“A young guy asked, “When you were my age, what did you to elevate yourself among all of your other associates? How did you stand our from the crowd of other, young, ambitious and driven colleagues of your day?” Jack responded “Great question, young man. And this is an important point for every person to hear. The first thing you must understand is the importance of getting out of ‘the pile.’ The only way you’re going to stand out to your boss is to understand this simple principle: When your boss asks you a question, assigns a basic project or sends you out to gather some data, you must understand that your boss already knows the answer he is looking for. As a matter of fact, in most cases, he simply wants you to go out and confirm what he already believes is true in his gut.
Most people simply go out and do just that,” Jack continued, “confirm what their boss believed to be true. But here is the difference maker. You must understand that the question is only the beginning. When your boss asks you a question, that question should become the jumping off point for several more ideas and thoughts. If you want to elevate yourself, you must sink your thoughts and time into not only answering the question but going above and beyond it to add value to the train of thought your boss was on.
Practically speaking, that means coming back to the table and presenting to your boss not only an answer, but three or more other ideas, options, and perspectives that were probably not considered by your boss. The goal is to add value to the idea and the thought by exceeding expectation when the question is given to you. This is true not only with questions but assignments, initiatives and everything else ever given to your to run with by upper management.
So if you understand that the question is only the beginning, you will get out of the pile fast, because 99.9 percent of all the employees are in the pile because they don’t think.
Thinking for a Change, John C. Maxwell (stolen from Tucker)