This morning, I did something that I don’t do nearly as often as I should. I pulled out my journals from four years ago. I am trying to make this a habit, but it is something that I just don’t get around to as much as I want.
A few observations from these notes that I have. At the time I of these notes I was in a bit of a challenging situation. I was performing a job that wasn’t actually my job at the time.
Lesson here: Always be willing to help when needed, but don’t let anybody or any employer take advantage of you.
In this interim role I was performing, I had the chance to work with a lot of people who I don’t normally work with. This group of people, which included a few different departments, managers, staff, etc., were all meeting and discussing procedural issues and challenges. I sat in countless meetings during this time.
Lesson here: Most of the time companies have pretty sound or decent processes. It is usually the people and the personalities involved in the processes that are causing the most problems. Strong leadership is required.
During these countless meetings I was involved in. It seemed to me that most of the participants pointed out the flaws in the others sides processes and follow-up. Very rarely did either side admit that they were at fault.
Lesson here: It is easy to point out another persons, or another departments (which includes people) faults. But, you have to take some responsibility yourself, the other side can’t always have 100% of the fault.
How many times have you heard someone tell you “I am doing the best I can?” And deep down in your heart, you know they are capable of so much more? Whether they can or they can’t do better, it is not important. It is their attitude that is telling you that they aren’t doing the best they can. Attitude determines most successes and failure.
Lesson here: You can’t just do the best you can, you have to do everything you can.
How many times have you taken the easy way out? How many times have you watched someone else take the easy way out? I get it. It is called the easy way out, because it is easy and doesn’t require much effort, time, money, etc. from whoever is pursuing it. However, what usually happens when we take the easier approach? My experience tells me this.
Looking at my journal writings some four years ago. I now have the data to support why the easy way out is never the best. If you are looking to hire, and you decide to go with the person who has been around the longest, has the most experience, has done a great job, etc. Just because they have all of this going for them, doesn’t mean that they are going to be the best for this new position, especially if the person has never demonstrated leadership, and you are looking for a leader. They may have been a leader by title, but did they demonstrate leadership? Which includes doing what is hard, pushing things forward, having a vision for the future, challenging people, processes, and thinking even when it isn’t the popular thing to do.
Lesson here: If you decide to take the easy approach, be prepared to do more work in the long run. Be prepared to not get as far as you want individually or as a company, because the easy approach is very rarely the best approach.
The final lesson in my short look in my past was this.
Doing little things makes a big difference. Saying hello to someone even when they don’t say it to you. Getting a card for someone for their birthday. Sending a text to someone just to tell them to have a great day. I am sure we do all of these things for our families and close friends, but what if you did these little things for the people who don’t expect us to do anything for them? This is where you can make a big difference in people’s lives and truly have an impact.
To your success and your future.