I was speaking with a friend of mine the other day who is a leader at a company that has experienced growth from 100 to 17000 people. He started at the beginning when the stakes were low, but has been rewarded more than he could have expected. He has a strange ability to speak on topics in a way that can relate to multiple facets of life including both personal and business. He started asking the question, “Have you ever seen someone who works with Excellence?”
He’s not talking about people who are the most successful contributors at your workplace or the outliers who happen to beat the odds consistently, but someone whose effort, attitude, and abilities seem to set them apart from the crowd. You might define it as someone with the “it Factor.”
As I’ve started to pay more attention to this subject, I’ve found myself watching people. All kinds of people; Executive Assistants who greet me when I’m waiting for a client, programmers who think I’m not watching as I walk by their desk, janitors at my church, local chick fil-a workers, even the people within my own organization. There’s something contagious and inspiring about watching a person perform with excellence – especially when they think nobody is watching.
Is it the passion about a specific task that motivates them to work with excellence or is it just something they were pre-wired to do? I work with professionals who are in periods of career transition, and I would be foolish to think that everyone I represent happens to be a person who portrays this idea of excellence. That’s the hard part about interviewing! You’re getting a snapshot of an individual who is trying their hardest to convince you that this is the energy, attitude, and overall person you will always get if you hire them – “the best version of themselves”.
The funny thing is that we all know the characteristics we’d like to portray – because it’s exactly the points you try to emphasize when you’re interviewing with a prospective company. I would challenge you to make a list of these traits and hold yourself accountable to start demonstrating them consistently. When you can settle for making 10 calls, make 15. When you are comfortable running 1 mile, run 2. When you have completed your part of the project before deadline, see where you can help a peer. Excellence is contagious! When you elevate your performance, don’t be surprised when other people take note and start making small changes to their behaviors.
Going to back to my friend who grew his company from 100 people to 17000 – you don’t achieve those kinds of results by demonstrating excellence in rare moments and then shrinking back to a casual/normal run-rate. You achieve great things beyond your reach, when your performance is consistently elevated. When my friend speaks, I listen! He has demonstrated excellence which has made me take note. You don’t have success like he’s had all by himself. He made a choice to work with excellence, and elevated a team of people to do the same thing. Imagine what you can accomplish if you choose to aim a little higher, and hold yourself accountable to the version of yourself you claim to be on an interview.