What are the four tools you need to use to get promoted?
If you’ve ever asked for a raise then you know that a large part of what will determine your success is your mindset. If you stroll in thinking you’ve accomplished everything you’ve been told to do, you may be thinking about your work and career the wrong way. What if you could change your mindset in your day to day in a way that would lead you to asking for a raise from a place of real ownership?
Jill Young is the founder of Traction First, which helps entrepreneurs get everything they want from their businesses by implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System as described in the best-selling book, Traction. She's also the author of Earn It!, a book you can hand to your employees when they ask you for a raise. I recently interviewed Jill for the LEADx Podcast where we talked about mindsets and making more money. (The interview below has been lightly edited for space and clarity.)
Kevin Kruse: If someone wants to ask their boss for a raise, what kind of a mindset should she have?
Jill Young: I'm really glad you started with this question, Kevin, because there's a ton of self-help books out there that will just say, “Go say this,” or “Go try this action.” If you do those tasks, or steps, and you really don't have the right mindset or the context behind it, you can really screw it up.
In fact, I coach hundreds of bosses and they tell me funny stories all the time about how employees tried, but they didn't come at it with the right mindset. I'd really like to go over a couple of them today.
The first one is, you need to really believe at your core that you are in charge of your earning ability. Sometimes we go into the workforce and we think, “You know what? I'm going to do exactly what I'm told.” Really, that's how we're raised. That's how our public education system is set up. Do what you're told; you'll be successful.
Well, I'm going to really challenge your listeners to just own it. Own your earning ability. A great quote out there, “If you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right.” You've just got to own that you are in charge.
There's a couple of situations you might find yourself in where the rules say, “Nobody gets a raise until after they've worked here for a whole year.” Well, you know what? You could either sit back and just go, “Okay, that's the rule,” and let someone else be in charge of your earning ability, or you can say, “I'm in charge of my earning ability. What can I do to speed that up?” There's always a way around those rules. So, be in charge.
Kruse: I also liked what you said, that rules are there as a starting point to negotiate.
Young: There you go. Simon Sinek is talking a lot about this, about how generations upon generations have not been raised to be thinkers. We're raised to be doers and do what we’re told. He's really calling on all of corporate America to take charge of that and start teaching our people to think.
The book has a lot of great tools, of teaching people to think. Kevin, when we were young—We can say young and stupid, right? We had to find this on our own. Your boss told you, “Kevin, I want you to do more thinking.” My hope is that by reading this book, using the tools, we're going to speed that up. We're putting the tools in hands of people who are looking for it right now, instead of having to figure it out the hard way or paying their dues.
Kruse: What is the typical mindset of a boss while an employee asks for a promotion?
Young: Well, this is super cool, and it's a really fun tool that I teach employees to be aware of. There's a couple of different mindsets in the book, but the one that's the most exciting is, your boss is thinking, “What kind of a producer are you going to be?”
We have four different names for these different types of workers, four different types of employees. The first type is the ‘Star.’ The Star is a little bit self-explanatory. The Star is a producer. You make few mistakes. You meet your quotas. You are always there when you say you're going to be. You just produce at a high level.
But also, you are pleasant to be around. You are cooperative. You are positive. You have a general air of happiness around you when you come to the office. A Star isn't just a producer of results, they're also a producer of energy. They're pleasant to be around.
Every boss wants to hire stars. In fact, the whole book teaches you how to get into that star category. Every boss is looking for more stars. We want to hire stars. It's easy on the boss when they hire a star, but they're just few and far between.
Now, I hope your listeners are very on their way to being stars, of course. You're 95% ahead of everybody else who's not listening to this podcast. You're on your way.
Bosses will also hire ‘Puppies.’ Puppies are different from Stars in the fact that they still need to be trained. Maybe they don't perform as high as the Star.
They'll still make some mistakes. They're still going to be on their way to making quota. The awesome thing about a Puppy is they are eager. Think about a puppy. They're eager. We enjoy being around puppies. We watch them be excited about a new task.
When I was a young supervisor, I quickly learned that if I could hire somebody for the personality that fit the job requirements, I could teach them the skill. People talk about that all the time. So that's a Puppy.
Bosses love Puppies and Stars. It's awesome. You can't stay a Puppy for very long, though, and expect to make money. The bosses are not going to pay you more money just because of your pleasant attitude. You've got to start performing, also.
That's the good news. Those are the good news. Being a Puppy and a Star are awesome. Here's the bad news. Bosses know that there's also ‘Rats’ in the company. Rats are low producers. They are low in their pleasantness to work with. They're not really too low in both of those. Rats are just pleasant enough not to get fired, or not to irritate everybody every day, right?
The rats perform just enough to not get fired. These are the people who are coming to work and they're doing a bare minimum. They hide. Sometimes they can be found cajoling other people into not producing so high. You don't want to be a rat. A Rat is a B player, a C player, and you're not going to make money as a Rat. You might be working in a big, bureaucratic company that might give you your percent and a half raise a year.
