How to Stand Out by Doing the Mundane
When he met with Never Eat Alone co-author Tahl Raz as a guest for the Social Capitalist, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Stanford University Professor and author of Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t, shared many unique perspectives on power and success.
Here, his advice on how to stand out in the workplace by doing things that other people don’t want to do.
You want to be doing things that are both valuable and scarce. If you do things that are scarce like sending dirty videos around the company, not many other people are going to do that, but it’s also not very valuable. If you do something that’s valuable but everybody else can do it, then again, you don't get much leverage. The leverage comes from doing things that are both valuable and scarce.
For example, people who took on these “small, mundane tasks” that nobody else wanted to do, but that brought them into contact with lots of senior people in the firm; tasks such as running recruiting activities for analysts in a money-management firm, or organizing seminars to bring in outside speakers. In one Internet marketing firm where there were a lot of different silos, a woman said, “I'm going to bring in interesting speakers and get people together that way.”
So it’s oftentimes relatively small tasks that add value so that the people learn things, or get into contact with other people. But also tasks that other folks either don't take the initiatives to do or won’t expand the energy to do.
For more of Pfeffer’s thoughts on power and success, read the entire Social Capitalist transcript and listen to the MP3 recording here.