or a deadline for an ad or event, know one thing: Deadlines are not elastic. If a business misses a deadline, that means money… in the short or long-term. If you commit to a task and a deadline, you need to respect it. It’s not cool to say you’ll do it and then don’t.

There’s so many more I could list, but if you get these down pat, and at the risk of sounding like a clairvoyant, business success will be yours!