Writing in a last week’s issue of New York Magazine about the surprising quality renaissance of the just ended television season Michael Hirschorn leads off with the punch line– “When all else fails, try being good.”
Our relentless quest for perfection can distract us from the power of being consistently good.
But if you’re consistently good over time you’re probably great.
When you’re consistently good you’re reliable.
You can be counted on to deliver what you’ve promised, at the level required or better, when it’s due or sooner.
You put the time and effort necessary in performing each task so that it comes out well done.
But you don’t overdo.
You are well informed and always prepared.
You are thorough, comprehensive, creative and resourceful.
If the project changes you adapt.
If there are complications you communicate and facilitate a resolution.
You take the initiative when necessary and play well with others in team situations.
Those with whom you work know that you will be as good this week as you were last week and that next week you’ll be that good, or better, again.
That makes them feel safe.
And makes them feel really pleased and satisfied.
Pleased and satisfied colleagues and customers feel good about working with you.
As my 98 year old grandfather says quite often: “The reward for good work is more work.”
What’s missing here?
Any requirement that you be perfect or attempt to be perfect.
You can be great to work with if you are consistently good.
What a concept!
Let me challenge you to think about whether your professional performance can be described as consistently good according to this standard. By all means tweak the definition of consistently good if necessary for it to make sense in your work arena. Then be ruthlessly honest about your habits and experiences.
Do you measure up?
Or is there an opportunity for a positive change that would have a significant positive impact?
The need for that kind of change is worth acknowledging – and that kind of change itself is always worth making.
As it turns out Friday June 4, 2010 is National Donut Day which is completely apropos of this topic.
When you think about it isn’t a donut an excellent example of being consistently good?
A donut is straightforward and unpretentious.
It knows what it is – the perfect match for a cup of coffee – and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. You won’t see a donut advertising itself as an Italian pastry one day and a French macaroon the next.
A donut is also wildly consistent. Today’s donut is a lot like yesterday’s donut and is most likely an excellent predictor of what tomorrow’s donut will be. One way or another you know that a donut is going to be just right each and every time.
By some estimates American’s eat close to 10 BILLION donuts each year.
That’s a lot of consistently good.
This dynamic can work the same in your work life.
Give it a try and see for yourself.
And, as always, let me know how it goes.
Anne Clarke, is a personal and executive coach and principal of ABClarke Coaching. She helps individuals, professionals and entrepreneurs achieve success – however they define it. Contact Anne at [email protected] or on the web at www.setting-and-achieving-goals.com