Want to Get Promoted? Impress Your Boss by Doing These 7 Things by HubSpot

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I once made a really big hiring mistake.

After a series of promising interviews, I took on an intern whose level of professionalism, performance, and overall demeanor quickly took a turn for the worst.

After a discussion with my supervisor, we agreed that it was in the best interest of everyone to not move forward with the internship. However, when we sat her down to talk, she countered our concerns about her performance by saying, “But, but … I was driving all the way from [insert desolate location here] to get here every day.”

I recall staring at her blankly.

Since when does the length of your commute warrant special praise?

We all wake up every morning, brush our teeth (hopefully), and make our way to work. However, the simple truth is that the act of “showing up” isn’t enough to propel career advancement.

The most successful people earn the attention and respect of their boss by proving that they are an asset to the team. So if you’ve ever entertained the thought of a promotion at work (who hasn’t?), we’ve identified a few things every boss loves to see you doing.

7 Things Your Boss Loves to See You Doing

1) Taking Ownership

At HubSpot, we fire our best employees. (No, that wasn’t a typo.)

If you have a great idea — and you can prove that it actually delivers — you will be fired from your day job to own and grow that idea.

Take it from HubSpot’s VP of Sales, Pete Caputa.

“In 2008, one of our sales reps came to me with an idea that he believed could revolutionize HubSpot,” explained HubSpot CEO, Brian Halligan in an interview with Inc.

“At the time, we sold our software directly to consumers. But the rep, Pete Caputa, thought HubSpot should have a reseller channel in order to expand the business model. Basically, he wanted to sell our core product to third parties, who would then turn around and sell the product to their customers.”

Halligan was far from sold on the idea, but he decided to give Caputa an opportunity to prove himself.

“If you want to do it so bad, start doing it nights and weekends and show us this will work,” he said.

Not long after accepting the challenge, Caputa was, in fact, fired from his day job and tasked with growing the partner program.

Point being, don’t be afraid to bring big ideas to the table. This is the type of behavior that bosses love to see, as it exemplifies your ability to think about the business on a high level.

While it’s easy to solve for problems that specifically pertain to you and your reports, the goal is to identify and solve for problems that influence the grand scheme of things. Think like a founder, and your boss with take note.

2) Supporting Your Colleagues

Depending on your industry, getting ahead at work can sometimes feel like a dog-eat-dog type of situation.

And while the old saying goes, “Nice guys finish last,” there is actually a huge opportunity for self-advancement through the act of helping others. Not to mention, if your boss catches you in the act, it’s going to highlight your ability to be remarkably helpful (a trait almost every boss cares a great deal about.)

But don’t just take it from me, here’s what Adam Grant, author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success has to say about it:

The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade.

In this book, Grant dives into the idea that in the workplace, people can be divided into three categorizes — takers, matchers, and givers. Takers are known to, well, take from other people, whereas matchers are more apt to make even exchanges. And givers? Givers separate themselves from the rest by doing good without expectations for reciprocation.

Grant goes on to provide examples of successful givers throughout history, such as president Abraham Lincoln, venture capitalist David Hornik, and businessman Jon Huntsman, Sr.

Do yourself a favor and dig into their accomplishments a bit, I’ve got a hunch it’ll inspire you to rethink the potential benefits of lending a helping hand.

3) Measuring and Reporting

The other day I swore I saw Jake Gyllenhaal in Whole Foods.

Excited to tell someone, I texted my friend to tell her, to which she replied — “Send pictures or it didn’t happen.”

This got me thinking about our innate desire to “see it to believe it.” If my own friend wouldn’t believe me without photo evidence, why would you expect your boss to “take your word for it” when it comes time to talk about your performance?

The simple truth is that most bosses are busy, leaving little time for them to investigate whether or not you’re accomplishing what you’re supposed to be accomplishing. If you’re not vocal (and visual) about your performance, you run the risk of going unnoticed.

For this reason, CEOs love to see their employees not only measuring their efforts, but also reporting on them. Clear, specific, goal-oriented reports serve as one of the most effective ways to communicate your progress and prove to your boss that you’re capable of taking on more.

In terms of what to include in these reports — think ROI. While vanity metrics like views might be worth noting for yourself, your boss wants to see how your efforts are specifically influencing the bottom line.

“Don’t just report on what you crossed off your to-do list, report on what those activities achieved. So often, young staff want to prove that they’re working. We know you’re working. We see it and are proud of you for it. Prove not that you’re working, but that what you are DOING is working,” explains HubSpot’s Meghan Anderson.

If you’d like to start reporting on your marketing activities, you can use this free template.

