mind your business: Indispensable, Irreplaceable You
Given the rapid pace of change in most organizations, it is likely that you have, on occasion, considered the value you add. Value is the return on investment benefit that your company enjoys because of your unique contribution to clients, colleagues and work product. It also includes things like how you enhance the company brand, introduce innovative approaches or facilitate breakthrough solutions that impact the bottom line. The degree of value you bring to your company directly correlates with your irreplaceability.
Unfortunately, few people describe themselves as irreplaceable. When a new boss comes onboard, or an existing employee is promoted to a managerial position, often their first step is to actively seek out people with ideas about "making things better around the office." These individuals can be called the "linchpins," and they are the ones who have lived and will continue to live in the organization long after the incoming boss is gone. They have more skin in the game—and perspective-so seeking them out will aid the manager in assessing the organization's capacity—its ability to grow.
Here's the other great thing about irreplaceable people—they can be incredibly influential. They might not be influential at first or all the time, but they are the people who, armed with belief in their ideas and their organization's ability, build strategic alliances and create breakthrough experiences. They stick their necks out when others are in protecting-their-necks mode. Influence is more than just having a great idea—it's about understanding and being able to carefully navigate the environment and relationships needed to get the idea socialized and considered viable by others.
Here are six tips for making yourself irreplaceable:
1. Believe you are irreplaceable. Confidence is huge. If you don't see your contribution or potential contribution as valuable, how will others?
2. Be political. Political savvy is one of the most difficult skills to teach, yet one of the most crucial, particularly for achieving C-Suite ambitions. Being political does not mean failing to listen or be influenced by other points of view. In fact, some of the most influential leaders are distinguished by their careful and authentic consideration of alternatives.