Be a Shortcut: The Secret Fast Track to Business Success
By Scott Halford
"If we want to deserve more, we have to provide more." - Nido Qubein, author, speaker
Due to economic conditions, a sort of "Business Darwinism" is taking over in
most organizations - survival of the fittest - as excess is trimmed and only
the necessary survive. This means companies are making decisions about who
will keep the organization afloat during lean times, and now, more than ever
before, employees have the ability to secure their own futures. That is, if
they are those who are the indispensable, go-to resource their company can't
live without: a Shortcut.
It makes good sense to take stock of your worth and influence as a business
professional during these scary times, and as you do, take notice of those
who are making it and living the lives they want. Chances are they're all
remarkable Shortcuts to their internal and external clients … not shortcuts
of the easy-way-out variety, shoddy quality or questionable ethics, but
rather Shortcuts with a capital "S": Individuals who are the professionals
their company can't live without.
We Need You!
There is an enormous need for Shortcuts because employees are being asked to
do the added work of those laid-off in this recession. Shortcuts are the
ones called upon because they were willing, during better times, to work at
a few things very passionately and personably.
Consider that more people have access to more information than any other
time in history. The astonishing level of information overload, while still
needing to act and react with speed, brings about intense worldwide
competition and more constantly stressed-out lives as a by-product. It's
more difficult to even be an average competitor.
Enter you - the Shortcut. As one, you: Carve out your only little fiefdom -
coddle it, study it, write about it, talk about it and get up the next
morning and do it again. You become consistently good and gracious at what
you do and others trust you. You are the reliable lawn service; the Grease
Monkey down the street; the administrator who predicts her boss's needs and
then exceeds them; the vice president who mentors a team by teaching
individuals what she knows and then encourages them to go beyond that point.
You are who others instantly think of when they need a particular skill or
service or to find a specific piece of valid information in the sea of data.
You're there as a resource and sometimes a reassurance as they wade through
the piles of things they need to be effective.
The need for Shortcuts is high and there is a formula that you can follow to
help you think about how to be a better Shortcut.
The Shortcut Formula
There are a few simple things to consider in terms of being an invaluable
Shortcut. Here's the first part of the formula. People use Shortcuts most
1. They don't have enough time
2. They are lacking talent or skill in a needed area
3. Their desire to do something is low
Lack of time, talent and/or desire indicates a good opportunity for a
Shortcut. Ask if your service or job falls into one of these areas. The
other part of the formula is when, as a Shortcut, you make other's lives:
4. Easier, because they don't have to do the legwork
5. Better, because the quality of their life goes up, or they look good to
those they wish to impress
6. More money, because they make more money
Frame your job, service or product in a way that it addresses this part of
the formula and your influence and value go up. Of course, you have to add
a big dose of positive attitude and emotional intelligence that make dealing
with you such a pleasure. Let's take a look at the two ingredients of a
Shortcut: expertise and emotional intelligence.
Be "The Expert"
The Shortcut understands intuitively what trend-forecaster, John Naisbitt,
predicted in the late 1980s about success in the millennium. He said the
individuals and organizations that can organize and make useful the
proliferation of information will be the most successful and profitable of
the 21st century.
Naisbitt was right- he was talking about being the Shortcut, the expert, the
go-to person in his or her own little corner of an industry who can find and
distill the right information at the right time to the right people in the
right way. These people create the lives they want because they've done
something the average professional isn't willing to do: They commit
themselves deeply and with fierce focus in a very specialized area. They
strive to become experts, no matter the topic area. They essentially become
the Google of their business. The first step is to find what you love to do
and then research it and practice it so you're the "household" name where
Be Emotionally Intelligent
Expertise is only a part of the equation; Shortcuts also have high emotional
intelligence (EI). EI is the set of attributes that predict a person's
workplace and life success better than IQ and technical expertise, and like
IQ, your EI can be measured. But, unlike IQ, you can grow your EI through
practice and coaching. Don't misunderstand; IQ and expertise are necessary
to get you in the door, but think about it - the people you work with are
about as smart as the next person, so intelligence isn't the differentiator.
Research in human performance conclusively shows the big difference is in
being able to deal well with the day-to-day hassles and adverse events that
come your way. Those who don't cope well usually have bad attitudes and
inappropriate approaches to even the simplest requests. There's nothing
worse than a really smart person who makes you feel like an idiot. Shortcuts
understand their purpose in life isn't to show off their knowledge and
expertise, but rather to use them to teach others and to create simplicity
in other's lives. In doing so, they use excellent common sense and the
social graces that make them magnetic.
All things equal, most people will use a subject matter expert who exhibits
excellent emotional intelligence in difficult situations over the creepy
expert who blows his top over a simple request for services.
Be a Shortcut. When you are, you'll build the life you want because you're
giving time and peace of mind back to others so that they can build the life
they want. In this economy, that's the surest bet you can make.
About the Author:
Scott Halford is the author of the newly released book, "Be A Shortcut: The
Secret Fast Track to Business Success," (Wiley; January, 2009) which
provides tactics to help individuals become the professionals their company
can't live without. As the president of Complete Intelligence, LLC, Scott is
a leadership consultant and keynote speaker with nearly 20 years
specializing in emotional intelligence, critical thinking and the principles
of influence. For more information or to find out if you're a Shortcut, go
to www.BeAShortcut.com and take the Shortcut Quotient Inventory (SQI).