How to Become a Go to Person

What’s your resolution for 2012? Want to improve your time management skills? Looking for ways to create more effective communication between colleagues? Or do you want to be known for producing professional results under aggressive deadlines to give your career more momentum? If you answered “all of the above” then this is your year to become a go-to person.

Whether you’re working with department members, cross-team or with clients, being a good go-to person can make you indispensable (and powerful) to them and your company.


How to Be an Awesome Go To Person

Here are a few steps to keep you motivated and moving:

1. Take notes.

Take some quick notes on questions you have before you discuss project requirements to outline all the information you’ll need before you start. After your questions are answered, taking an extra ten minutes to create a project timeline will ensure you know how to keep things moving along. When you have project timeline in hand, you can immediately contact other colleagues involved to let them know when you’ll be looking for their final input.

2. Listen first.

When you’re trying to be helpful, it’s easy to jump to conclusions or try to present an instant solution. Hear out your colleagues first to avoid missing important details or causing offense. Then use your trusty project notes to keep all of the project information at your fingertips.

3. Ask questions.

If you still need more information after you’re given the full rundown, don’t hesitate to push for more details with definitive questions. Taking an extra five minutes of their time to pin down specific project requirements or expectations can help you avoid last minute emails and phone calls when you need more questions answered.

If you get vague responses, counter them with more specific questions to avoid having to do the guesswork. If your colleague can’t provide all the details find out who you can reach out to who can. Remember, even when it seems tedious to your team members, being thorough will help you keep the project on target.

4. Be organized.

You never know when you’ll need to reference an email or forward it on if a project is revisited or questions come up. Keep your inbox in order with separate folders for different departments or projects, making them simple to locate later. For example, when you submit help desk tickets to your IT department, have an IT folder where you can quickly filter your requests.

For internal department emails, try creating a variety of directories under a department folder to sort by project type. Filter your messages out of your inbox throughout the day to avoid losing important information. Managing your inbox with relevant folders can also prevent you from getting derailed at the growing amount of messages every time you open your email.

Scan any print documents to PDF so they’re easily accessible on your computer to send at a moment’s notice. Papers are easy to lose and harder to share. If you don’t have capability to scan-to-file, arrange documents by project in binders.

Use dividers to separate out past, present and working files so they’re simple to locate. Then recycle any papers you don’t need so they’re not taking up valuable space in your office or work station.

5. Stay on deadline.

That extra hour or two at the office can make the difference for your colleagues and your career. Also, make sure you’re managing your day-to-day schedule in order of department priorities.

6. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong.

It shows you’re accountable. Address the issue, make sure you know the best practice moving forward and move on.

Don’t over apologize. It’s good to give a genuine apology when warranted. “I apologize” lets colleagues know that you do. An “I’m so sorry” or three of them can make your mistake look more significant than it really was.

Don’t let a little slip derail you either. Remember that everyone at your company, even your manager or CEO makes mistakes occasionally. The important take-away isn’t what went wrong, but what you can do better in the future.

7. Be confident.

It sounds cliché, but even if your work is flawless, your manager won’t believe it unless you believe in yourself. Keep your body language relaxed and professional with your shoulders back and your head up. Make direct eye contact, and while you want to keep conversation articulate and professional, your voice should hold the same calm tone you use with family and friends.

Acting insecure or stressed out makes even the best workers look unreliable. It can also make you a prime target for workplace bullying.

8. Don’t get overwhelmed.

When you’re tight on deadline and short on patience, ask yourself “What is the absolute, worst possible outcome and what would I do if it happened?” Then ask yourself how you’re going to prevent the absolute worst from happening by getting upset.

You’ll soon know that stressing out doesn’t help.

Are you the go to person of your office? Tell us your story below!


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Naomi Garnice is a Creative Services Manager and a full time WorkAwesome reader.


  1. Some great tips here, thanks.

  2. Andrew Huskinson on the 6th February


    In my freelance IT Consultant days I often went from being a Analyst/Programmer hired in, to running the development of the ‘we are a bit late upgrading our IT to stay competitive’ shop.

    I used to carry round two folders, one with the database diagram and key process descriptions and one with project management stuff.

    We were into structured methodologies in those days so I kept my finger on the details with walk through’s of specifications and code. Of course I had my own development and pre-production log ins so I could ‘Test, Test, Test’.

    I always tested and ran conversions myself and often coded them, its the data stupid.

    I had a 20 minute meeting with the analysts on a Monday and tasked up everyone for 2 weeks. My best contractors I hired in needed ‘two weeks work’ scheduled.

    If some one came to me with a 5 minute problem I often did it there and then. A 15 minute one would get done in 2 days by someone and bigger ones got into the schedule. The aim is to have made progress at the end of each and every day.

    In smaller shops of course you are resource light so some stuff has to be winged and that’s where experience and a few staff who can work off the back of a fag packet comes in.

  3. Cheryl on the 6th February

    Useful information for a “Go to” person like myself! Thank you!

  4. Naomi on the 6th February

    Thanks, Evan. Glad you found it helpful!

  5. Naomi on the 7th February

    Great example, Andrew.

    Thank you, Cheryl. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Eric on the 8th February

    Great advisements, it’s time to become a go to person! 🙂 Thanks a million

    • Naomi on the 12th February

      You’re welcome, Eric. Glad they came in handy!

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