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Carving Out Your Niche at Work

Posted February 16, 2010 12:01 AM by DrDoug

I do NOT believe people have strengths or weaknesses. Instead, I believe we all have characteristics and personality traits – the combination of which makes each of us unique, like a personality fingerprint. (See Principle #2 in 8 Ways to Great).

Employers and companies are not looking for "perfect" people. Rather, they are looking for people who can add value now and adapt and change as the company/world changes.

I believe that if you change your attitude about traditional strengths and weaknesses - and position yourself more as the person who understands how your personality traits both help and hurt you in your role - then you have automatically differentiated yourself from your co-workers. You'll also be more than just "another employee."

Taking this approach shows you have highly desirable skills such as critical thinking, creative engagement, problem solving, self-awareness, resilience, and the ability to adapt to a changing environment. All of these traits are excellent characteristics to be able to showcase as assets in the current environment, too.

Two Ways to Stand Out

So how do you demonstrate this approach while you're on the job? How do you let management know that you're working on these skills? First, ask to work on a special project so you can showcase your skills. Set yourself up for success by offering to do a project you are passionate about and one you know you'll be fully engaged in - even if it means putting in time outside of work.

Another strategy is to ask for regular "check-ins" with your manager or boss. This will give you a chance to showcase the progress you're making while getting some corrective feedback. Keep these check-ins short (a few minutes every week or two), however. The point is to let your boss or manager see how you are learning, making mistakes, dealing with setbacks, adapting, growing, and knocking stuff out along the way. If your boss wants to ask questions, then stick around longer - but let that be his or her choice.

Dangers

Moving yourself to the next level and becoming great is hard. Not just because of the sacrifice and effort, but because of the social pressures you'll be faced with along the way. Beware: your co-workers may get jealous and think you are kissing butt to get ahead. But don't let this peer pressure deter your efforts. That's their problem, not yours. Are you working to make friends, or to be the best you can be in your role?

If you want to be different and get ahead of the crowd, then you have to work smarter and know that others are going to want to bring you down. Keep your focus on yourself and know that you are doing this to add value to the business, and to improve YOUR life and life for your FAMILY. That's the most important thing there is.

Editor's Note: Dr. Doug Hirschhorn is an influential and highly sought-after performance coach and executive trainer who appears regularly on CNBC. His latest book, 8 Ways to Great, is now available.

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#1

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/16/2010 11:44 AM

*The main motive in employees is to impress on the top boss or the M.D in getting up a positive and efficient image and guarding the Niche.

*Adventurous employees learn things faster, standardize and make others to carry on by proper sub-ordinate trainings and seek higher / elevated or even front line responsibilities .

*In organizations this game/race for ultimate positions, status, highest perks etc goes on as a continuous game.Given a chance, everyone will put on all strategies and tactics to impress the employer.

*Then comes the state of survival and holding up the Niche.

*People being ample and resourceful, managements do play the game of hire and fire, the survival being purely on the well going of the job on hand. At times of hardships, the so called being fired out man's input efforts, work like cure so that the fruits are realized for the in coming successor. Many fired outs lament on this ill luck, which had not worked out in a timely manner in their favour.

*If the leader, trends and stable teams get set well, every one's niche is guaranteed.

*It"s all dependent on project types and new projects till getting stabilized victimization is unavoidable.

The human group work games are of complex phenomenon to watch out and got so much variables to play about-SKILLS, ATTITUDES, PERSONAL AMBITIONS,MOTIVATION LEVELS, ETHICS ,STABILITY etc.

Success and stable Niche's are assured in places of stability from top to bottom, best team work, mutual empathy and encouragement, headed by a motivating leadership, neutral and scientific outlook and good will

People with grasping and learning skills, adatibilty to changes, best understanding on timely role play can establish stable niche in organizations.

POLITICS AND SURVIVAL ORIENTED NEGATIVE TACTICS CAN SPOIL THE ETHICAL VALUES OF PLAYRES .

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Guru

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#5
In reply to #1

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/17/2010 3:25 PM

Hi S,

I would like to clarify that "niche" is different from standard work or business. "Niche" is an unique engagement of someone into a new and different project or subject. Originally, there is no "team" because "niche" is something individual or individualistic. At the beginning, an idea comes out of one's mind and it's hard to be accepted by others.

At work the "niche" is when you do something special or the same a special way. Finally, the result is important but the "niche" work or "niche" worker add the what and how to do differently.

You cannot motivate people to do your way. They are motivated to do or not. I cannot understand why we have leaders, managers in many areas of work where need only motivated people to do the work. Make responsible each person and the leader or motivator don't need to be there.

Another important understanding, "niche" is opened most of the time in turbulence. When everything is fine, no one think about creating a "niche". "Niche" must fill a need.

So, to answer to the original sentence: To become successful at work we have to create a special way to work, the "niche". Any other way is a "me-too" and boring job, Gil.

