Despite the great variety of jobs out there, the qualifications many companies tend to look for in their junior employees are remarkably similar. Most professional jobs require a similar set of essential skills focused around organization, problem solving, communication, and teamwork. Thus, whether you are designing furniture or balancing the books, a common set of strategies will help you become excellent.

Indispensable is split into three sections that cover this suite of skills: Nail the Basics, Excel at Execution, and Exceed Expectations. These sections are broadly organized to build in both chronology (from skills you can demonstrate at the beginning to those you can show later) and complexity (from simpler skills to more complex skills).

nail the basics
First, you nail the basics. These are the underlying requirements for not only becoming an indispensable employee but being a functional worker. Toward this end, you present yourself professionally, adopt a great attitude, and invest yourself in the mission of your organization. You also seek out information about your position, organization, and industry, understanding this information will be useful as you progress. You are thoughtful about starting strong and setting yourself up for long-term success. Remembering that reputations are set early and become hard to change, you demonstrate these indispensable traits from day one. Chapters 1–4 help you lay that foundation.

excel at execution
Second, you excel at execution. As you tackle your work, you take pains to execute even the least interesting of tasks in an efficient and error-free manner. You know that reliability is a prerequisite for more responsibility. Then, as you gain experience, you execute your job better and better. You finish your work well and communicate effectively. You bravely address problems and tackle interpersonal issues. Task by task, you prove yourself, building confidence and earning trust. Chapters 5–9 help you prove your competence and excel at the tasks within your scope.

exceed expectations
Finally, you exceed expectations. As an indispensable employee, you do more than is asked of you. Instead of sticking to your narrow job description, you make an impact beyond those particular responsibilities. You stretch to take on more responsibility. You take the initiative to improve your organization broadly. You also proactively push your own professional development, going beyond the formal feedback processes to drive your growth. Chapters 10–12 lay out strategies for going beyond excellent execution and exceeding all expectations. This is the realm of becoming fully indispensable; here you lay the groundwork to advance from an indispensable employee to a manager and leader of others.

Indispensable is dedicated to all those who use work as a place to develop into their best selves – and that is exactly what the book enables you to do.