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Contents

Section 1 - Establish Personal Work Goals 1.1 Serve as a positive role model in the workplace through personal work planning and organization. 1.2 Ensure personal work goals, plans and activities reflect the organization’s plans, and own responsibilities and accountabilities 1.3 Measure and maintain personal performance in varying work conditions, work contexts and contingencies

Section 2 - Set and meet own work priorities 2.1 Set and meet own work priorities 2.2 Use technology efficiently and effectively to manage work priorities and commitments 2.3 Maintain appropriate work-life balance, and ensure stress is effectively manages and health is attended to

Section 3 - Develop and Maintain Professional Competence 3.1 Assess personal knowledge and skills against competency standards to determine development needs, priorities and plans 3.2 Seek feedback from employees, clients and colleagues and use this feedback to identify and develop ways to improve competence 3.3 Identify, evaluate, select, and use development opportunities suitable to personal learning style(s) to develop competence 3.4 Undertake participation in networks to enhance personal knowledge, skills and work relationships 3.5 Identify and develop new skills to achieve and maintain a competitive edge  2

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Introduction All any of us have that we can offer to our employers is our time and our knowledge. Essentially, every job, throughout the world, whether professional, entrepreneurial, agricultural, service or industrial is a job where the individual is trading their time and knowledge for money. Granted, not all workers receive the same pay, nor do they all deserve the same pay. That would be socialism. There are a few things that affect a worker’s value to the company: • • •

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Level of training needed to obtain their expertise Efficiency with which they work The experience they have gained on the job and how that affects their work Expertise with which they work Rarity of people trained in performing that job

To some greater or lesser extent, all of these are controlled by the worker, not by the employer. Many would say that this isn’t true, because some jobs, such as doctors and lawyers pay more than others. Okay, but why do those jobs pay more? Isn’t it because of the level of training needed to obtain their expertise? Do we have an excess of cardiac surgeons in society? Are you willing to have a truck driver operate on your heart? Generally speaking, jobs that pay higher

do so because of the amount of training required to become qualified in that area of work and the rarity of people who can do that job. A star football player receives a huge salary because there aren’t many people who can do what they do. Oh, many may be able to play football, but not to that athlete’s level of expertise.

would be worth more to the company than the other? What about if one of those workers is able to complete more work than the other, because they work more efficiently? Doesn’t that make them more valuable to the company? Let me bore you with a little of my personal history. Many moons ago, I started my work career as a production technician in a medical equipment factory. We manufactured kidney dialysis machines, and I was part of a group of technicians who tested and calibrated the machines when they came off of the production line. Although I was only trained as a radio repair man in the army and didn’t have a high enough level of training for the job, I was hired by this company as a junior technician. After a year, I was promoted to technician, then after another year, they created a senior technician position so that they could promote me again.

At the other end of the scale, jobs that require little to no training tend to pay low wages, with little job security and almost no chance of promotion. There’s an overabundance of people available to fill those positions, so companies don’t need to offer a premium to hire people. Within any one professional field you will also find a range of pay based upon the company’s evaluation of an individual’s value to the company. Take engineering for example; an engineer who has been working with a company for 15 years, and knows all the company’s products, procedures and even the quirks of the equipment used in the factory is worth more to the company than an engineer fresh out of school. His knowledge, based upon his years of experience is what makes him worth more to the company.

The reason that the company decided it had to promote me was that in my typical work day, I produced 200 to 300% of what was expected of a technician, then I stopped working on test and calibration and started working on developing new test equipment, training manuals, and other things to make the department work more efficiently. The department kept giving me more and more responsibility, taking over some tasks from my supervisor, even though I was only 22 years old.

What about two seemingly equal individuals, with the same amount of training and experience, who work in the same job; is it possible that one  3

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Never say “I can’t.” Figure out how. As a senior technician, I was put in charge of a group of technicians who tested and calibrated the new kidney dialysis machine the company was producing that was computer controlled. Although there is more computing power in the average cell phone today than we had in our machine, at that time it was a breakthrough. IBM had just come out with their PC XT, which used 2 5-1/4” floppy drives, had no hard drive and a black & white (actually black & orange) screen.

so much faster than anyone else. No, I’m not Superman; I’m just a person who knows how to work efficiently. I had worked with those machines long enough, and developed a good enough understanding of the test procedure, that I had reorganized the work to make it run more efficiently. While other technicians were sitting on their stools, waiting for a test to run, I’d be making use of that time to run two or three tests, that didn’t conflict with each other, at the same time.

