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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, March 15, 2010

Companies keep workers that help improve their bottom line

By Anita Bruzzese

The most successful employees know they have to start at the bottom. Not the bottom of the career ladder but the bottom line.

"People may say that they get ahead because they are the only ones who know how to do a certain function, or because they know office politics and they get along with everyone.

But the truth is, that's not how a business functions. It's what you can do for the bottom line that really matters," says Larry Myler, a business strategist and consultant.

Myler says too many people who found themselves laid off in the past year didn't make sure they were continually offering specific examples of how their contributions made the company money or at least saved it money. The result, he said, is that it was easier for management to make the decision to slash a job they didn't see as really critical to the company's survival.

"No matter what your job is, what you do impacts the bottom line. You have to always keep your priorities on making sure what you do helps the company, and you have ways to prove it," Myler says.

In his new book, "Indispensable by Monday," (Wiley, $24.95), Myler offers several suggestions on how to show your worth:

• Do your homework. Before submitting a proposal, do the work so that you can show that the time and expense needed to implement it would be worth it. Make sure you submit your proposal in a professional way using "profit proposal" software found free online.

• Look for costs to cut. Maybe you can't figure out a way to generate extra money, but companies are always looking for ways to cut expenses. For example, with a little research you may discover alternative sources of power or a way to manage peak power times. Perhaps you learn that workers within the company are willing to do the landscaping as part of their job, saving the company the cost of mowing services.

• Catch mistakes. While you want to make sure you're doing work that is as error-free as possible, you can become a critical employee if you're able to stop ineffective or defective work by others. If you view even one mistake as critical to the company's bottom line, management will begin to depend on you more and more.

• Document it. Make sure you get credit for your contributions by sending e-mails or making reports that show when you made the suggestion. This not only helps your current job, but can be key proof for future employers that you can deliver what you promise on your abilities.

Write Anita Bruzzese c/o: Gannett ContentOne, 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22107.