Grow Your Value At Work In 9 Steps

BruceHarphamBy Bruce Harpham

Expanding your responsibility is one of the best moves to grow your career. It’s a proven strategy that many of the world’s top performers use to develop themselves. Adding new tasks and responsibilities to your role is a practical way to demonstrate your proactive approach. The organization benefits from the increased productivity and
the individual benefits from the challenge of learning new skills in the short term and laying the groundwork for future growth (including compensation growth).

Identify Opportunities To Grow
Taking on more work is only valuable if you take on high value activities that help the organization and grow your
skills. In organizations, there are many boundaries one can push against. Before pounding against a brick wall, take the time to identify where you can achieve a win.

1. Analyze Your Strengths
There are two types of strengths to consider: personality strengths and skill strengths. For insight on personality
strengths, read Why Knowing Yourself Is Essential To Leadership. For example, highly people oriented professionals
would do well to grow and deepen relationships. The next step is to identify skill strengths: look for skills that you have used over and over (e.g. data analysis, business development, leadership and so forth) and strengths that have been praised by clients or management.
Action: Identify my professional strengths (personality and/or skills) using a personality profile and performance

2. Review Your Department’s Problems and Opportunities 
Most well run departments feature team meetings where
problems and other matters affecting the department are discussed. By paying close attention to these meetings,
you can find new ways to contribute. Specifically, read through the minutes from the past three team meetings
to look for problems or opportunities that have been mentioned several times. These repeated themes will give
your ideas on where to push the boundaries of your job.
Action: Review my department’s priorities by reading through three department team meeting documents.

3. Consider The Organization’s Priorities 
Going beyond your department and yourself is the core of this recommendation. Start with your organization’s financial measures: are revenues and profits growing or declining
in the past year? How does your organization’s financial performance compare to peer companies? In addition,
look for speeches or “all employee” communications that your organization’s leadership have recently distributed.
Most leaders make problems and challenges clear in such messages so that investors, employees and others can
take appropriate action.
Tip: If you are based at a public company, you can use Yahoo Finance to identify competitors. For example, for
Bank of America, Yahoo Finance names Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase as competitors.

Prepare A Proposal For Management
Armed with your research, it is now time to prepare a proposal to ask for more responsibility. This approach
assumes you are in a larger organization that tends to rely on process. You may be able to skip some of these steps if
you are in a small and highly fluid organization.

4. Start With A Small Addition
Incremental progress is the name of the game when it comes to building career success. For example, you may
ask to take on responsibility for producing a weekly report or managing a small quality process. The following steps
of the process will help you to document and present the value of the task you take on.
Tip: Remember that your added responsibility must not threaten your ability to deliver on your primary responsibilities.

5. Think Through Benefits
The benefits for the proposed expansion to you are obvious: new skills and experience. Instead, you need to
think through the benefits from your manager’s perspective. For example, you may emphasize succession planning
and vacation coverage. For example, by learning to how to do aspects of Jane’s role, then you will be able to
perform those activities if Jane is away from the office.

6. Propose The Change To Management
Write up a one page proposal describing the change and meet with your manager to discuss it. After this meeting,
you may have to revise your plan to take account of your manager’s concerns.

Deliver and Report The Results
At this phase, we start to do the new work and report on our performance. Completing these steps demonstrate
your attention to detail and professionalism.

7. Perform The Activity Three Times
Why three times? Completing an activity once may be an accident. Performing new activities (e.g. producing a
financial report, making a presentation to an execution) is the beginning of a track record.

8. Collect Data On The Results
The data you collect to report on your work is critical to step 9 below. For example, you may take screenshots from
a system to show an activity was successfully completed by the deadline. Alternately, your department may have
existing metrics that you can use. If there are no established measures, ask for a feedback email and then copy
that response.
Tip: Create a file folder or an email folder relating to the new activity you are learning to store the data (e.g. “2015
Learning – Financial Reporting”).

9. Report The Success To Management
Reporting your success underscores to your manager is the vital conclusion, especially if you tend to be shy about
sharing your wins. In this short meeting, share the data on the results achieved (e.g. on time and met quality requirements) and how the company benefited. If you found the activity interesting, mention that point at the end.

The above article is adapted from a Project Management Hacks article: How To Expand Your Job: The Pushing Boundaries Strategy.

About Bruce Harpham, PMP
Bruce Harpham, PMP is the founder of, a career development resource for project managers. Bruce’s experience includes managing projects in higher education and financial institutions. To receive future articles, information on free training webinars and a complimentary copy of the Career Advancement Toolkit, sign up for the Project Management Hacks email newsletter.

Be the first to comment on "Grow Your Value At Work In 9 Steps"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


Share This