Manager. Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it, I never finished earning my engineering degree. My success in engineering wasn’t based upon my education, but upon a few basic principles:

As with most new products, we had our share of problems bringing this product into production. Since the actual time for test and calibration was unknown, the initial time standard was set at 24 hours; six times the time allowed for the standard machines.

They never invited me to that engineering meeting, nor did they bother to ask me why I could work more efficiently, but the result of it was that I was pulled out of production and moved into manufacturing engineering as a junior engineer. In the remaining 4-1/2 years that I worked for that company, I was promoted once more, to the position of engineer.

After three or four weeks of bumbling along with problems on these new machines, we were running an average of over 40 hours for test and calibration. Only one thing… while everyone else was running over 40 hours, I did one in 5-1/2 hours. The first reaction to that was that I’d obviously done something wrong and Quality Control would catch it. However, they only found three writeups, at a time when we were running over 20 write-ups per machine.

After seven years, I left that company to work as a consultant, not my most successful work experience. After 3 years of being self-unemployed and independently poor, I decided to go back to the workplace. This time, I went to work for a city transit bus manufacturer. Starting at that company as a senior engineer, I was twice promoted, ending up my last two years there (of 5) with the title of Engineering and Materials

The next day, every engineer in the company was in a conference room, trying to determine how I could work  4

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Never say “I can’t.” Figure out how. Never say “it’s impossible.” That just means that nobody else has figured out how. However you are doing it, there’s always a better way. Find the better way. Think outside the box… Box? What box? And most of all, accomplish more for the company that you work for than anyone else in the company.

I can honestly and literally say that my success as an engineer was based more than anything else on learning how to work efficiently. I have walked into factories that I had never seen before and after taking a tour of the factory, sat down and wrote a report of ways to increase that factory’s efficiency. How? Simple, I think “How can I do this more efficiently?” Anyone can learn how to work efficiently. Anyone can be that person who can accomplish more than others. It’s a matter of learning how to control your time and your priorities, instead of letting your time control you.


Section

1

Establish Personal Work Goals There’s an old saying that says, “The man who has no goal, will surely complete it.” In case you didn’t get what that means, it’s saying that such a man will accomplish nothing, because he has no goal. Goals are wonderful things that serve a number of very useful purposes in helping us accomplish something with our lives.

Okay, so how do you establish your personal work goals? First of all, your goals must fall in line with the company’s and your department’s goals. If you don’t have a copy of those, ask

• •  5

Goals give you a direction in which you are going. Goals tell you when you get there. Goals motivate you along the way.

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Goals serve as a measuring rod to compare other things to and know which are worth your time and effort. Goals keep you from falling into whatever trap someone else lays to rob your time. Goals help you determine the priority of various proposed actions.


Establish Personal Work Goals for them. If they don’t exist, write some up and get them approved (especially for your department). Once you have your company and departmental goals, you can begin to determine your personal goals. Let me repeat myself on this; your personal goals need to support both your departmental and company goals. They are how you are going to help the department and company complete their goals.

“A man without a plan will surely complete it.” Let me say something here. Many people are so focused on goals that personally serve their needs and desires that they forget about the company. These people never succeed. Oh, they might succeed for a season, but not for the long run. If all you do is create business goals based upon what is good for yourself, you aren’t an asset to the company. There is no

reason for your superiors to be interested in your success. On the other hand, if you create goals based upon what is good for the company and complete those goals, you will prove yourself valuable to the company. You won’t have to seek promotion, it will seek you. I don’t say this just from theory, but from personal experience. Your goals need to be clearly written and posted someplace where you can see them regularly. While many people like to put them in their personal planner, posting them on your wall not only helps you to see them, but demonstrates to others that you have goals, and are working to fulfill them.

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Establish Personal Work Goals

1.1 Serve as a positive role model in the workplace through personal work planning and organization Most people are not organized with their time or their workplace. Even those that think they are organized may not truly be. What they are calling organization may only be creating a calendar of what others have dictated that they have to do; meetings they have to be in, deadlines that have to be met and regularly reoccurring reports that have to be compiled. While these things are important, and need to be on your calendar, they aren’t proactive means of organizing your time, they are merely reactive. If you want to succeed in work planning, you must become a proactive organizer.  7

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Steps for being proactive in your work planning: 1. Form the habit of planning your time 2. Understand the scope of your work responsibility 3. Find regularly reoccurring tasks and automate them 4. Seek out the regularly reoccurring problems and deal with them before they become problems 5. Find the 10% of wasted effort and eliminate it 6. Find better ways to do things