4) Being Proactive, Not Reactive

“My kids will have chocolate dripping from their mouths, and I’ll say, ‘Did you just eat chocolate?’ And they’ll be like, ‘No, I didn’t just eat chocolate’,” jokes Peter Bregman, author of Four Seconds.

Sure, it’s silly, but it’s a great example of how silly you sound when you’re being reactive, rather than proactive. Certainly not a situation you’d want to be caught in with your boss, right?

From a psychological perspective, we react to avoid punishment — it’s a direct result of the stimulation that our amygdala (a subcortical brain structure that is linked to both fear responses and pleasure) experiences when we are surprised or caught off guard.

And while it’s unrealistic to assume that you’ll never be forced to make a quick decision in front of your boss, proactive employees aim to control situations by causing things to happen rather than waiting to respond after things happen.

But how?

Aside from taking steps to plan ahead and anticipate “what ifs,” Bregman encourages people to pause for four seconds before responding to something to give themselves a moment to process and reflect.

This will help you strategically and intentionally choose the words that you’re going to say, to ensure that you don’t wind up saying something that you don’t mean.

5) Making More, With Less

Nothing is ever promised tomorrow today.

(For those you that caught that, yes, I did just quote a Kanye West song in a marketing blog post.)

The fact of the matter is, part of being a noteworthy employee is being able to adapt to whatever industry or company changes come your way.

Let’s say your company runs into an unplanned expense, or an important member of the team gives their two weeks unexpectedly. That would certainly throw a wrench in your budget and bandwidth, wouldn’t it?

While many would spin these events into an excuse as to why they couldn’t accomplish their goals, the most successful people find a way to do more with less. And the really successful people find a way to do better with less.

So when a budgeting issue forces you to cut down on the funds being allocated to freelanced content, don’t use it as an excuse to allow content production to come to a halt. Instead, consider what you can do to turn the situation around.

Maybe you work towards creating one strong ebook on your own that you can then divide into separate blog articles to feed your content calendar until the budget is there. Or what about reaching out to a co-marketing partner to join forces on a piece of content that you can mutually benefit from?

Another great way to demonstrate your ability to do more with less would be to scale back the average time of your meetings. According to Atlassian, the average person spends 31 hours in meetings throughout the course of a month.

The trouble people have with doing more with less is that often times they think the solution is just working for longer. Instead, make better use of your time. Cutting your meeting time in half will force you to get to the point quicker and leave you with a ton of extra time to allocate toward other projects and tasks. Or writing an ebook with the intention of repurposing parts of it into several blog posts will help you create more content at a faster pace.

Remember — excuses don’t promote career advancement, solutions do.

6) Welcoming Feedback

Part of getting ahead is being humble enough to admit you don’t know it all.

Anyone who has worked on a long-term project knows that it’s really easy to get wrapped up to the point where you start to see your progress through rose-colored glasses. At this stage, it’s most helpful to invite an outsider in to poke holes in your approach.

What’s working? What’s missing? What is needed to take this project from good to great?

According to research from the Social and Personality Psychology Compass, feedback — both positive, and negative — plays an instrumental role in the way we approach goals.

Their data suggests that the influence of feedback is often situational, depending largely on the individual’s level of expertise. Novices respond better to positive feedback, as they are commonly concerned with “evaluating their commitment,” whereas experts are more responsive to negative feedback as they are focused on monitoring their progress.

While this is interesting in and of itself, it’s important that you’re prepared to handle whatever feedback comes your way. And while positive feedback is often pretty easy to accept, negative feedback can come as a challenge for many.

To ensure that you make the most out of constructive criticism, take note of the following tips:

  • Listen. Sure, it’s easy to tune someone out when you’re not particularly thrilled with what they are saying, but that doesn’t make it right. Give the person the respect they deserve by listening to what they have to say before you interject.
  • Ask clarifying questions. If you don’t understand the point someone is trying to make, don’t hesitate to ask them to elaborate. Following up with questions will help to ensure that you walk away on the same page.
  • Consider the source. All feedback is not created equal. While getting some honest feedback from a co-worker that knows little about your project may help you to identify weak spots, it’s important that you focus on the feedback coming from those whom you report to. In other words, give attention where attention is due most.

7) Smiling

No CEO wants to walk into an office and see a group of people that look like they are suffering through a college history lecture. Not only is it not good for company morale, but it signals to them that they could be doing something wrong.

For this reason, it’s important to focus on looking at the glass half full, no matter what is on your plate.

Why?

Research from a recent National Bureau of Economic Research working paper revealed it pays to be positive. Literally.

