How Can I Make You Look Good?

(Or, How To Make Yourself Indispensable To Your Employer or Clients)

By Ernest O’Dell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing

Sometimes you just have to become a creative thinker and figure out how to keep a job nowadays. What with all these young upstarts coming in to take your job and all, you would think companies (and clients) would appreciate experience and tenure. But no! They’re so crass nowadays they want you to even train your replacement!

Well, it might be said that careers are dead—not just individually—but collectively, including those who still have a steady paycheck. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen, or heard, of our friends and family getting the ax because the company was cutting back. Getting laid off isn’t pretty.

Let’s face it: That long, steady climb up the company “ladder” is history. In the new world, our working lives are erratic, filled with ups and downs, and taking perhaps two decades to taper off until retirement. There’s going to be gaps in your resume that you might have to explain, and you might even have to take on a second—or even a third—job just to keep the lights on.

The traditional approach to a career has been headed for extinction for a couple of decades now. We now work in a post-career world, an unpredictable environment in which excellence, expertise and even success can lead to termination or lay-off, because they go hand in hand with higher salaries and age.
So, how do you survive? Preserving your “income stream” means surviving in a new, and competitive environment where older workers have to “out-smart” those young kids coming through the door at entry level salaries. We’ve reached the top of the “food chain” in Corporate America, and now the Budget Committee will be looking to “put you out to pasture” unless you make yourself indispensable.

Become a hatchet man

Tom Delay and Dick Cheney were called “hatchet men” by their detractors. It served them fairly well in politics, but how do you translate that to your job? It doesn’t matter how good you are at your job, and it doesn’t matter how much experience and expertise you have either. You can still get passed over for promotions or let go, while others, far less effective, are promoted or have their positions secured.

You know it’s not fair, but that’s life in Corporate America. And the only way you’re going to change that is by making yourself so valuable, they would have to be out of their minds to replace you. The trick is, doing it without being too obvious, and without giving up all your “secret tactics.”

The dirty little secret that survivors have learned, and that you need to learn, is that you don’t really work for the company. Nope. You work for your immediate supervisor, and you better make him or her love you so much they just can’t do without you.

Your job is really all about making him or her feel and look good.

Meet your boss’s personal needs and your job will be as safe as possible. Find out what your boss hates doing, or needs to do but can’t, and do it. If that means becoming the hatchet man, so be it.

How do you apply this concept to your clients and prospects if you’re in sales?

The first impression you want them to have of you is that you came in on a white horse, wearing shining armor, and you slew the Evil Dragon of their problems by asking them one question, then delivering.

What’s that question?

What can I do for you today that will make you look good to your boss or clients?

I have a friend in Atlanta, Georgia who is a retired Registered Nurse and all she does nowadays is prepare legal briefs for lawyers and serves as an expert witness in malpractice cases. Lawyers do their part of “lawyering” but they don’t have the foggiest idea how to put together the data in a malpractice case. And that’s where Liz comes in.

She draws on her expertise and background as a Registered Nurse and she knows how to do the “layout” of the data so that it makes the attorney “look good” for his client, and to the court (and jury). It’s because of her work that her clients (the attorneys) win their cases and she continues to get referral cases.

In the early days she spent a lot of time on the phone making presentations to her prospects to build up her client base, but since then has built up her reputation over the last few decades and continues to work from referrals.

Let’s say the new president of your company installs his brother-in-law as sales manager, a position that you once held in the past. It doesn’t make you feel good, does it? Kinda makes you want to quit, huh? In the past you were the one responsible for gathering new accounts, and closing them. On top of that, you also had to maintain a service relationship with them. Now the company sends in this young upstart—who might be good at managing—but doesn’t have the foggiest idea how to close a “horse trade.”

To secure your own position you need to, subtly if necessary, step in and start closing the sales, even if it means adding to your already heavy workload. By doing for him what he can’t do himself, you become indispensable—to him!

Becoming the “hatchet man” could be as simple as filling in for your boss at the weekly industry association dinners he or she loathes, or it could be as difficult as becoming the designated terminator if your superior hates being the bad guy.

What matters is that you fill whatever role is needed, regardless of your job description. Do that and your position will be more secure.

I guess I could explore some other concepts, but you get the idea. Figure out how to make your boss or client look good and you’ll be one step ahead of those “young bucks” coming in to take your turf.

Make yourself indispensable!

How Can I Make You Look Good – GREEN BAR.pdf



  1. Good tips, even better point of approach, but any idea on how to make this situation less depressive? No more taking proud in your work nowadays? No more contributing to create a new project?
    It seems that going on your own is a far better approach than working for some company.

  2. Thanks this is very good and helpful article, where we can learn how to be successful in business world, whatever we are working.

    I really appreciate this kind of information.

  3. Martin, you are correct to state that we need to take pride in our work. There’s a lot of that in too many companies where people are there “just for the paycheck” and no longer take pride in their work, their company or themselves.

    As to making the process of gathering leads and prospects and turning them into loyal customers, you are the one in control as to whether its depressive or not. If you approach each person as a new friend that you haven’t met yet, and show a true interest in helping them be successful in their business, it will become much easier to make them look good.

    There are some pros and cons to “going on your own” in any business. When you take on the responsibility of being an entrepreneur, you have to wear the hats. There are some benefits to that, but there are also some caveats.

    Might I suggest reading some books by Donald Trump or Dr. Joe Vitale. Just about anything they’ve written pertaining to business will be helpful.

    Aaron, in answer to your question, I offer the same from my previous sentence. Just about any title written by Donald Trump or Dr. Vitale is going to be helpful in learning how to be successful in the business world. I know there’s a lot of “fluff” out there, but these two guys are solid as a rock, and they have the proof in their business history to back it up.

    Thank you both for your comments!

    Ernest O’Dell
    Guerrilla Internet Marketing

  4. Thanks,

    I’ve not read about Dr. Vitale but I have read a book Think like a Billionaire ( Everything you need to know about success, Real Eatate, and life.) ” Trump Institute Edition” It was a gift when I was in course With his team in San Antonio Tx.
    I’m proud to recommend to read it

    • I have the book “Think Like a Billionaire” and “How To Be Rich” — both by Donald Trump. I also have a rare dual edition with both titles in one binding. I have all his other titles that he has written too.

      Joe Vitale’s books can be found on Amazon.

      • Thanks Ernest for the Vitale’s books information, I would love to read them.

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