Establish Personal Work Goals You need to realize that time spent in planning is always time well invested. All successful businessmen are planners by nature. By investing in creating a plan, you are insuring that the important things are being done; while lesser important things may be allowed to pass by the wayside. The first step in being proactive about organizing your time is to understand the scope of your work responsibility. In the process of developing your goals, you should have defined what your area of responsibility is. If not, you need to do so; otherwise, you will never be able to manage that area. When I started engineering in the bus plant, I was responsible for 1/3 of the production line. By knowing that, I knew that every problem that happened in that part of the plant was my problem. I needed to deal with them, before my boss knew about them. Once you know your area of responsibility, the next step in being proactive is to determine what regularly reoccurring tasks are part of that responsibility. In

design engineering department to release the right options into the bill of materials and often develop new options. We invariably had errors in the engineering bill of materials, which caused problems on the production floor. I developed a checklist for the common problem areas and a plan for checking and dealing with them before those orders hit the production line. This saved me and the company an enormous amount of time and problems.

“If something is being done the way it’s always been done, then it’s time for a change.” most companies, those are low priority items that are time eaters. Anything you can do to minimize the amount of time you spend on those tasks makes you more efficient and more productive for the company. Get creative; put technology to work for you, and make those tasks as automated as possible.

cases, they are the same problems, cropping up over and over again. Here is where your proactive planning can really start to shine. Identify those areas and develop a plan to watch for them and catch them before they reach critical mass. In the bus plant, the buses we built were semi-custom, based upon the customer’s (a city) specifications. This required the

Every job has certain problems that go along with it. In many  8

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I remember reading a management article back in my engineering days, which reported that 10% of the work done by any person in a company is totally unnecessary. To me, that was a pretty significant figure. I decided that finding that 10% and eliminating it was a good way to make myself at least 10% more efficient for the company. The way to find that 10% is to


Establish Personal Work Goals follow the work you do, in order to determine what happens to it. As I did that, I found that one report that every engineer in my department was required to do weekly was only filed and never used. I wrote up a proposal, and received approval to eliminate that report. I also found that part of the work we were doing to verify the production flow was also being done by the production superintendants. Both versions were given to the floor supervisors (who worked for the superintendents) and they decided which one they would use, or whether they would use either of them. I succeeded in eliminating that documentation, except in cases where it was specifically requested by the floor supervisor. Finally, being proactive with your work planning means finding better ways to do everything that you are doing. In today’s computerized world, there are a plethora of tools available to help you organize you time and workload. But, finding better ways isn’t really about technology, it’s about an attitude.  9

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I mentioned this attitude when I was talking about my work experience as an engineer. I said, “No matter how you’re doing something, there’s always a better way.” Methods constantly change, technology constantly changes and new knowledge is constantly being discovered. But, in many companies, things are done the same way they have always been done. Why? Because that’s the way they do it. If something is being done the way it’s always been done, then it isn’t being done in the best possible way. Somebody, probably you, needs to take a look at whatever it is, with a fresh set of eyes and the attitude that there is a better way. Organizing your work also means organizing your workplace. A well organized workplace can increase your efficiency by as much as 30% in the average day. Why? Because most people spend that much time looking for the things they need to do their jobs. Try this experiment with a couple of co-workers. Buy two sets of


Establish Personal Work Goals

cheap stackable blocks, the kind where one will go inside of another. Set the two co-workers side by side at a table. Place one set of the blocks before one worker, nicely organized in a line. Dump the other set in front of the other co-worker in a disorganized fashion. Have a race to see who can stack the blocks the fastest. I’d be surprised if you come up with any result other than a 30% difference in their work efficiency. I’ve run this test hundreds of times, teaching work efficiency in a number of places. Almost without exception, the worker who had their blocks organized was able to finish the job, while the other one had 30% of the blocks left.

principle of how organization affects workplace efficiency. This was one of the secrets that allowed me to work more efficiently than my co-workers in the medical equipment plant. I had invested my personal money into buying my own tools, which were organized in a toolbox in such a way that I could grab anything, without having to look. When I moved from the production floor to the office, I kept the same habit of organizing my workspace. By eliminating the wasted time of looking for things, I gain a couple of extra hours of work time every day. That made me more valuable to the company I worked for.

While this example is rather simplistic, it does show the  10

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Establish Personal Work Goals

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