I like to share stories in my posts and on today’s post I start by telling a short one about a constructor called Lucas.
Lucas worked for several years on a company specialized into building houses. After a decade within the organization he reached management level. In different dialogues with the owner of the business, he expressed his desire to grow, earn more and to take higher responsibility.
Different opportunities appeared and he was not selected. The owner explained that he was not ready for some of them and that took a toll on him. Lucas didn’t cope well with setback. At some point, disappointed, Lucas decided to leave the company and explore new pastures.
Lucas then approached the owner and resigned. The owner asked him to think better and reconsider his decision, but Lucas was determined to leave.
The owner then expressed how much he appreciated the work Lucas did and how important he was for his business. Also, mentioned the high standards of his work and the top-quality houses he delivered. After a long dialogue the owner asked Lucas to build one last house. Lucas rejected and said he was not willing to. The owner insisted in the name of their long relationship.
Lucas then accepted but didn’t keep the high standards he used to apply. He built the house using low quality material, left doors and windows with gaps, the roof was not perfectly set and water infiltration was the result of a poor job. But Lucas anyway declared that the house was done and his part of the agreement delivered.
On his last day, he met the owner to deliver the key of the house. The owner then asked ‘So you finished the house?’. Lucas answered ‘Yes, I surely did!’ and gave the keys to the owner.
The owner then said, you don’t need to give me the keys, these keys are yours. This is your house and my gift to you.’
So, what happened here?
My main take from this one is that we should never compromise quality and good standards of what / how we do our tasks irrespective of the situation we are in. Outlook may be bright and promising or cloudy and uncertain, the commitment to deliver outstanding results must be kept till the end.
I don’t remember where exactly I read above story but I have used it in different instances as an analogy for people’s career. We sometimes hear people saying ‘I would do more if… I earned more, I got a promotion etc’. Whereas commitment to do and deliver more should come first, then stand out the crowd and as result deserve and get more in return.
Being committed pays off!
Discussing with business leaders, politicians and colleagues who work for the government, it is unanimous that those who show commitment to a cause, project, strategy are the ones who get ahead. With a sparring partner, we also discussed the main characteristics of our top talents / outstanding professionals and we too identified that they show high level of commitment – among other key qualities. Looking at commitment versus knowledge, I go even beyond say that I have seen cases in which committed people have outperformed the more ‘knowledgeable’ ones.
To me, commitment sets talents apart from the crowd and increases their chances to get better opportunities.
As Margaret Mead said, ‘never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
A few characteristics of committed people
_Committed people come together for a cause even if they have nothing to do among themselves in terms of culture, background, language etc. They align on a common goal and find a way to deliver outstanding results.
_Committed people do the work others don’t want to do. They get involved and do the extra mile. In that process, good opportunities surface for them.
_A committed individual contributor is constantly asking how he/she can support management in succeeding on the overall business strategy. A committed peer focus on the team overall goal and collective success. A committed manager works actively and genuinely in unison with management to bring outstanding results for the business, develop its people and help others to succeed too. A committed business partner thinks Win-win.
_It takes commitment to overcome resistance on a project or strategy. It takes commitment for a leader to communicate and execute a new strategy that people don’t believe in it. It takes commitment to keep rowing with all power when wind and current is against. It takes commitment to help someone’s development when he/she doesn’t recognize as an area of improvement (coaching for potential) – the famous blind spots. It takes commitment to become a better version of oneself, to work harder and longer than the others.
Back to Lucas, building the last house was a hidden opportunity for him.
How committed are you building your ‘house’? Are you alert to identify hidden opportunities?