There are methods and techniques used by the highest-paid and most successful people in our society to get paid more money for what they do and get promoted faster to higher levels of authority and responsibility.
When you begin to use them yourself, you put your entire life and career onto the fast track. You will make more progress in the next couple of years than the average person makes in 10 or 20 years. Here are 7 ways to get started:
1. Find a High-Growth Industry
You can make more progress toward getting paid more and getting promoted faster in a couple of years in a high-growth industry than you might in five or 10 years in a slow-growth industry.
Once you have identified a high-growth industry, do your homework. Research and find out what companies in that industry are growing the most rapidly. Remember, 20 percent of the companies in any industry make 80 percent of the profits. They have better leadership, better products and services, better technology, and a better future. These are the companies where you want to work.
2. Select the Right Boss
Choosing the right boss is one of the most important decisions that you ever make. It can accelerate your career and enable you get paid more and promoted faster than almost anything else you do.
You should look upon accepting a job as if you were entering into a marriage, with your boss as your spouse. He or she is going to have an enormous impact on how much you get paid, how much you enjoy your work, how rapidly you get promoted, and every other part of your work life.
When you are looking for a job, you should interview your potential boss carefully to make sure that he or she is the kind of person you would enjoy working with and for. This should be someone whom you would respect and look up to, someone who is friendly and supportive and on whom you can depend to help you move ahead as rapidly as possible. Whenever possible, you should talk to other people who work for that boss.
3. Develop a Positive Attitude
Fully 85 percent of your success in work, no matter how intelligent or skilled you are, is going to be determined by your attitude and your personality. Your overall success, how much you are paid, and how fast you are promoted will be largely determined by how much people like you and want to help you.
Research shows that a positive, cheerful person is more likely to be paid more and promoted faster. This kind of person is more readily noticed by superiors who can accelerate his or her career. In addition, a positive person is supported by his or her coworkers and staff. There seems to be an upward pressure from his or her peers that drives a positive person forward at a faster rate.
The critical determinant of a positive attitude is how well you function under stress. Anyone can be positive when things are going well. But it is when you face difficulties and setbacks that you demonstrate to yourself and to everyone else what you are really made of. You’ve heard it said that "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." A person with a positive attitude looks for the good in every person and every situation. He or she looks for something positive or humorous. The positive person tends to be constructive rather than destructive. And the good news is that a positive attitude is something that you can learn by practicing it, every single day, especially when it is most needed.
4. Create a Positive Image
It is absolutely amazing how many people are held back, year after year, because no one has ever taken them aside and told them how important their external appearance is to getting paid what they are truly worth.
The first rule is that you should always dress for success in your job and in your company. Look at the top people in your industry. Look at the top people in your company. Look at the pictures in newspapers and magazines of the men and women who are being promoted to positions of higher responsibility and pay. Pattern yourself after the leaders, not the followers.
5. Start Earlier, Work Harder, and Stay Later
Develop a workaholic mentality. There is nothing that will bring you to the attention of the important people in your work life faster than for you to get a reputation as a hard, hard worker.
Everybody knows who the hard workers are in every business. The hardest workers are always the most respected in any company of value. They are always paid more and promoted faster for a very simple reason: They are more productive. They get more work done in a shorter period of time. They are more valuable to the company. They set a better example, and are the kind of people bosses are proud of and want to keep more than anyone else.
The rule is that two extra hours of work each day are all you really need to invest to become one of the most successful people of your generation. You can get these extra two hours by coming in an hour earlier and staying an hour later. In most cases, this will expand your day slightly but it will expand your career tremendously.
The top people in every field work more hours than the average people. In fact, the top 10 percent of money-earners in the United States work 50 to 60 hours per week. In addition, remember that they work all the time they work. They do not waste time. When they arrive at work early, they immediately start in on important tasks.
This must be your goal as well. Work all the time you work. Do not play on the computer all day, make personal phone calls, read the newspaper, or chat about the latest football game or television program. The average person today works at less than 50 percent of capacity. Only about 5 percent of people in the world of work today actually work the whole time. Everyone else is functioning somewhere below their potential, in many cases far, far below.
6. Push to the Front
One of the most important ways to come out ahead is for you to continually ask for more responsibility. Volunteer for every assignment. Go to your boss at least once every week and ask him or her for more responsibility.
Most people in the world of work do only what is asked of them. But this is not for you. Your job is to keep asking for more, and, whenever you are given a new responsibility, to fulfill it quickly and well. Remember: You want to develop a reputation for being the kind of person who is given the responsibility whenever someone wants to get something done quickly.
Do you want a promotion? Getting one is very much under your control. The fact is that you promote yourself every time you take on a new responsibility. You will eventually rise to the level of the responsibility you are willing to accept. There are no limits. And there are fewer things more important in helping you get paid what you’re really worth than for you to develop a reputation for speed and dependability. Be the kind of person your boss can count on to get the job done fast. Whatever it takes, treat every assignment you receive as if it were a test upon which your future career depended.
A young man in a large company told me this story: One year he volunteered to head up the United Way campaign in his company. All of the other managers had avoided this responsibility because it was so time-consuming.
But the young man saw it as an opportunity to perform for senior people in the company. He leaped at the responsibility, and did an outstanding job of getting everyone in the company to contribute to making the campaign a success. In the course of running the campaign, the young man was able to meet with almost every senior manager in the company, getting a chance to talk to them and become known by them.
As a result of the success of the campaign, the president of the company was given a special award and was written up in the newspapers as one of the top executives in the community. Within six months after the campaign ended, this young man had been promoted twice. A year later, his former manager, who had avoided the United Way responsibility, was working for my friend.
7. Ask for What You Want
This is one of the most important success principles you will ever learn to help put your career onto the fast track: The future belongs to the askers. The future does not belong to those people who sit back, wishing and hoping that their lives and their work will become better. The future belongs to those people who step up and ask for what they want. If they don’t get it, they ask again and again until they do.
Ask your boss what you have to do to qualify for an increase. There is no point in your working hard if you don’t know exactly what it is that you have to do to get paid more and promoted faster. Clarity is essential. Go to your boss and ask, and ask again if you are still not clear.
If you want an increase, you must ask for it. And the way you ask is by building a case, as a lawyer would build a case, for your getting the amount that you want to receive. Instead of saying that you need more money, as most people do, you have a different strategy. You put together a list of the jobs that you are now doing and the additional experience and skills you have developed. Show the financial impact of your work on the overall operations of the company and the contribution that you are making as a top employee.
Present this information to your boss, in writing, and tell him or her that, based on all of this, you would like an increase of a specific amount of money per month and per year. In many cases, you will get the increase simply by asking for it in an intelligent way. In some cases you will get less than you requested. If this happens, ask what you will have to do to get the rest of the increase that you asked for.
If your request for an increase is turned down, ask exactly what you will have to do to get the increase you requested at a later time and exactly when that increase will be payable. Be specific. Be clear.
And don’t be afraid to ask.
—This article is adapted from Brian Tracy's Earn What You're Really Worth, Copyright 2012; reprinted with permission from Vanguard Press.
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[Image: Flickr user Woodley Wonder Works]