In the movie "The Devil Wears Prada," the Second Editorial Assistant, anticipates her Boss's next need by calling her boss's favorite restaurant ahead of time to make dinner reservations AND messengers her boss's dinner outfit to the restaurant ahead of time without having to be asked by her boss to do so. This new Second Assistant soon gets promoted to First Assistant and goes to Paris Fashion Week with her boss! How does she do it? How does she know what her boss wants next? How does anyone know another person's next need without having to ask?
Whether you work as an assistant to a magazine editor, are a student looking to win a college scholarship, work as a nurse in a doctor's office, or are a clerk in a Retail store, in order to get ahead and be considered for a promotion, you must learn to be self directed. Self direction is a very important marketable skill and does not seem to be formally taught in school.
Great leaders look ahead and anticipate the customer's next need. Leaders are self directed. How does a person learn self direction? Pause, look and listen. Pause, look and listen. Pause, look and listen. Got it?
Practice observing your surroundings and those around you. Practice empathizing with those around you. Practice not talking. Get to know your boss and customers or patients through careful observation, paying attention to their office decor, their likes, their dislikes, their habits, their moods, their fears. Make positive, sound decisions. Practice trying to please another person without having to be asked on a small task. Get them a cup of coffee the way they like it without having to be asked. If this is a success, perform a small task without having to be asked. Organize something small, for example files or the jewelry counter. Arrange something small, for example, the type of muffins, bagels, or boxed lunch for an office meeting you know your Boss will like.
Once small tasks are successful, move onto larger tasks. For example, in a Retail setting, if you do not have the item wanted by the customer in stock and cannot order it from your company, call around to competing stores to find the item. Send your customer to the competitor so they may have the item. In return, the customer will be so thrilled you found them the item they wanted, you will earn their trust forever! They will be loyal to you and will come to you every time they need any item and will count on you to deliver. They will also tell their friends to come to you because you get things done, tasks accomplished.
The same principal applies for medical recommendations. If your doctor's office cannot perform a certain service, as a medical assistant or nurse, recommend another doctor who may perform the service and send your patient to that office. Your patient will be eternally grateful to you for your thoughtfulness and effort. By satisfying your patients need, you will gain the long term trust of the patient, and they will come to you with all their needs for life as you have earned the patients trust and long term loyalty forever! Customer loyalty cannot be bought. It must be earned.
One fabulous yet simple example of anticipating another person's next need is when at a dinner table, you are asked to pass the salt. Do you only pass the salt as you were asked to do, or do you go one step further and pass the salt and pepper. Why would you pass both the salt and pepper when only asked for the salt?
The answer is, by passing both the salt and pepper, you are anticipating the other person's next need, by providing the other person with something they don't even know they might need. They may later decide they want the pepper, and there it is. They don't have to interrupt anyone or wait for any conversation too end to have the pepper. You have made it easier for the other person because you have do not have successfully anticipated their next need!
The current trend for college scholarships is to invite 30 students, all competing for the same one scholarship to a luncheon. Students asked to pass only the salt, who pass only the salt do NOT get the scholarship.
People who pass both the salt and pepper when asked to pass only the salt are correctly anticipating the other person's next need and move on to the next level of competition.
Employers are looking for self directed employees. Bosses are not there to hold your hand while babysitting. They are there to check in on your performance. The employee who is self directed will be the future employee who will end up promoted to Office Manager, Retail Manager, CEO.
In conclusion, pause, look and listen to anticipate some one's next need and practice with your good intuition to solve the problem some one may not know they have!