Dirty Jobs Build Reputation - SAVVY INTRAPRENEUR

Intrapreneur Breaking News

Dirty Jobs Build Reputation

A client hired me to provide technology support at a conference in Atlanta this week.  This has been a "low visibility" role since last week.  Once computers, peripherals and wireless networks were setup by the technology team, my role has been to just be "on call".  Yesterday I heard through the grapevine that the event producer commented "Carl does a great job of making other people look good".  It was very gratifying to hear this, because I didn't think he was even paying attention.  

The irony of the statement is it came as a result of creating visibility by doing mundane, dirty jobs unrelated to my core technical skills.  So far, some of the tasks I've done at this conference are crowd control in getting attendees on tour buses, insuring the registration team had a constant supply of office supplies, directing attendees to workshops, helping the command center team collate presentation copies and herding some children playing on the escalator to the daycare center to play safer games. Do you think my client will be satisfied with engaging my technical expertise?  The answer is since 2002, this is the 4th time the client has engaged my services at this biennial week long conference.

Creating high visibility at work many times requires stepping outside of our primary role.  Doing those dirty jobs most people don't want to do.  This is smart marketing in building a reputation with peers, managers and the "powers that be" at the top of the corporate food chain.  In an interview with Bill Powell of CNNMoney.com, CEO of Baidu, Inc., Robin Li says it best. "During our first board meeting, when the company was founded, I said, "I never ran a company by myself -- what kind of advice do you have for me?" And I was told, "Under promise and over deliver."  The advice Robin received is the key to strategic career positioning or developing a successful business.

Everyone at work is expendable.  Performing some extra unsolicited tasks can make you be perceived as indispensable, when the staff cut hammer drops.  It starts by asking the question "do you need help with something"?  Having the attitude of "it's not my job" is definitely a career killer these days.  By searching for opportunities at work to step out of your core skill comfort zone, better positioning is always gained.  Years ago, during a bring your child to work day, a senior vice president asked me to keep an eye on his son, while the SVPattended a meeting.  For an hour I was probably the most expensive baby sitter in the world.  This paid big dividends when the SVP renewed my technology consulting contract 3 months later.

Doing whatever it takes to create and maintain visibility with clients is a savvy intrapreneur's best marketing strategy.  Be there and be there often, even if it means not always doing what you were initially hired to do.

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