Monday, 12 September 2016 16:34

Stop Asking For Opinions, Start Proposing Solutions

go to guy providing solutions

In every workplace, there's always a "go to" guy. This guy or gal is the one that has all the answers.

Everyone respects their opinion. They are often seen as the movers and shakers within the corporate office. They are bold, they are charismatic and they get things done.

Often times, they're either a boss or the right hand man next to a boss. They're the ones that are always recognized at corporate parties for getting things done, producing results and increasing the ROI.

There's a couple of these types of Alpha Dogs running around the offices here. When they enter the room, everyone is looking. When they speak, everyone listens

But what I want to know is how they became the go to guys and what they do that is so different than anyone else.

I sat down with one of the Alpha Dogs at lunch recently and asked him what was the difference between him and everyone else. How he got to the top, and what was the secret of becoming a "Go To" guy.

This is what he said:

"I wasn't always like this. In fact, I was very meek and quiet.

I spent my days in a cubicle just hammering out work and watching others get the promotions I wanted when they did far less than I ever did.

I realized that there is a certain formula to success in any walk of life.

It's not something that comes easily, but it's easy to see the difference.

The formula works like this:

1. Stop thinking of yourself as an underling. While you may be the newest hire, or the lowest on the totem pole, walk with your shoulders back, head high and above all, never let them see insecurity, no matter how doubtful you are.

This first part is the most important thing you can change about yourself in an instant. If you portray yourself as an underling, that's all the boss will ever see you as (and it's all you'll ever feel you're worth). There's nothing shameful with being the bottom guy in the food chain, but when you believe that being at the bottom is all you'll ever be, and stop reaching for something better, then you'll have just fulfilled the prohecy (meaning you will never be more than the lowest guy).

Additionally, if you think and carry yourself as someone that has importance, then people will see and feel that, and in turn, give you the weight and respect of someone important.

2. Stop Being Afraid. Think about it. You go through work (or life) being afraid. Afraid that the boss will yell at you for a mistake. Afraid that you're going to mess up a TPS report, even afraid that you're not going to "perform" in bed for your wife. These fears will hold you back more than anything anybody could say or do. The fear that you have will stop you long before you even have the chance to see if you can succeed.

Always consider the worst that could happen. In 90% of the situations where you're afraid, if s*it hits the fan, it's really not a huge deal. One quick apology later, and everything is back on track. See, unless you do something truly wrong, like stealing from the petty cash drawer, people look for reasons to forgive, especially when it's also a learning experience that you can show a take-away from. I've screwed up big time, many times. I've never been too proud to say I was wrong, or apologize for the mistake.

People respect those who make mistakes and get back on the horse to try again. Chances are that those who watched you fail will want to help you succeed the second time around.

3. Take Calculated Risks. If you don't take risks, you'll never see what you're capable of. You will be wrong a lot. You will fail alot. Each time you fail, it makes it easier to succeed. You also learn valuable lessons along the way. You'll gain experience too.

With each failure, you become more experienced and know what you need to do to avoid the same pitfall the next time you jump on the horse. It increases your chances of success everytime you fail, so don't stop getting back on the horse after you figured out what went wrong.

4. Most importantly, Stop Asking People For Their Thoughts and Opinions and Start Offering Solutions To The Problem.

This is the single biggest difference between a "go to guy" and everyone else. Go To Guys are the ones you go to for a solution. When you go to one of us to ask a question, you expect an answer. When you asked me what made me a "go to guy", you expected me to share my secret.

In the workplace here, I lead big projects, but I never ask for thoughts and opinions. Instead, I gather only what I need to know in order to plan out the project and make it happen. I don't care if people say I'm wrong or the project will fail. I never let them see the doubts. I present the project as if I have the utmost faith that it will succeed, and I don't show them my fears that it really won't work.

See, when you can convince a room that you know something will work, no matter how insane it may be, they will believe it will work as well. When no one in the room has doubts of failure, then whatever project you have on the table will be accepted and will succeed. 

People will overcome failure when there's no option in their mind but success.

When I give people tasks, when I delegate responsibility, I also hand out ownership of success. What that means is that each person feels like they're a pivotal part of the process, and that by just doing their part, the project will succeed.

If something goes wrong, I don't point fingers, I just provide solutions to overcome the problem. People will often contribute their own ideas as well, and when that happens, you, as the go to guy, endorses one solution or another and the project gets underway again."

Become An Answerman

More often than not, you'll find people asking for opinions on what should be done, how it should be done and when they should get started. You might be one of these people.

Don't worry, it's pretty natural. In a corporate environment, we're all programmed to ask for permission rather than to just get things done. Understanding what the Go To Man's secret is, it's imperative to move away from the position of pernission seeking to providing the answers that people need to hear.

This isn't just true at work, but it also applies to just about every aspect of life. Your friend's need someone to go to, even if they don't know it yet. Your family does too.

Being the answer guy doesn't mean just providing the answers, it means doing what it takes to get the job done. Making sure you have the resources and manpower, ensuring you're on budget and projected completion date.

Get things done using all the available resources will put you in the position of being that Go To Guy that everyone looks up to, not in a position where you're looking at him or her and wondering what their secret is.