In a world that almost seems to encourage laziness, the idea of status quo, and being “normal”, approaching each day with goals of improving and influencing can come across as greedy and presumptuous. It is much easier to come up with reasons why NOT to do something than to simply put in the necessary effort and time to accomplish the task successfully. Accepting mediocrity is rampant in our society, primarily because so many people do it as opposed to striving for something more. “I would do it, but I can’t because I don’t have enough time…..energy…..money…..” You get the picture.
The workplace can be an incredibly negative, draining, debilitating environment if the wrong people are put in place. For one day at your office or physical work location, pay attention to the number of positive statements made about ANYTHING in comparison to those that are negative. Then pay attention to how important the things that are spoken negatively about actually are. You will certainly find that the overwhelming majority have little to no long term effect on the success of the company, or that they could be easily changed if the effort bitching about them was put towards solving the problem instead. Can you relate to any of the following?:
“The water cooler is empty…….AGAIN!!! When will they replace with a new one??” (by the way, there are 3 full jugs against the wall next to the cooler – get someone to help you and replace it yourself!!!)
“What is the office having delivered for lunch today? I hope it’s not ………..fill in the blank.” (as opposed to, “It’s really thoughtful of management to pay for our lunch today.”)
“When is someone going to fix the jammed copier?” (as opposed to simply following the directions on the screen and at least trying to fix it yourself)
My basketball team has a slogan that simply states, “No Excuses, Do the Work.” In fact, they know when I say the first two words, they are to respond with the last three. This allows them to take ownership of the meaning of the phrase, hopefully causing them to pay more attention to the application of it in practice and game situations. Specific instances that this saying is particularly applicable to are the following:
- practicing/playing hurt – injuries are different than aches and pains – people CAN function when things hurt
- overcoming fatigue – student-athletes have to stay up studying since they get home later than non-athletes – time management and taking care of their bodies is the key to overcoming or avoiding issues with fatigue – Do you think your company would run more efficiently if your employees did these two things as well?
- focusing on what the team needs from you even when your personal life isn’t going the way you want it to – when we are between the four lines of the basketball court, everything outside of those four lines goes away for the duration of the time we have together (practice or game) – your teammates are counting on you – Do your employees bring their personal lives into the workplace? Do they use it as an excuse NOT to be productive??
No matter what the situation presents, those who come up with excuse after excuse for why something isn’t going well will never be successful. On the other hand, those who refuse to waste time and energy making excuses, instead focusing on a solution to the problem at hand, can be counted on to help move a team/organization forward. Our team is made aware regularly of the fact that there is no such thing as sitting still – you’re either moving forward or backward. Are excuses based on things out of your control (age, gender, race, etc.) simply filling the time that you should be using to make those things moot points? Are excuses based on things that you CAN control (skill set, knowledge, strength, endurance, health, energy level, etc.) filling the time you should be using to improve those areas??
The best part of being great at anything is the fact that the skills necessary to succeed are achieved by individuals who simply make the decision to attain them!!! While talent definitely matters, simply having talent doesn’t make someone successful. What is done with that talent will determine how far they go. For example, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was not born the greatest shooter of all time; he became that through learning how to do it properly and working on it over and over again…………THE RIGHT WAY. Trust me, there are plenty of 6’2 reasonably athletic males like Curry walking the planet. However, nobody else on the planet has the combination of shooting and dribbling skills he has because he made the decision to attain those skills and let nothing get in his way.
Evaluate your employees based on productivity, but more importantly on efficiency. Are they able to get tasks done with high quality without taking unnecessary steps along the way? Or do they look like zombies from the television series The Walking Dead, wandering around aimlessly because they have a million excuses as to why they can procrastinate?? Which of these categories do you fall in? Remember, from the movie Remember the Titans, “Attitude reflects leadership!”
For those of you who are ok with being mediocre, never being considered for a raise or promotion, and like to complain more than get things done, you can stop reading immediately (although those individuals probably never started reading this to begin with). For those of you who want to strive for more, want to achieve success, and want to be a significant part of something greater than yourselves, pay attention to these simple rules:
- Spend your time with people you admire or strive to emulate based on productivity
- Ask those individuals specific questions when the appropriate time opens up – remember, these people probably don’t waste other people’s time so don’t waste theirs
- Replace meaningless activities such as surfing the web with no purpose, playing Solitaire, texting someone about your weekend, or playing on social media for personal reasons with actions that will push your department (and therefore the company) ahead. IT’S OK TO BE AHEAD OF SCHEDULE!!!
- substitute ½ to ⅔ of the time you spend watching television reading a book that will help you as a human being
- exercise every day (preferably early in the morning) for at least 30 minutes – could be something as simple as a walk in the neighborhood with your significant other – done consistently, this action will more than likely cause you to revisit your approach to nutrition, a more specific talk for another blog
If you just started with these 5 rules, you will notice an immediate impact on your level of productivity and efficiency – maybe even to the degree where you can join the group above……
NO EXCUSES, DO THE WORK.