Great is so close to good, it really doesn’t make sense to stop at just good.
When I was in first grade my teacher, Mrs. Scott told us that takes so much effort to get even, you might as well work just a little harder and get ahead. It takes a lot of work to be good at something. Most of the time, we do not get to good overnight. There is preparation, training, trying, re-trying and perfecting. Think about one of the first things that people ever learn to do – walk. No child goes from crawling to walking across the floor with ease and grace. To the contrary, at the start of things there are shaking steps while holding on to pets, furniture and parents. Later, there are shaky steps from one handhold to the next. Then after countless steps, falls, stops and starts, there is success. The baby, now appropriately called a toddler, is able to walk.
Over the course of a lifetime there will be many instances like this one. Learning to read, ride a bike, drive a car and even run a business. Life events and challenges will occur and you will have to work hard in order to get good at something. You will expend countless hours working to be a good person, a good employee, a good spouse, a good parent, a good entrepreneur and good at a myriad of things. It will take hours upon hours, upon hours to get to good. In fact, it will be exhausting work.
When you put in all that work, you will notice that while you are good at whatever it is you have been working on, you are not great. Great is close to good, really close. Even in the dictionary, good is only a few pages away from great. Don’t stop at good, put in a little more work and go for great. Great is where the good rewards are found. Great is where true success is found. Think of good as the journey and great as the finish line you should aim to reach.
Going from good to great is worth the extra effort it will take.
Getting from good to great takes time, practice and effort. Let’s look at a professional athlete for an example to make the point clear. When he got to the NBA, Michael Jordan was clearly recognized as a good basketball player. He could have had a fine career as a good basketball player. He would have made a good deal of money, garnered endorsement deals and been thought of fondly by fans of the sport for years to come. But, we all know Michael Jordan was not merely a good basketball player, he was a great basketball player, perhaps one of the best ever to play the game. He did not stop at good, he came to practice early and stayed late working to move from a good player, to a great player.
If you desire to be successful, to be appreciated and to be thought of in good terms by your peers and those around you, do not settle for being good. Instead, put in the work to be great. We all know people who are good at things. We like good parents. We want our children to have good teachers. We want good friends. We want business to be good. Good makes us happy.
Great on the other hand is a thing we treasure. Great parents are appreciated by their children and admired by those who see them. Great teachers are the ones who give our children a thrill and enthusiasm for learning. Great friends stick with us, never leave us and are with us for a lifetime. Great businesses enable us not just to earn a living, but to make a life. The rewards of great of so much more than the rewards for good, it makes sense to go for great.
I wish I knew where my first grade teacher Mrs. Scott was today. I would tell her that I have worked to heed her instruction. She would be pleased to know that not only do I follow the lesson she taught me, I work to help others learn the lesson as well. What will you do in your life, both professionally and personally to go from good to great?
It is wonderful to learn that if you want to succeed at work, you must learn to respect authority. In the military services there is an idea called chain of command. Chain of command is a way of doing things so that those at the top of the organizational chart direct and control the actions of those below them. All authority and decision-making rests at the top of the chart. This idea is important in the workplace because those at the top are the ones with the power and authority to hire, fire, sign paychecks and decide how day-to-day operations will be handled. In the normal course of things, this means the owner of the company or the company president or even supervisors get to voice their opinions on how things will be handled and those decisions expect their decisions to be followed. Problems arise when those at the bottom of the organizational chart think they know better and do not respect those in authority.
It is common for people of a certain generation to say that respect must be earned not given. At the same time, those of previous generations feel that respect comes with the position. These two views are often at odds in the workplace. When those in authority in an organization feel that respect comes with the position, they are reluctant to listen to or give much weight to the ideas, thoughts, and plans of those at the bottom of the organizational chart. Similarly, those of the mindset that respect must be earned and not freely given find it difficult to obey the desires of those at the top of the organizational chart and often think they know much better how things should be done. No matter which of these two camps you fall into, you must find a way to work with those on the other side.
Those in authority must be respected for several reasons including:
1. They control your continued employment
2. They have the floor
3. They have the responsibility to make the decisions
4. They have paid the costs to be the boss
If you are a person at the bottom of the organizational chart, you must respect those in authority because they control your continued employment. You are not likely to remain employed if you make your lack of respect for those in authority apparent. When I was 18 years old and working one of my first jobs I told my supervisor that I was not happy at work. I told her in the tone and attitude that is typical for a young know it all. Long story short, two days later, I was trying to convince an employee at the state unemployment office that I really was fired because I was not happy at work. What those who think respect must be earned must learn, and what I learned the hard way is, there is a way to talk to those in authority that conveys disagreement with respect and sensitivity and enables one to remain employed.
