I read a review of Tom Friedman’s new book, That Used to be Us. One of his chapters is
called “Average is Over.” He contends that what used to be good yesterday is
average today and will be even less so tomorrow.
Since no professional sets out to be average, how do you
get there? What are you doing today that makes you average? Answer: anything
that you’ve done the last 3 years is suspect. Regardless of how great it was 3
years ago, it isn’t today.
It’s so easy to slide into average, like the proverbial
frog in a pot. How do you boil a frog? You put it in a pot of comfortable
water, then slowly turn up the heat so the frog is unaware it is being boiled.
How do you become average? By doing the same thing you’ve
done year after year. It worked well in the beginning, you’ve become comfortable
with it, and you assume it has the same effect now. It doesn’t. It’s grown
stale. It’s not good enough anymore. Now you’re just average.
Look at when you interact with your clients. Do you contact
them only when you’re doing their work? When you want something from them? Are
you still using the excuse that you don’t want to bother them or that there are
more pressing things to do? After all, if they want something, they’ll call,
Examine your workflow—where does it leak? What technology
should you use or use more of but don’t because your way is “good enough?” You’re
comfortable with how you do it and it would take effort to learn a more
efficient way. Since you don’t have the time to relearn something, you’d rather
waste more time in your current way. AVERAGE.
How about the way you give feedback to others. Are you
still excusing and avoiding the hard and difficult conversations? What do you
allow to continue because you refuse to face it and deal with it? Others see
what you tolerate and wonder why. AVERAGE.
As the new year comes upon you, look at how you practice,
your professionalism and your professional stature. What do you need to do
differently to prevent yourself from sliding into average?