Life / Money

Four ways that you can exceed everyone’s expectations at work

High performers can be counted on to deliver value — day in, day out.

In fact, superstar talent tends to exceed expectations regularly, and that’s how these types of workers get noticed by the powers that be.

The truism, “under promise, over-deliver” has merit.

Even if the “promise” part is out of your hands because your position comes with an assigned task list, it’s always possible to exceed expectations. Here’s how you can practise over-delivering this week to shine at work.

1. Think outside the box

Coming up with brand new creative ideas, or fresh combinations of existing ones, adds value to a business, project or unit.

Think more creatively by getting out of your comfort zone and gaining new perspectives.

Strike up conversations with those outside your field or market, ask questions and listen carefully to the responses.

“Fall in love with your customers’ problems,” not your solutions, advises Andrew King of the University of Virginia, and you’ll be well-positioned to come up with saleable ideas and solutions based on existing needs.

Once you have some fresh new ideas, test them with a bit of research, then practise your pitch for team members, supervisors, or senior management.

2. Volunteer for extras

There are some tasks no one puts their hand up for. Be the one to get your hands dirty.

Whether you are an entrepreneur, an intern, a middle manager striving to climb a corporate ladder, or even the CEO, this one’s for you.

“Do the jobs no one else wants to do,” advises LinkedIn author Creel Price, “tackle tough or inglorious tasks without complaint or promise of reward” and you’ll demonstrate your strong work ethic and leadership mindset.

And while you’re at it, stay on alert for the pet projects that come down from the C-suite and grab ahold of those high-visibility opportunities to gain some extra points with your crew.

3. Step up, own it, stand out

Differentiate yourself by consisentently delivering exceptional work products and performance, above and beyond everyone’s expectations.

Too busy or slightly unmotivated?

At those times, the secret to feeling optimistic and inspired at work is adopting what Harvard Business Review author Heidi Grant Halvorson calls a “promotion focus” — a mindset concentrated on racking up the accomplishments and achievements that will get you noticed by the powers that be.

One easy way to find those promotional opportunities is to be on the lookout for tasks or projects you can take ownership of.

Own it, do it and establish a reputation as the problem solver, “the one your boss associates with getting things done,” advises Tim Murphy.

In the process you’ll increase your value to the organization and your job security.

4. Be on time

For self-starters and entrepreneurial types, consistent punctuality is absolutely essential for communicating to higher-ups that you are trustworthy and prepared to be productive.

To get ahead, business coach Dan Kennedy advises you to “be where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there, as promised, without exception, without excuse, every time, all the time.”

Managing your schedule properly is part of managing others’ expectations, and it indicates that you can be counted on for higher-stakes projects and critical, time-sensitive tasks. So be on time, and deliver on deadline.

Or better yet, be early. Having work finished ahead of schedule always gets noticed.

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This article is excerpted from sidneyeve matrix’s professional development course in personal branding with social media, offered online at Queen’s University.

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