The most important thing to say to get a promotion

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, “Certainly I can!” Then get busy and find out how to do it. (Theodore Roosevelt)

 Certainly I can! What an inspiring phrase.

My story:

Microfocus COBOL was a total unknown.  It had been used to program a small but critical insurance application two years before.  The manager of 70 people asked among his employees for a volunteer to fix it. No one stepped up. Finally he asked if anyone else could do it.  I replied, “I can learn how.”  I wasn’t an employee.  I was an expensive contract programmer being paid to do something else.  He gave me the assignment and I learned a new skill.  It was interesting that as I worked on it some of the employees who didn’t volunteer came by and told me how lucky I was to know those skills.

If you look at real leaders, technical, managerial, and sales leaders, you will find that they volunteer for difficult projects.  They hear about a problem or project and ask themselves, “Can I learn how to do that?” They lobby for the chance to take on significant problems that will have a big payback for the company.  They often find and solve serious problems no one else could even bring themselves to admit.  Then those leaders take appropriate credit for their personal learning and growth, and they are given more chances to solve difficult problems.

“Certainly I can” is a critical phrase in a leader’s vocabulary.  It isn’t a matter of being able to do the impossible this second.  It is knowing that given time and appropriate resources the problem can be solved and I can do it.

Something To Do Today

Look for problems.  Look for screw ups.  Listen for moaning, whining and complaining.  Make lists of all the difficulties you can find.  Decide which of them will have the biggest payback for the company.  Tell the right person, “I can fix that”, and watch what happens.

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Tomorrow:     But I’m a really fast learner

Later:              Re-entering the workforce

I don’t want to spend my money on training

Make a game out of it

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