At my next job, once again, I thought that those in upper management were insane and did not know how to do things as well as I. However, having learned a lesson after being fired, I went to the supervisor quietly and privately to discuss things. I explained to him that we were not selling certain items because the display method being used was not efficient and the good products were being overshadowed by bad ones. Instead of going to the supervisor with a haughty know it all attitude, I went to the supervisor respectfully, calmly and with data to back up my position.
This time around, I was not fired but was permitted to try my sales ideas. When those ideas proved successful, I did not gloat but instead talked about what a good decision we made and how the increased profits would be beneficial to the entire company. This lead to a promotion and an increase in pay.
The lesson learned here, go to those in authority with respect and courtesy, not a superior, “I know everything and you know nothing attitude.” Even if you are more knowledgeable than those in authority, be respectful. Do this because it is the right thing to do. Do this because it is the Golden Rule. Treat those in authority with dignity and respect because when you are in a position of authority your life will be immeasurably better if those around you are respectful. While you are at the bottom of the organizational chart, practice your skills at office politics so that you are able to say the right things, to the right people at the right time. It is not kissing up or brown-nosing to treat those in authority with dignity and respect. It is the right thing to do and it is a duty you owe those in authority and yourself.
Think about the office of President of the United States. After each presidential campaign, there are people who are disappointed that their candidate of choice did not win. They are going to be spending the next four years with a person occupying the highest office of the land that they think does not belong there. At the same time, decency requires that the President of the United States be treated with courtesy, dignity, and respect. Like it or not, feel like it or not, the respect comes with the position, no matter the person. It is a good idea to take this same attitude toward those in authority in the workplace. Those in authority have those positions and the positions demand respect.
It is wonderful to learn that if you want to succeed at work, you must learn to respect authority. So, the question for you this wonderful day is how do you show respect for those in authority?
If you would like to read more articles about authority in the workplace, check out the following.
When it Comes to Work, Show Up Like a Grown Up
It is wonderful to realize that when it comes to work you need to show up like a grown up! Each day, all across America people get up and go to work. For so of those people it is the lat day of work because they are fired.
One reason people are fired is that refuse to show up like a grown up and work at work. It is important to always keep in mind that work is something grown ups do. If you want to continue to work with your employer, you must be above reproach.
How to Succeed at Work – Respect Those in Authority
It is wonderful to succeed at work by respecting those in authority. Many people are at work complaining about how much they hate the supervisor, how stupid the boss is and how no one running the company has a good idea about anything. For these people respect for those in authority is a foreign concept. It is no wonder that people with this attitude find it difficult to succeed in the workplace. It reminds me of a line from a Staples Singers song, “if you disrespect everyone that you run into, how in the world to you expect anyone to respect you?”
Realize that when it comes to work you need to show up like a grown up! Each day, all across America people get up and go to work. For some of those people, it is the last day of work because they are fired. One reason people are fired is that refuse to show up like a grown up and work at work. It is important to always keep in mind that work is something grown-ups do. If you want to continue to work with your employer, you must be above reproach.
When grown-ups come to work, they do several things:
- show up on time
- behave as if they are a role model for those around them
- show up with a good attitude
- put forth their best efforts with all they do
- show up prepared to work
- do a good job
- respect those in authority
- behave with kindness and integrity
- lead with authority, not intimation
- show appreciation for the job you have
Take time now to look at this list. Then, look at your behavior. Are you doing all the things on the list? If yes, that is good, you show up like a grown up at work. If you are not doing most of the things on the list, you are not showing up like a grown up. It is time for you to re-evaluate your actions and change your behavior at work. It does not matter if you are not happy at work. It does not matter if you are too good for your job. In fact, there is no excuse for failing to show up like a grown up at work.
In all we do as adults we have a responsibility to strive for excellence. It is not satisfactory to strive for average, work towards mediocre. That simply is not what adults are supposed to do. Adults recognize that they have responsibilities to themselves, their families and to those with whom they interact. Just as you want excellence from waitresses, bank tellers, and supermarket cashiers, you should provide excellence to all with whom you have contact. Showing up like a grown-up is not the most you can do, it is the least you can do. Everything else you do at work should be built on a foundation of you showing up like a grown up and doing excellent work.
It is wonderful to realize that when it comes to work you need to show up like a grown up! So, the question for you this wonderful day is, how do you show up like a grown up at work?
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