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Archive for April, 2015

This is a story about showing up, taking the initiative and working hard and then being noticed for it.

Army Girl was very young when she started with the military, only 17; a lot of people had to sign papers for her to join. It has proven to be a very good decision on her part. That could be the story but it isn’t.

Army girl was sent to Iraq, this was during the middle stages of the war and things were somewhat calmed down but still not overly safe. She was an E4 so pretty low on the totem pole. Army girl drives a fuel truck. They go out on missions frequently to other bases called FOB’s.

Before each mission there is a briefing on what to expect and any enemy action in the area. They are open to the troops but generally only those who had to be there, usually sergeants and above, went to them -with the exception of Army Girl. She went to every briefing before a mission.

She didn’t have to. She didn’t really need to. She could have just waited for the second hand information, if there was something important the information would have eventually gotten to her. But Army girl didn’t like getting second hand information, often times the details were a little sketchy and Army girl wanted to make sure she knew what she was walking- driving – into.

Pretty soon it was noticed that the lowest ranked person in the room was there voluntarily.  That she took notes and that she paid attention to details. Because she showed up, she took the initiative, her job responsibilities changed and she was able to get more experience and meet more people up the chain of command. By the time she left Iraq she had met majors and colonels and even a couple generals she would not have been exposed to if she left it up to someone else to attend those meetings.

Army girl was promoted to sergeant before she was 20 years old. By showing up, taking the initiative and working hard, she advanced her career.  This can happen to you too, you do not have to be in the military to advance your career by showing up, taking the initiative and working hard.

Don’t be afraid to be the lowest ranking person in the room. Don’t be afraid to get the information first hand. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and be noticed.

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I heard the best and worst quote today . . . and it was the same sentence. It was the best quote because it was true and hit the nail right on the head. It was the worst because it hit way too close to home.

“We only worry about things when they are failing.” Ouch! That hurt. It hurt because it was true.

This quote can apply to business situations and personal ones. How many of us have been in a failing relationship? At one time or another everyone has, we can feel a shift in the way we or the other person thinks of us and we start to panic. There are two reactions to this shift, clinginess or indifference, two relationship killers. Clinginess is off-putting at best and leaves people feeling resentful and in need of getting away. Indifference is one of the cruelest things you can do to another human being.

In business it is easy to ignore things until failure occurs. We shouldn’t, but we do. The machine is running well and we need it now so preventative maintenance is skipped. People are working hard and getting things done so who needs to praise them? No need to worry about that machine or those people and then BAM! The machine breaks because it hadn’t had proper maintenance. Sales numbers go down, production goes down, and people leave because no one paid attention.

I am not a proponent of needless, endless worry. But a little attentive care can prevent a lot of failure. Ensuring timely preventative maintenance, a pat on the back, a few words that show you are paying attention, these all can prevent a lot of failing. A company I worked for fell on hard times. Everyone was anxious, morale fell, people left, production had many issues and the management went into hiding. If the owner had taken a few minutes every day to talk and connect with his workers that company would still be in business. But he didn’t take the time or pay attention until it was too late.

Don’t wait to worry about things until they are failing. Do your preventative maintenance, pay attention to your people small things that can prevent big messes.

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