According to their study, not only did optimistically inclined MBA students have an easier time finding jobs comparable to their peers, but they also saw between a 5-10% increase in the probability of being promoted over their pessimistic peers.

This research taps into the idea that success can be tied to our ability to stay positive, even when completing overwhelming tasks, such as job hunting.

(Note to self: Keep calm and smile on.)

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Inside Warby Parker: How Vision, Mission & Culture Helped Build a Billion Dollar Business by HubSpot

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Most business school conversations over beers end with a hangover — Neil Blumenthal’s ended with a billion dollar business.

If you aren’t familiar with Neil’s name, you’re likely familiar with the brand he and his co-founders started: Warby Parker. Because Warby’s brand is ubiquitous thanks to the company’s product and marketing success, many consumers all over the globe think of the company as an overnight success. In reality, the brand is a product of years of blood, sweat, and of course, a few beers.

In the most recent episode of The Growth Show, we sat down with Neil to talk about Warby Parker’s success. Below are a few key insights from our conversation that you can incorporate into your company’s own growth strategy.

Invest Time in What’s Important 

Warby Parker hit its annual sales goal within three weeks of launching its website, so it’s easy to think they were successful right out of the gate. But the truth of the matter is what Neil and his classmates spent a full year and a half creating the brand, product, strategy, and values that would eventually become Warby Parker — the initial success of the launch was a direct reflection of that hard work.

Neil noted that the brand’s intention to break into the world of “health and fashion” made it particularly important that they get buy-in from top-tier consumer periodicals. To that end, Neil and his team met with 40 (!?) fashion PR firms and consultants before deciding on a team that helped land them in Vogue and GQ the month of their launch. The Warby team recognized early that the bar for a minimally viable product is significantly higher in the consumer fashion market than it may be in other realms of tech — and invested time, money, and energy accordingly.

Listen Selectively

Most parents are outraged when children selectively listen, but blocking out certain people and messages can actually be an invaluable skill when you launch a business.

Case in point: Countless people told Neil and his team that no one would ever buy glasses online, but his team was convinced there was a significant need in the market for a player willing to think and act differently by eliminating the middle man from the process.

However, the Warby Parker team didn’t block out all external advice. They met with a Wharton pricing professor pre-launch, who warned them that their cost of goods would double after launch and that they should double their price accordingly. The Warby team went with a $95 price point (far above their initial idea of $45, but lower than $99 for fear of being perceived as a discount brand) and built the Wharton professor’s insight into their model.

Sure enough, their cost of goods doubled as they upgraded hinges, finishes, and supplies to fit their premium brand perception, and the professor’s sage advice resulted in a win-win on pricing and packaging for the company.

Hire Empathetic Employees 

Entrepreneurs talk a lot about hiring for aptitude and culture fit, but very few test for empathy as a core value to join the team. Neil and his co-founders actually fired one of the organization’s first employees because he wasn’t friendly enough in emails to customers.

Sound drastic? Not for a company committed to delightion. For some brands, customer delight is a PR strategy. But for Warby Parker, it’s a non-negotiable part of the company’s business model and recruiting model, and ensures that every person on their team, whether she’s a retail associate or Chief Financial Officer, is unequivocally committed to delivering the best for the company’s customers.

Align With the Right Mission

Warby Parker sells glasses, but the brand is also a promise to give back to developing countries by providing eyewear to people who need it most through their “buy a pair, give a pair” business model. The mission matters not only to Warby’s customers, but also to its employees, enabling the company to grow fast online and in the retail space.

Warby Parker is a great example of an organization that does well by doing good, leading with its mission front and center. The enthusiasm of the company’s fans and followers shows that approach paying back in spades. Your business model may change, your pricing may alter, but your mission should continue to engage your team and your target market whether your company is 10 months or 10 years old.

Prioritize the Long Game

Having 20,000 customers on a wait list sounds like a great problem to have, but in reality having 20,000 impatient, unhappy people could be the beginning and the end of a business if mishandled. When the company sold out rapidly of its existing inventory, Neil and his three co-founders worked with their outsourced developers to develop “sold out” functionality (they hadn’t imagined they would need it), fielded calls and emails from customers, and were transparent about the delay in shipments to keep people updated on orders and engaged with the brand until their glasses arrived. Warby recognized that your startup isn’t defined by short-term demand, but by long-term relationships, and the strength of their business and their brand is a direct reflection of investing in those relationships early and often.

Make Feedback the Cornerstone of Your Culture

In addition to beers, Neil and his co-founders spent a lot of time at their favorite corner table at a local restaurant giving feedback to each other. While the entire founding team had worked long and hard hours before, they knew actually starting their own company would be a grind, and that launching a company often meant friendships and relationships would end ended badly.

