Complete high-visibility tasks that delight . To produce the biggest payoff, fix small but thorny problems. Examples: eliminating a glitch in your unit’s computers or helping managers comply with a federal employment law.
Here are tips on how to plug holes and get ahead:
Apply the “five minute test.” If you’re asked for a favor that’ll take less than five minutes and isn’t demeaning, just say yes. Then do it. Ten of those favors will take less than one hour; in return, you’ll strengthen your alliances 10 times.
Fear, dread and you. Be on the lookout for jobs that others fear or dread. Then do them—or at least handle the part that they like least.
As long as you’re comfortable lending a hand and the task isn’t onerous, you’ll come away a savior. Say your boss hates to haggle with suppliers; you can volunteer to make a call or two and establish better terms.
Satisfy a customer. Seek out the executive who’s most besieged with complaining customers. Offer to call or write an angry buyer.
If your company already has an ombudsman who oversees customer service, ask which department needs the most help. Then offer to call a sampling of customers on behalf of that unit.
Track your success. Remember to document your good deeds. Circulate a memo summarizing how you’ve fixed the computer or describing what terms you and a vendor agreed to. This provides clear evidence of your heroism.