The Five Steps to Greatness
Saturday Snippets, #2: The Five Steps to Greatness
I had three meetings last week, involving different committees and groups of people who were all trying to help an organization improve its processes and results, increase quality, and maximize customer (patient) safety and satisfaction.
As I listened to the various concerns and complaints, arguments and angles, fights and frustrations the folks discussed, I realized that most of the time there are really only five steps involved in being great at anything.
If we applied these five steps to our work, on an individual level or to an entire organization, I believe that 90% or more of the problems we face would dissolve. And by extension, the number of meetings we have and memos we send would plummet.
Here are my proposed Five Steps to Greatness:
- Show up: It’s amazing how many problems are related mostly to folks trying to handle situations over the phone, via email or text, or through the time-tested, “I told so-and-so to do that.” Wouldn’t everything be easier if we took the time to handle things directly, face-to-face? Email and text simply do not communicate emotion properly, and leave too much to inference and chance. Take the time to show up, and see your results improve.
- Be nice: It seems silly to say this when you’re talking about adults, but a huge number of the problems in companies (and hospitals) really boil down to people not being nice to each other. One of the meetings I attended was focused on developing a policy to handle situations in which someone is mean or inappropriate to others in the organization. And lest you think it’s just a problem where I work, I learned that the federal government requires companies over a certain size to have a written policy for these matters. If we were all just polite and kind, we’d save lots of time and millions of trees (since we wouldn’t have to have all those written policies).
- Work Hard: Again, this should be self-explanatory, but it’s apparently not. Half of one of the meetings I attended was composed of a huge fight that resulted from a few people simply not being willing to work as hard as they should. No one ever achieved greatness by waiting for other people to do the work.
- Know your stuff: If you’re getting paid to do something, you ought to know how to do it. Don’t be a poser. Keep up with your field, and strive to be as good as you can be. Otherwise, go be great at something else. Why would you want to punch a clock your whole career doing something that doesn’t inspire you to try hard to be great?
- Follow through: How many hours of your life have you spent trying to rescue a situation that was created because someone else simply didn’t follow through on something they were supposed to do? We’d have far fewer policy manuals, committees, and meetings if all of us just kept our word and did what we said we’d do.
Unfortunately, in today’s world it doesn’t take much to separate ourselves from the average. If you want to be great, these five simple steps will make you stand out from the crowd. That will lead to more sales, better outcomes, increased efficiency, and happier customers (or healthier patients if you’re in health care).
Show up, be nice, do the work, know your stuff, and follow through, and you’ll be on the path to greatness in all areas of your life.
If you want to stop being average and move toward being great, start with the five steps.
And start today.
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