The weather was nice for a change and I found myself with an hour or so to spare, so I jumped on my bike and went for a ride. I took my best bike, titanium, and rode a trail that I have ridden many times before. On the last leg of my ride, I saw a man riding in front of me. He looked much older than me, was riding in sneakers (not cycling shoes), and was on an older hybrid (a much heavier bike) —all things that made him an easy target for me to overtake. So, my competitive juices kicked in and I set off to leave him in the dust. After a few minutes, I was getting frustrated because I was not getting much closer to him. How could this be?
On paper, this was a mismatch of epic proportions. I assumed that with little effort, I would catch him. But the reality was that I needed to put in the extra effort over and above what he was doing to catch him.
In your day job, are you adding value or just cruising along? Too often I see managers not pulling their weight, “pedaling” just enough to get by daily. What if you were relieved of your duties, would your Firm suffer? What about your team members? On paper, they were superstars and great hires but, in the everyday race of professional life, their performance has not been exceeding expectations. They never seemed to find the higher gear and, instead, mediocre cruise control became the everyday mode.
Here are some thoughts around on how to find your high gear in the workplace.
- Know you ARE replaceable. Strive for that higher gear every day on every project.
- Think about your role from your management’s perspective. Do you offer a consolidation opportunity? Find ways to make yourself more valuable to the organization. Are you differentiating yourself from your peers?
- Just because you are good on paper (strong credentials) does not mean you get a pass in the results that you generate. How does your productivity measure up?
- Take nothing for granted. It’s a business.
- If you have a great job, others will want it. Be that much better by setting a new standard.
- Be self-aware – how are you perceived? While you may not agree with perceptions, they matter in the workplace.
I will never be a great cyclist, nor is that one of my goals. Stake claim to your role in the organization. Be clear on your goals. You may be smart, you may look great on paper, and you may be able to do your job in your sleep. But you don’t know who or what is around the next bend. Make sure that you create value every day.
Pedal faster so that YOU don’t get dusted…