Keep pushing yourself, even when out of the spotlight. / Jon Feingersh / Getty Images
In a tough job market, competition to hang on to the one you’ve got is fierce. In Admired: 21 Ways to Double Your Value, venture capitalist and executive coach Mark Thompson lays out how readers can raise their value in the eyes of the company — and the boss.
Deliver on demand. “To be valued, you have to be ready to deliver whatever is being asked of you, when it’s asked of you,” he says. That goes even when no one is watching: “A lot of people will work hard when the spotlight is on them. We live for instant applause.” But taking action and pushing yourself when you are on your own is what will set you apart.
More skills equals greater value. In his 40s, Thompson, then an executive at Charles Schwab, went back to college to expand his understanding of Web design so he could grow his company’s online presence. “It was me and a bunch of 20-year-olds,” he says with a laugh. “But I did it part-time, and I did it because I knew I would be more valuable to the company with this information.” It worked: Thompson became executive producer of Schwab.com.
Standing out means taking risks ... and doing things differently. Start small, experimenting with new ideas in just one area of your responsibilities, Thompson suggests. “Gamble with something you can afford to lose. Most experiments fail, but every so often, one of them will be great. If you never take a risk, you will never distinguish yourself from the crowd.”