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Guru

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/18/2010 8:40 AM

Hi Gil,

Niche in it's basic meaning refers to a comfortable, safer, living atmosphere conducive for survival. Hence my context of intrepretation is about individuals[employees] in working groups. The total expression is based on individual's and leaders [as co ordinators responsible for conducting successfully the task using fellow humans] are needed . Without such traits to lead, activities may become haphazard.

In the crudest meaning of my conception NICHE in this discussion is survival strategies, skills and scope of individuals to sustain their assured place in group work.------

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Guru

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/18/2010 10:32 AM

Hi S,

Everyone's opinion is fine for me. My definition of "niche" is the following: In the society someone or everybody has a, single problem. The "niche" fills up the need for the problem. The person, who created the "niche" must be do something that is personally and professionally satisfying. So, decide and stay fix on a specific business you are suited for, and then identify and develop a market for that business. You must be right as entrepreneur and you have to be right for the market. It's so simple that people have difficulties to catch it. "Niche" or any business is full of risks, nothing is comfortable or safe.

In any, as in "niche" business, we include the "entrepreneur" and the "employees". The first, knows everything and must teach to employees everything that the latest knows what and how to do. No needs for supervision. The results are proving the entrepreneur's ability to transfer her/his knowledge to others. Correction needed or not? If need adjustments, teach them again! After a certain time the employee becomes an expert on the job who can teach another to do what and how must be done. This is the process of progression.

We don't need group-leaders, managers and other addition to the "niche" business. It's not in the structure of a "niche" business. It costs for nothing and you give away your authority to someone less competent than you, the entrepreneur. In a "niche" buisiness the entrepreneur is "God" and the employees are "Goddesses". It probably funny for many but if isn't that way, it's not a "niche" business and the failure is close.

S, I am not here to change your mind, just tell my opinion on the "niche" as a word for business and processes, and you can include ideologies or methodologies too.

I suggest for you that see everything with a different eye. Life is survival only for people lost in the nature or the society. Use people with motivation do to what you want, and teach them well how to do it. The standard operating procedures, the "what to do" and "how to do" come from you, and not from outside. So, there si no survival, there is a work to be done established by you and your market, as said earlier, and no one can disrupt you from it.

My English is probably childish for many but I teached people with my simplistic English over years "what" and "how" to do, and they did with motivation and smile. The results of work are the proof what are and do your employees. Collect personally data on everything in your business.

See you the next time, Gil.

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Guru

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/18/2010 11:47 PM

In today's scenario, people should work to the given work plan. In developed countries 'cause of the human resources scarcity, the type of work culture without supervision is obvious.In that case the owner becomes the direct leader.Intermediate leaser ship lines are formed as per organizational structures or based on nature of wok etc.

Many companies are involving Q.C personnel exclusively, which I am with your opinion of production men as in built Q.C personnel to look after both.

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Guru

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/19/2010 3:32 PM

Hi S,

Be positive and you will see people's capability to do certain work as feasible and with good if not excellent results.

S, please, explain what you want to tell with: "Intermediate leaser ship lines are formed as per organizational structures or based on nature of wok etc."

Shortly, if I start to produce paint for my business, QC as quality control will be excluded as work. When you do certain things once, you can repeat, isn't it? So, just repeat what was done already and the production is running well. Time to time, you can check what was made. Good or bad comes out and you have to decide what to do next. Again, the structure of a business includes people but I consider people as producers of goods to sell and not to control. If you choose good raw materials, and equipment, teach people what and how to do, there is an enormous chance that you are on the right track, and continue. You are working for yourself and not expend your money for irrevelent function actions, and not needed people.

I already told, in the past, one individual started to make the paint from dispersion, let-down, QC, and packaging. Before and after, someone else took care about the finished goods. The single individual was responsible for everything. The apint was good for sale, he was good. If the paint was not good for sale he was improper for production. The resposibility made this person good. I never made batchmakers and filling people to make paint. Show me what you are able to do.

See you the next time, Gil.

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Guru

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

03/01/2010 2:01 PM

Just addition to my previous notes!

Everyone has an opinion about niche work, niche business, etc. I worked for other people for decades in small and large organizations. I resigned "8" times and was fired "once" but open or started immediately after I was without work, and I have a family. I failed "3" times, once alone and twice with partners, but succeeded "2" times, and the last small and niche business still alive after more than 5 years. Today, I own a fork-lift, a high-speed mixer, paint shaker, compressor and other equipment to make what I have to produce to my customers.

Everyone told me to plan, to be sure the money is there, don't start before you have guaranteed customers who can pay, and I have to think about my family. All these negative words never touched me and I never have the time to really do all these things; planning, established solid numbers concerning viability of the business, and ask my customers if they can pay. I have to work but not like a workaholic, just work normally.

When I worked for others, I worked for my-self. Did what was the best from me and produced the best results for the company, and I was not at work to help other people to succeed or promote them somewhere they wanted to be. I was simply an individualistic who doesn't allow being pouched here and there.

