One in four of the UK’s youth services face massive cuts of between 20-40 per cent, while some authorities intend on getting rid of their youth services completely.


Many voluntary organisations that provide services for young people have said programmes will be cut, and local authority chiefs predict that youth service budgets will be slashed by £100 million, leading to the loss of 3,000 full-time youth worker jobs!

Given the current landscape, the stakes are high as many workers are having to consider preparing to re-apply for their jobs.

To stand out in such a competitive field you are really going to have to “up your game”

Here are 7 powerful actions you can take to help you to stand out from your colleagues without having to back stab or pull anybody else down.


1. Become Solution focused.

There is nothing more frustrating and energy draining for a manager than a person who is constantly focused on problems. Everybody knows somebody who is always cynical or reluctant to consider potential solutions, even when given a viable solution they respond with more problems.

A person who has the ability to focus on exploring and suggesting solutions to problems will always stand out from the crowd. Almost every successful business started by a problem being identified and a potential solution being developed and offered.

The Solution focused person asks questions that search for a resolve to a problem as well as exploring measures to prevent the problem from happening again.

A solution focused problem solver will always have a place on the team, and often times will be offered the captains arm band.


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2. Make your Travel time, Learning time.

Training opportunities don’t come around everyday and reading can be time intensive, however, as you travel to and from work, you can capitalise on that valuable time.

I have done this for years and call it my ‘Listen & Learn Time’ and it has proven to be extremely valuable in my personal and professional development.

I say listen, because I don’t know anybody who has he ability to read faster that they can hear. Reading is great, but you can not do anything else with that time while your are reading (especially not driving).

Listening to an audio book, a podcast or a presentation as you travel each day will definitely accelerate your learning and growth within your field.

So while others are listening to the commercial junk on mainstream radio, you will be building your knowledge and skills base which will certainly put you ahead of the crowd.



3. Look for inspiration and learning outside of your field.

When I used to dabble in music production, I found that whenever I was in need of some inspiration, the best place to go for creative ideas was outside of the music genre I was working on. Now my music genre was urban e.g. Hip Hop, RnB, Drum & Bass etc, but I would learn a great deal and find inspiration from listening to reggae, funk, latin folk music and classical.

In your efforts to stand out from the crowd, you should remain open to learning new ideas and skills, and some of these ideas can come from places you would never expect. Your job is to work out how to transfer that learning to your field.

TED talks, Leadership coaches and mentors such as John Maxwell, Sermons and Biblical principals, Entrepreneurs and business leaders bio’s; These are all sources of inspiration and learning which I have used and implemented and have proven to be of great value in my development and I believe this has given me an advantage over others in my field.


 4. Manage yourself exceptionally well.

Now let me be clear here, I am not suggesting that you ignore your managers requests and start doing your own thing, as this would see you out the door in many organisations.

By managing yourself, I am referring to planning and managing your time and tasks effectively, prioritising your workload and just simply using your initiative.

Nothing will make a better impression on your manager than your ability to manage yourself. If your leader has to continually expend energy managing you, then you will be perceived as someone who drains their time and energy.

Before you contact your manager to communicate something to them, try to pre-empt any questions they might ask or any additional information they may request and have this ready for them. Also, think about everything that will or could be discussed in your management supervision or appraisal and ensure that you have all these things covered and in good order.

If you manage yourself well your boss will see you as someone they can turn to when the heat is on and this will put you ahead of the crowd.


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5. Be bold enough to operate above your job role.

This links to the point above, and again, I am not talking about trying to manage your colleagues and boss your manager around, However, One technique that I have implemented very carefully and that has helped opened many doors for me long my path, is to be bold enough to operate as though I was one band or level higher on the organisational structure.

Simply try and lighten your leaders load.

What this entails is that you think, communicate, plan and deliver all your work as though you have your managers position.

Now please let me stress the importance of doing this appropriately, humbly, respectfully, and with the upmost integrity.

The objective here is two fold, which is to learn and grown in new areas as well as to demonstrate your competence and win your managers confidence.

Be willing to contribute and even lead on tasks that are above the remit of your role.

Every manager would love to have someone who they knew they could call on to take on a piece of work, knowing that it will be carried out to the standard as if they had done it themselves.

If you do this well, everybody will benefit and your manager will love you for it and this will put you ahead of the crowd.


6. Share your best ideas.

In 2001, I had an idea for a website called ‘’ which would stream movies direct to your PC via the internet. I only ever shared the idea with my wife, and feared telling anybody else because it was such a great idea they might steal it and develop it themselves.

Well, needless to say, I never developed the idea any further, and low and behold, one of the worlds most popular websites today is ‘Netflix’ which offers that exact service. It currently has a total digital revenue of $1.5 billion and accounts for approximately 32.7% of peak internet traffic in the U.S. alone.

Lots of people have ideas but what do they do with them? Research has shown how innovation is an ongoing process, that often involves various people building on each others ideas.

We hear of people talking about the need to “protect” an idea, yet, innovation doesn’t come out of protection, it comes out of building on the ideas of others and others taking a different view on it and finally someone developing a product.

In an age of copywrite protection, trademarks and patents, the notion of giving away your ideas is somewhat foreign, however, I believe that the person who is willing to share what they have with others will stand head and shoulders over the crowd, and be seen as an innovator in their field.

It is certain that you will run out of time and energy before you run out of ideas. It is also true that a candle loses nothing when it lights another, but it just creates more light.


7. Shut up and Listen.

We all know how easy it is to sit in a meeting or engage in a conversation and to not really listen to what is being said. I am sure that we all have had situations were we feel we have not been listened to, and the emotions this creates in us.

Hearing is a physical ability while listening is a skill. Listening allows you to make sense of and understand what is being said, it also allows you to get insights into what really makes a person tick, and knowing this will help you to better relate and connect with that person.

The ability to listen carefully will allow you to find underlying meanings in what others are saying and it will also give you a better understand and what is expected of you.

Listening will put you closer to the root of an issue, allowing you to take the appropriate action.

There is a saying that goes like this, “If you listen to the whispers you wont need to hear the screams”.

By making a conscious effort to listen closely to what is being said, and processing this information, along with any other knowledge you may have, this will give you a competitive edge of those who don’t listen.


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