I think it’s safe to say that there are a lot of professionals who want to be excellent at what they do. Who wouldn’t? But if history has taught us anything, it’s that a select few actually become excellent.
Why is this? There are a few things that excellent professionals have/do that others don’t. And that’s not to say that those who don’t lack the ability to acquire the same skills or are unable do the same things that excellent professionals do. On the contrary. Of course they can. It’s a question of whether or not they want to.
So what are these characteristics that excellent people have that make them excellent?
Commitment – Excellent professionals make a commitment to something. They have a definite outcome in mind when they start out. The very act of committing to a task is sacred to them. They treat commitments very seriously.
Work Ethic – Excellent professionals have an unwavering work ethic. They don’t take shortcuts. They create action plans and perform the tasks contained therein with a fierce determination to see things through. It’s akin to an obligation that they make to themselves. In some cases, it borders on obsession. Sometimes obsession can be healthy. But the excellent professional knows that obsession can also be dangerous and can end up detracting from the tasks at hand. So, excellent professionals also have something else in common….
Flexibility – You’ve all heard what happens to the “best laid plans,” right? Having a plan of action is essential to the successful completion of a project or undertaking. There is no question about that. However, the excellent professional knows that things can and often do change. They understand that their original plans may not be sufficient anymore and that modifications to the original schematic are in order. They have the ability to recognize and the courage to admit that a previous course of action or tactic may have been wrong or ineffective. Think about Thomas Edison. He tried and failed over 2,000 times to invent the light bulb. When something wasn’t working, he didn’t insist on doing the same things. Rather, he made adjustments and tried another way. In essence, excellent professionals don’t fall into the abyss of insanity.
Keep Learning – The excellent professional doesn’t relax for too long after accomplishing something big. Sure, they are proud of their achievements but there is always something inside that nags them to do more, learn more, create more, and be better. The excellent professional has a strong desire to keep learning. And they approach their earning in such a way that not only will they possess even more knowledge about their disciplines but also acquire knowledge about other ones. Then the excellent professional will think of ways to incorporate one set of knowledge into other sets to maximize efficiency. After all, the excellent professional understands that everything is interdependent. So why not create ways for people to work together at an even higher level?
After reading this, if you are in management, I’ll be hoping that you take some time to do an inventory of your organization’s employees. Can you point to the ones that exhibit these characteristics or have the potential to do so in the future? Once you’ve identified them, will you pay special attention to their professional development? Will you reward your very best so that they become even more motivated and committed to being excellent?
Are you committed to being excellent?
Until next time…..