All too often we fall into the “employee mindset,” where we’re frustrated by our lack of ability to make a difference and to affect change; we’re just there to fill a role and worry that at the end of the day we’re totally replaceable.
While it’s important to make sure you know your job and do it well, if you want to excel in your career you need to look for chances to take it to the next level… you need to think like a decision maker.
What Do Decision Makers Think About?
Your boss and the other decision makers at your company spend their days worrying about the success of the company as a whole. That includes:
How to look good for their boss (or board or shareholders or customers…)
Finances -- Is the company (and your boss’ department) contributing to the company’s financial success?
Time - How much time is your boss working? Anything that makes your boss’ life easier or job done faster is likely to make him very happy. Also, how much time does his team take to accomplish tasks? The quicker things get done (without compromising on quality), the happier he’ll be.
To get ahead in your career and to advance your best ideas, it’s important to think like your boss—by thinking like a decision maker you can help impact your company for the better and prove your value (which is helpful in getting that raise you’ve been thinking about…).
So what is the best way to show your value?
Understand your boss’ goals. While the things above are generally things that company decision makers value, it’s important to ask your boss what he’s working on and working toward for the company. Once you understand his goals, you can align your ideas and your day-to-day work to help him achieve them.
Make your boss look good. Want to become your boss’ favorite employee? Make him look good for his boss or in front of your customers. This doesn't imply giving fake endorsements. On the contrary, it's about understanding your boss role and how you both together can make his goals happen so that you both look good.
Understand how your ideas and your job impact the company’s financial success. Presenting an idea is nice—but when you explain how that idea will impact the company’s bottom line your boss is likely to be a lot more interested.
Understand how your ideas and your job speedup company processes and/or make your boss’ life easier.
When you understand how to think like a decision maker and properly position your suggestions, you’ll be able to win over your boss (and, as a bonus, your team).