We once had a program at work dubbed the Indispensable Program. The idea behind it was to make our company so valuable to our key customers that it would cost too much to dump us as a supplier. It involved hyperaccurate forecasting, inventory management, precisely-timed deliveries, and dedicated customer service. It certainly wasn’t cheap, but the success of the program equated to business we could count on for a very long time. And it worked.

During the time this program was in place, my boss entered my office one day to find me working on something outside the scope of my normal duties. One of our salesmen had asked me for help, and since I had the time and knew where to find his answers, I tackled the project willingly. I would have been within my right to politely refuse since it technically “wasn’t my job,” but I didn’t. When my boss found out, he scowled and told me I should tell the salesman to do it himself. I gave him my reasons for helping and wryly added, “Besides, it’s part of my indispensable program.” His scowl turned to a chuckle, and my boss walked away nodding.

What good business practices can you apply to your own development? If nothing else, help others when you can. It might cost you some time, effort, or other resources, but you’ll reap the benefits in the long run. Make it your own indispensable program.

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