Your audience, Kevin, that's not where they want to be. However, audience, followers, friends, be on the lookout for Rats, because you do not want to be friends with these people. These are not the people that you want on your team when you're their boss, so you've got to watch out for that.
That's scary. We don't like Rats. They're not producers. But here's the really scary part: there are also people working in the company who are ‘Terrorists.’ ‘Terrorist’ is a strong word. I get that. I use it on purpose, because terrorists perform really high. They're the ones that are making all of the quotas. They very rarely make a mistake. The customers love them, but when they turn their minds, or turn their faces, to the internal workings of the company, they're nasty to work with.
They are mean spirited. They don't want to follow any of the rules. “I don't have to fill out your expense report because I'm the best,” and “I don't have to follow your rules. I don't want to have to come to your meetings.” They're just not cooperative, not a team player. I can guarantee everybody listening right now just went, “Oh my gosh! We have a terrorist,” because there's one in every company.
Those are the four types of employees. Here's a news flash that is very simple: you've got to be a Star, but you've got to be a producer of results and energy to make that money. The book really walks you through a lot of ways you can get there.
Hopefully your listeners are not Rats or Terrorists. If you are, here, I'm going to coach you right now. Stop it. Just stop it, right?
Kruse: Can you summarize the ‘See it’, ‘Say It’, ‘Solve It’, and ‘Serve’ tools that we would need to make more money?
Young: Absolutely. The reason I can summarize it so fast is because it's simple. Everything I do is simple. In fact, if you're the kind of person that is trying to create complexity out of your life, or out of your career, come back down to simplicity.
‘See It’ has everything to do with a couple of tools that are going to help you observe like a scientist. I'm going to ask you to look at your company as a whole and really observe things. That's your foundation.
The second tool is how to ‘Say It.’ You're not just saying it, meaning asking for a raise. I also give you some really great language on how to ask for the raise. It's how to talk and communicate with your boss in an open and honest way. Some great tools in there.
The ‘Solve It’ compartment of the toolbox is all about teaching you a great methodology for solving issues within the company. That's the only way we're going to produce value, is if we start to increase revenue and decrease costs. Looking at how you can solve some of those issues within the company really become valuable to your boss.
Then the ‘Serve It’ compartment is probably the most profound section, because it takes everything that we're doing here in a very selfish way, which is fine. This stage in your career, you've got to be selfish. You've got to own it, own your career. It takes all of the tools and it says, “Okay, now that you know how to be a producer, you're producing more value for your company, the way to earn the big money is to create producers around you.”
I really go into a coaching model where if you're not the boss, that's okay, you can still create additional producers around you, creating that exponential productivity for the whole company. That's when you become very invaluable to your company, and that's when you make the big money.
Kruse: You should strive to add so much value that you're almost putting yourself out of a job.
Young: Yep. I see it as a center of a ripple of productivity. If that's what you can focus on, you're going to make big money. Promise.
Kruse: I always like to challenge our listeners to get just 1% better every single day. What's something we can do today?
Young: I'm so glad you asked, because I love this. I love the concept of becoming 1% better. We don't need to be 100% better tomorrow. That's ridiculous.
I have two things for you. One is a thinking task and one is an action. Both of them you can do today. The thinking task, what I'm going to ask you to do is just observe without judgment. This is pretty deep, so you might want to write that down or really think about it after you meditate or something like this.
I want you to observe your company without judgment. Here's an example: if there's a lot of waste on the shop floor, you could say to yourself, “Oh my gosh, there's a ton of waste. Why are we so wasteful with all this stuff? This material could be used for this and that.” You really get judgmental in that observation.
What I'm going to try to do is teach you how to observe, as a scientist, and just say, “There's 30 pounds of waste today.” As you look around the company, just observe without judgment. What this does for you is it opens up your creative mind. When we don't use judgment, it opens up our creative mind to more possibilities of great solutions.
When we judge, we have that negative cloud over us and it shuts down our creativity. So first thing I want you to do is just observe today, in your company, without judgment.
That's your thinking skill. Your action that you can actually take today is, sometime throughout the day, ask your boss this question: “How could I make your life easier today?” There's some deep psychology in the way I said that sentence, and I won't go into it all today, but, “How could I make your life easier today?”
A couple of things it does for you. Number one, it makes you visible to your boss. We all have to be visible to our boss, because the rats are the ones that try to hide. Then, the other thing it does is, it puts in their mindset, “Oh my goodness, somebody wants to make my life easier today.” Usually it's employees who are coming to the boss, saying, “Make my life easier.”
Try those two things. Observe without judgment and then ask your boss, “How could I make your life easier today?”
Kevin Kruse is a New York Times bestselling author, host of the popular LEADx Leadership Podcast, and the CEO/Founder of LEADx.org, which provides free world-class leadership training, professional development and career advice for anyone, anywhere.