25 on-the-job ideals

Ed Henninger
By Ed Henninger, Newspaper Design Consultant

After more than 30 years as the Director of Henninger Consulting, the time has come for me to shift my attention to Julia, family, grandkids and guitar. I’m not the “retiring type,” but I will become so at the end of this year. I’m looking forward to that. For the past few months, I’ve reprised some of my best columns from years past.  This one focuses on how we think about our work…and ourselves.

For the past half-century, I’ve been a consultant, and editor and a writer.

During those 50 years, I’ve learned a few things about how to do my work well and how to conduct myself in the workplace.

I recently received a call from someone close to me who was struggling in her work. She asked my advice and I did my best to help her.

After our conversation, I sent her the following. I call it “25 on-the-job ideals.” 

Here’s the list:

  1. Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.
  2. Be a leader.
  3. Serve the company. 
  4. Bring solutions (not problems) to the table.
  5. Be the “go to” person.
  6. Always say “yes.” You can backpedal later.
  7. Promise low, deliver high. 
  8. Share your time freely…when you can.
  9. Demand respect.
  10. Face opposition firmly…but gracefully.
  11. Be professional in everything you do.
  12. Control the things you can control. Let go of the things you can’t.
  13. Be responsible. 
  14. Be accountable.
  15. Take the high road.  
  16. Admit your mistakes…and learn from them. 
  17. Never claim credit for yourself. Those who matter will know.
  18. Lower your expectations of others. Foolish and lazy people aren’t worth the space you give them (rent free!) in your head.
  19. With rare exceptions, you’ll never be able to change what someone thinks about you. It’s usually not worth the effort.
  20. Get a mentor—someone you can talk to. 
  21. Be a mentor—someone needs your help.
  22. Leave ’em laughing.
  23. Leave ’em wanting more of you.
  24. Never think of it as “just a job.” It’s more than that to the people who matter.
  25. Remember: it’s “just a job.” Never let your work define who you are as a person.

I’ve tried to live by these ideals during my entire career. There’s been occasional slip here and there, but following these principles sure has made my professional life easier, more productive — and more fun.

Give these some thought. I’ll bet they can help you, too!

ED HENNINGER is an independent newspaper consultant and the Director of Henninger Consulting. E-mail: edh@henningerconsulting.com. Phone: 803-325-5252.

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