Five Things That Elevate Us from Mediocrity

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In their latest book, authors Harry Paul, John Britt, and Ed Jent present the humorous story of when excellence (personified) is kidnapped and what happens in such cases where a crucial quality goes missing. But underneath the story is real research that outlines the causes of excellence breakdowns in organizations and individuals.

For this newsletter, the authors present the Five Things That Can Elevate Us from Mediocrity to Being Our Best:

1. Real Passion
Passion is the primary building block for excellence, and more importantly, is less of an emotion and more of a daily choice in our attitude. For the employee, it might be the choice to see past the shortcomings of a colleague and rather than distance him or herself from that person, maintain a positive attitude and even help the other person in improving his or her work.

2. True Competency
We often relate competency to the technical skills required to do the job. But competency is not just the technical aspects of our work and lives but also in our relationships with one another. The construction worker who is great at reading blueprints, but lacks the interpersonal skills to be able to relate well with his employees and customers can’t be considered “competent.”

3. Proactive Flexibility 
The only thing that remains constant is that everything changes. Those in the excellence category understand that change happens and they look for positive, practical and professional ways to adapt to the changes. The worker who resists changes and hangs on to the philosophy of “that’s not the way we do things around here” may find himself not only in the land of average but also in the land of the unemployed.

4. Deep Communication
 Perception is everything, and perception is primarily created by communication. Those who understand that there is a delicate balance between listening and talking and that listening is more than just paying attention to the words are on a path to excellence. Some managers think they are “managing” when they hear employees’ concerns, but if they don’t actually listen (instead of just hear), they are not receiving the communications accurately and so can’t act effectively in response. 

5. Personal Ownership 
Who among us has washed a rental car? OK, there are a few of you. But most of us have not. It is not part of the expectation. We are more likely to take care of the things we own. You can go into work with an attitude of just meeting the basic expectations of the job and you may, in fact, be able to fly under the radar screen. Or you can come to work with a perspective of how you would work and operate if you owned the company, your department, your specific work. That is a perspective of excellence.


Gary Brumback said...

Any person or organization without moral integrity can't even reach mediocrity.

Sure, a corporation can be filthy rich w/o that integrity, but note my adjective, "filthy."

Advance said...

Wow Gary, that was so good I had to tweet it out, with credit of course. I wanted to make sure I acknowledged you.

Rick Stamm said...

Glad to see you adding interpersonal skills to competence. Our business is teaching those skills and, as you know, they are often called "soft skills' and yet they are the hardest to learn - or should I say unlearn since that is where you have to begin in most cases.

On another note, I had a thought about washing a rental car. I've used that same analogy from time to time but it just occurred to me that we usually have a rental car for a short period of time. Over those same short periods I don't wash the car I own either. Wondering if I would wash a rental car if I had it for a few months.

Anonymous said...

Advance, I sure wish I knew who you were. I'm quite flattered by your comment.

Go to my site, www.uschamber Would appreciate knowing what you think of it. My e-mail address can be found there.
Best, Gary

Gary Brumback said...

Correction. That's