A Great Game Plan for Being Irreplaceable at Work

October 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm 1 comment

by Jennifer R. Henley, PHR

Being replaced in any situation is difficult, but especially in the workplace. This is your career, your livelihood and your passion, right? You’ve worked to move the business forward, completed valuable reports on time, taken on additional responsibilities and made every effort to satisfy our customers with above and beyond efforts. So, why should you be replaced? Have you become complacent? Did you forget to stay “humble and hungry” and treat each day as a job interview?

Our egos tell us that we’re irreplaceable.

The reality is that we’re not.

As most of you know if you’ve read my previous blogs, I’m a pretty big sports fan—I especially love football—so it’s no surprise that the debacle of the NFL Replacement Referee situation has me thinking about “replaceability.” What led to the NFL situation was a refusal on the part of both parties in the dispute to negotiate. For the refs, the issue was unfair compensation, and personally, I believe the refs were right to hold their ground. They deserved better (fair) compensation and in the end, they got it.

The NFL (finally) recognized fans were fed up after the “immaculate reception” you may have witnessed during last week’s Monday Night Football game. An astonishingly bad call gave Seattle a last-second touchdown that won them the game. After that, it was clear that having qualified and experienced refs on the field to ensure player health and safety, as well as the league’s integrity, far outweighed the cost of the refs’ demand for more money.

It turns out that experienced NFL refs are virtually irreplaceable.

So, here’s my question to you…

What do you provide your business partners, clients and organization leadership that would make them see you as irreplaceable? Here are five tips that will help you achieve career victories and avoid costly penalties:

1st Down: Bring Passion.

“You better have a vision, you better have a plan, and you better have the passion for getting things done.”
– Lou Holtz

Energy and enthusiasm go a long way to impress your peers, as well as your boss. Be relentless and committed—they are two rare and valuable traits. Speak up, contribute to the development of ideas, and always stay positive and encouraging with one goal in mind—meeting the objectives that are in the best interest of your organization.

2nd Down: Accept Adversity.

“I’ve never known anybody to achieve anything without overcoming adversity.”– John Madden

We’ve all had “bad days” when we’d rather be anywhere other than work. This may be because of an angry hiring manager, an upset employee or two days’ worth of email and voicemail you still need to respond to. You must accept that not every day is what you planned or what you want—but you know that, right? You need to dig deep and set or reset your priorities no matter what blindsides you. Keep in mind that you’ll be valued for what you actually deliver.

3rd Down: Contribute more.

“Son, you’ve got a good engine, but your hands aren’t on the steering wheel.” – Bobby Bowden

Give more than is asked of you, because by going above and beyond with each and every play, you’ll become the receiver your QB counts on. People in your organization will recognize the value you bring and simply won’t want to do without you.

4th Down: Work Hard.

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.” – Vince Lombardi

Simple, but not always easy to do. Statistically, it’s difficult to convert on fourth down, so you have to continue to give 110 percent to each and every task. You may fail because of a blitz (unforeseen circumstances) or bad coverage (lack of preparation), but you should also learn with each snap how you can improve.

Irreplaceable employees give more, do more and get more.

Touchdown: Be Confident.

“When you get in the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.” – Bear Bryant

Have confidence in yourself and your team, but don’t showboat. No need to “spike” or flaunt your achievement. Instead, look for the next opportunity to put points on the board. Business goals are won by the whole team, so be gracious with each and every victory.

I encourage you to follow this game plan every day. You’ll be a Pro-Bowl caliber employee, always ready to make your best possible contribution to your team’s next victory.

And you’ll be totally irreplaceable.

If you haven’t already seen it, and you could use a laugh, check out this NFL ref parody video online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzPBcCF9yKc or on your mobile phone at: http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=AzPBcCF9yKc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DAzPBcCF9yKc

Jennifer R. Henley, PHR, Regional Vice President & Talent Strategist

Jennifer Henley’s expertise in new business development combined with her vast knowledge of the recruitment communications landscape makes her a trusted authority in recruitment solutions and consultative client services. Jennifer collaborates with key decision makers on long-term recruitment strategies, metrics and branding initiatives.

She has driven successful recruitment campaigns for state and federal government departments, healthcare systems, financial sectors and service industries. A sought-after thought leader in the marketplace, Jennifer is also a featured speaker at HR communications industry conferences and events nationwide. Jennifer is a proud member of MAHCR, S.A.V.E. and SHRM and possesses the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) designation.

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Entry filed under: Contributor, Employee Management, Jennifer Henley, PHR, Retention. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sheryl Heiss  |  October 5, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Hi Jennifer –
    Thanks for sharing. It’s well written, makes lots of sense, and the sports analogies and quotes are great!
    I’m confident I’d be a great member of the team!

    best, Sheryl w/ an “S”


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