I recently wrote about how you can make yourself layoff-resistant by becoming a category of employee that is rare yet highly prized by employers: the creator/operator.
Creator/operators are individuals who can not only introduce new ideas, remedy challenges, and develop innovative solutions, but they also possess the ability to launch, execute, and guide their plans with the outcome being the consistent delivery of valuable benefits that create revenue, save revenue, and improve the organization’s image in the marketplace.
Since I presented this strategy, I’ve received some great questions from people seeking more details about how to armor themselves against downsizing.
Here are a few:
Q: I’ve seen articles that offer information about how to make yourself completely indispensable to your company, which would prevent you from ever losing your job. Is this possible?
A: Unfortunately, no. In fact, for a career writer or “expert” to claim that his/her guidance offers a 100% foolproof way to protect someone from being fired is irresponsible, misleading, and dishonest.
Here’s the unpleasant reality of what’s happening in this economy: Everyone, at every level, in every organization, is walking around with a target on their back. The only thing that you have under your control is to make the target smaller, and the successful implementation of the creator/operator strategy will do just that.
Will it prevent you from ever being laid off? No.
But the creator/operator strategy will help to make it difficult, inconvenient, and extremely expensive for an organization to replace you.
Q: Can you give a real-life example of what a creator is and what an operator is?
A: Let’s look at a restaurant. The creator in the restaurant would be the head chef. It would be her job to imagine, plan, and devise the recipes that would allow the restaurant to attract customers and boost revenue.
The operators would be the people in the restaurant who fulfill a specific job role that builds, delivers, and supports the chef’s recipes: the cooks, the waitstaff, the dishwashers, the managers, etc.
In our current economy, it’s not enough for a creator to just concoct tasty recipes, or ideas. The creator must also take on operator skills by coming up with a way for the ideas to be built, delivered, and supported.
In addition, the creator needs to envision ideas that produce measurable profits, savings, or improvements to the organization’s image in the marketplace. If a creator is only able to create ideas without also creating strategies to make the ideas successful, he/she is expendable.
The same holds true for an operator.
If an operator is solely fulfilling the bullet points of his job description, even if he’s doing it well, he’s also expendable: his job can be combined with someone else’s or eliminated. To survive rounds of layoffs, operators need to acquire creator skills by developing initiatives that produce profits, savings, or positive enhancements to the organization’s image in the marketplace. By doing so, they become difficult, inconvenient, and extremely expensive to replace.