RULE 6: Know Something Others Don’t

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Nigeria's Music Rapper, M.I. & Blogger, GDA

I once worked with a chap called Steve who knew as much French, probably, as the rest of us, but who saw it as an opportunity to have something no one else did.  He went to evening classes, went on holiday to France every year, listened to French records and read French novels.  Within a very short time he was fluent, very good. He had also, accurately, predicted that we were going into Europe and his knowledge of French became a very valuable asset indeed.  Knowing something that other people don’t know gives you an edge and it’s that edge that you’re looking for.  Steve did it with language –using it to carve out a niche – but you can do it with skills, talents, expertise, aptitude or flair.


First you have to look at your talents – and this is part of Rule 3.7: Know your strengths and weakness and decide where specialist knowledge could be useful.  Perhaps you’re a wizard with computers or other technology.  Maybe you are very creative and could usefully know a lot that others don’t.  I had a friend who knew the print business inside and out, when printing work was needed it was always to her that the bosses went. This gave her, her edge.

How about finance?  Could you interpret the business pages for others?  Or how about being the one who really understands the budget?  Or future?  Or software installation?  Or contracts?  Or staff issues? Or union laws?  Or health and safety?  Or foreign customs and business practices?  Or currency conversions?  Or body language?  Or team building?  Or chairing meetings really well?  Or. Or. Come on, you have to do some of this as well.  I’m not going to give you all my best ideas.

That way others will come to you when they have need of your services.  If you know something they don’t you become a consultant rather than a mere employee.  Obviously, if it is something your boss needs that’s all the better”.


Whatever it is you decide upon make sure it is:
·                    relevant
·                    topical
·                    Interesting.

That way others will come to you when they have need of your services.  If you know something they don’t you become a consultant rather than a mere employee.  Obviously, if it is something your boss needs that’s all the better.

I worked with one chap who had made it his business to know the local nightlife better than the rest of us – restaurants, night-clubs, theatre, that sort of thing.  It seemed a bit irrelevant at first, but when we started talking to a lot of clients from out of town who needed to stay over, he certainly made his mark. Guess who was called in to show them around in the evenings and thus was part of the wining and dining circuit? Yep.  And, of course, once in with the bosses at that level, it wasn’t long before he too was one of them.

(Excerpts from THE RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “How to be 100 Percent committed” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

Rule-to-Work Series
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