So instead of wishing and hoping it would work out, Neil and his co-founders made a pact early to commit to the business and to being open, honest, and constructive in their feedback to each other. One of my favorite quotes from Neil was that “arrogance and entitlement impede innovation.” It’s a good reminder for all of us that the smartest jerks in the room don’t prioritize the customer or self-improvement. So be transparent with your team about what matters, what doesn’t, and how you’ll work together — doing so prevents countless roadblocks and rifts later on. 

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Jeremy Allaire’s Bitcoin Startup Circle Takes $50M From Goldman Sachs, IDG

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circle-landing Circle, the Bitcoin startup that veteran entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire started, just raised $50 million from Goldman Sachs and IDG Capital Partners. It’s another sign that the finance industry’s most powerful players are starting to take the crypto-currency and its ecosystem seriously. All of Circle’s existing investors including Breyer Capital, General Catalyst Partners,… Read More

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DroneBase Lets Any Business Rent A Drone And Pilot

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DroneBase You don’t want to own a drone. Or a learn to fly a drone. Or hire someone full-time to fly a drone. And you definitely don’t want to pay for a helicopter, plane, or satellite. You just want some aerial photos or videos of your work site, real estate, or infrastructure. Now thanks to DroneBase, you can get the benefits of unmanned aerial vehicles without the hassle. DroneBase lets… Read More

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Evernote’s New Pricing Includes A Cheaper, Middle Tier And A Pricier Top Plan

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evernote As promised late last year, Evernote today has rolled out new pricing plans for its note-taking service in order to introduce a more affordable, middle tier that now falls in between the company’s free option and the full-featured premium plan, which is now $5.99 per month, up from the earlier $5 per month.
The new plans, Basic, Evernote Plus and Evernote Premium, are differentiated… Read More

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Secret Is Going To Shut Down

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secret-x Anonymous sharing app Secret will shut down soon, according to sources close to the company. The announcement could be made as soon as today or tomorrow, and there’s some talk of current employees receiving modest severance packages. Having raised $35 million, it’s unlikely that the company is out of money. But after a major redesign sterilized the app’s identity and made it… Read More

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PlateJoy Raises $1.7 Million In Seed Funding To Find Its Place At The Meal Delivery Table

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Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.23.51 PM Meal-kit delivery startup PlateJoy has raised $1.7 million in seed money to get into bigger markets and take on competitors like Blue Apron in the recipes-for-delivery segment.
The funding comes from Foundation Capital, Sherpa Ventures, HealthBox, 500 Startups, VaynerRSE, Bassett Investments, Gotham Gal Ventures’ Joanne Wilson and celebrity investor Jared Leto. Read More

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GreenRush Wants To Be The GrubHub, Not The Uber, Of Pot Delivery

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Screenshot 2015-04-29 12.18.38 The pot delivery space is heating up of late — Canary and Dave have combined forces in Seattle and Eaze just raised $10 million to deliver Mary Jane to San Francisco. But very few pot delivery startups focus on the actual product. GreenRush focuses on dispensaries, and their products, giving those vendors the opportunity to list their own inventory. It offers an online portal for both… Read More

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Wire, The Communications App Backed By Skype’s Co-Founder, Arrives On The Web

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wire-app Wire, the communications app backed by Skype co-founder Janus Friis which launched late last year, is now expanding its service to the web with the launch of Wire for Web. Envisioned as modern-day take on what Skype, had it been built today, the new addition to Wire will allow users on Chrome, Firefox and Opera web browsers to both make and receive calls, while IE and Safari users will… Read More

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Hashing Out Hashtags: What They Are & How to Use Them [Infographic] by HubSpot

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What do overalls, Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, and hashtags all have in common?

Believe it or not, they are all products of the 90s.

While hashtags didn’t rise to popularity (with the help of Twitter) until after 2007, they were actually first used during the late 90s to categorize items into groups on IRC (Internet Relay Chat.)

Since then, you’ve seen them, you’ve used them, but it’s likely that you’re not quite sure why.

You’re not alone.

While the concept has been around for a while, the social application of hashtags is still a relatively new concept for marketers transitioning away from traditional marketing methods. And like most new things, hashtagging has left us with a ton of questions.

How many is too many? How long should they be? Where should you use them? And perhaps most importantly, why should you use them?

For answers to all of your burning hashtag questions, check out this infographic from SurePayroll. Not only have they laid out the basics for hashtagging on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but they also dive into some tips to help you run a successful hashtag campaign.

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