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Understanding what your company wants from you

From: Thinking Like a Leader

Video: Understanding what your company wants from you

In a business, there's a distinction between needs and wants. Your company's hiring process, and their ongoing reassessment of how well you're performing, is based upon both, its needs and its wants. But there is an important difference between the two. Imagine a couple shopping for a new vehicle at a car dealership. As they go through the decision making process, they'll consider a variety of attributes that they need or want. This couple has some specific needs for their new car.

Understanding what your company wants from you

In a business, there's a distinction between needs and wants. Your company's hiring process, and their ongoing reassessment of how well you're performing, is based upon both, its needs and its wants. But there is an important difference between the two. Imagine a couple shopping for a new vehicle at a car dealership. As they go through the decision making process, they'll consider a variety of attributes that they need or want. This couple has some specific needs for their new car.

It has to have enough room for their growing family, good gas mileage, adequate cargo space, reliability, and safety. These needs represent the logical part of their decision making. There is also an emotional aspect, their wants. These include how the car looks, its color, type of upholstery, and maybe even their emotional attachment to the brand of car. In business it's the same. It's important to meet your company's needs first. If you're not satisfying the needs that you were hired to fill, they won't keep you for very long.

Just as the couple won't buy a sports car that doesn't satisfy their needs for their family, regardless of how much fun it is to drive. Obviously, you need to provide what's expected of you. But once you fulfill those expectations, what really makes you excel in your career is when you go beyond the needs and start satisfying your company's wants as well. We've provided a worksheet that will help you analyze the difference between what your company needs and what it wants from you.

The first column is for listing the company's needs. For example, you may need to complete reports in a timely manner, hit sales targets, complete projects on time, and so forth. Take a moment to list everything that the company needs from you. These are your job responsibilities and represent the minimum expectations. Once you've done that, you can rate yourself on how well you're doing on each of these. I recommend using a scale of 0 to 10.

Zero meaning, you're making no attempt to meet that need, and 10, meaning you are satisfying the need so well, there's no room for improvement. Let's move on to the wants column. Typically, the wants represent improvement, areas where you'll do more, better, beyond the basic expectations that have been given to you. Some wants might be improving the quality of the reports you create, getting higher-quality clients or becoming more creative. Take a moment to list some of the things you believe your company wants from you.

It may help to ask a co-worker or your manager to give you some ideas. If you've watched the previous videos in this section, you've also gained some understanding about the future of the company and the role of money. Use that knowledge to give you insight into what the company wants. Then rate yourself on a scale of 0 to 10 on how well you're doing. By performing the minimum requirements of your job to satisfy the needs of your company, and then going above and beyond to satisfy the wants of the company, you'll begin setting yourself apart from the others and making yourself invaluable.

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Thinking Like a Leader

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Dave Crenshaw
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