I worked all the time, except for a few months, in the same industry, the coating industry. I learned what and how to do the most of the profession including managing or directing people to do a good work with results that satisfied the boss, the company.

When you have those experinces and qualifications, you cannot stay at home and wait for a new opportunity and collecting cheques from your government. You have to exploit your knowledge and use it for profit. I cannot understand what I am hearing about: "I don't have a job for over a year. I'm unemployed". It means that that person doesn't want to work or waiting for a luxury work with CEOs salary and perks. Stop dreaming! These waiting people worked for decades, know things, have ideas but don't have guts to start something for themself. They saw that the past bosses made money, and still they don't want to imitate them. Why? I don't have an answer to that! Use your abilities and knowledge to create something durable for you alone!

All these personnel war against ourselves, waiting for the best, listen to others, and procrastinate, stops us to do something realistic and good for us. We can create niche work when you work for yourself. Life is a battle and if you don't win you have to defend yourself, and it's hard. Attack at place of defend yourself. You can establish a niche business when you start to supply customers you probably know. What you did during years was sold to someone, isn't it?

Just wanted to make clearer and more understandable my early comment. It's hard to write down politely what to do to imitate me or someone else but there are the words which can initiate some action. Yes, you have to act at work or as a business person. Dreaming is possible but you have to turn into realities, so act, Gil.

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Guru

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

03/02/2010 7:14 AM

Gil,

What could be understood is, that, you have established your own NICHE, and become more responsible about your goals, targets. Now no one can fire you out and you are the master of your destiny, leaning new lessons. Your spirit of risk taking is the bets of all qualities. that makes the difference from others. Keep going. Good luck.

If no jobs are available, one's enriched awareness should lead to some self employable assignments / projects, let it be even a a start up. Humble beginnings are sufficient to start the new journey.

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Guru

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

03/02/2010 2:13 PM

Hi S,

I comprehend your misunderstanding on what I put down. If someone can do something, someone else can do it again, isn't it? If you agree that it is possible to carve a niche, not mine, something new, everyone can dominate the specific market. Think about the Nobel Prize and other genious people. They did something wasn't existed before their opinion and action. My comment is an example that can be repeated anywhere with other products and/or services. Just use your imagination and I am sure you will find something you know well and no one do it today. One suggestion: Create a new drink that healthy and contains only natural products we eat every day but forget the calories, please. Is this a very simple or absurd suggestion? No one does it today! They put sugar in and is already the unhealthy item. They talk calories and is the second bad word. I want to explain that savvy business owners don't compete against well established, incumbent players with a market share. You have to create a niche, part of an existing business or a new one, that is uniquely your own. That way you sidestep the fight and become more profitable. Also, the biggest mistake business people make is structuring their operation about their product rather than around their market. Find a market which is neglected, forgetted, or originate a brand-new. Structure your business around your customer. This customer is simply the individualization of the new market in general. The answer to a good business is to keep your infrastructure ("marketing", "delivery and services", and "production") as simple and minimal as possible, and preserve your focus exclusively on your specific, niche market.

I am not here to teach you what to do. However, I learned these things during over 50 tears by working for others and my-self with good and bad experiences that concluded about what I put down up to now. I understand many people tell you that this is an unrealizable dream but think about it. No harm to nobody with some suggestions appearing sometimes illogical but many new things, innovations were created by doing things totally differently or the opposite way.

Again, it's to the readers to make a choice, Gil.

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Anonymous Poster
#10
In reply to #7

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/22/2010 6:38 AM

Humpty Dumpty

As with most words, in any language, niche has a number of shades of meaning. You have deliberately chosen to ignore the context in this case* and so missed the point. s.udhayamarthandan has it nailed.

*even when it was pointed out to you

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Anonymous Poster
#2

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/17/2010 8:08 AM

OK, so you are wrong. Nothing new in a supposed "expert" being wrong.

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Anonymous Poster
#3

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/17/2010 8:51 AM

This is excellent advice for people at all stages of thier carreers. This is close to what I have followed myself. The only overlay I use is paradigm manipulation, both mine and thiers, as it has allways been the best way for me to keep the peace while targeting my goals. My only aggresive acts have been against weasels (ref. Scot Adams, "The Way Of The Weasel"). Privatetly I shun any paradigm, "it is hard to fly through a net," but at work I use them to keep the chorus in harmony.

I have even let weasels in the door only to sweep them out to the delight of all coworkers. While all of this sounds like much work without gaining ground, it is in reality a good way to achieve for me and mine while not being attacked in the proccess. In this way I have been able to seperate performance and "politics" and using both to make things better for me.

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#4

Re: Carving Out Your Niche at Work

02/17/2010 12:34 PM

Brown nosing when used with impunity can be worth ten years seniority but when accompanied by passion for the project and actual talent—wow those folks are untouchable especially one's whom are also compassionate and caring for others.

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