"Younger Workers, Make ‘The 5-Minute Method’ Your Competitive Advantage"


Posted January 7, 2020 by Mark Perna

You might be surprised how just a little extra time and commitment can advance your career. Mark’s article, “Younger Workers, Make ‘The 5-Minute Method’ Your Competitive Advantage,” published at Forbes.com on December 23, 2019.

In a work culture where employer-employee loyalty is fleeting, everyone’s looking for a competitive advantage. Younger workers especially need some attribute or skill that will set them apart from the crowd, and there’s lots of advice on how to achieve it.

Some focus on creating a personal brand. Others stress the importance of having a plan for career growth. These and many other efforts are great routes to pursue, but there’s another strategy you can add to enhance your quest to stand out. And rocket science, it’s not.

It’s this: Show up at least five minutes early, leave at least five minutes late, and care while you’re there.

I call it “the 5-minute method.” Simple—and surprisingly profound.

Show up at least five minutes early, leave at least five minutes late, and care while you’re there. Click To Tweet

Regrettably, today’s workplace is full of people of all ages, across all generations, who are doing just the bare minimum in their job. The 5-minute method, on the other hand, demonstrates commitment, engagement, focus, pride, and contribution to the cause and the organization—some of the foundational “soft skills” that 89% of employers are hungry to find, according to a 2016 Wall Street Journal survey of more than 900 executives.

Employers are looking for people who “get it” and who genuinely want to help move the company forward. And by going that extra mile, you can get a lot further ahead than you might think.

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Break it down—and make it happen

The 5-minute method may be common sense, but it’s not common practice. So let’s break it down. Then it’s up to you to make it happen.

  • Show up 5 minutes early. Showing up doesn’t mean stumbling in. Be there, fully present, with your A game. To make it happen: Mentally start your workday from the moment you get up. Imagine that you’re already on the clock and that everything you do is either going to help—or hurt—your success that day.
  • Leave 5 minutes late. The idea here is to take just a little extra time to see things through. Sticking around to make sure a priority is done or a deadline is met can speak volumes about your commitment. To make it happen: When you’re wrapping up a key task or project, plan accordingly and put some wiggle room into your end-of-day schedule.
  • Care while you’re there. To care about the work, the impact, the vision, the outcome means you are vested in it all and take pride in the result. But this is easier said than done. Why? Because it’s an all-day, day-after-day commitment. To make it happen: Consider yourself a small yet significant piece in the company’s success.

What about work-life balance?

Now you’re probably thinking, “What about my work-life balance?” Work cannot, and should not, become your be-all and end-all. Regular, real unplugging is a healthy practice that actually enhances your work performance. But a little extra time, a little extra commitment can make a big difference in advancing your career. It can set you apart from the crowd—and give you the competitive advantage you’re looking for.

Read at Forbes.com

About The Author
Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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