While at dinner recently with a Fortune 500 Executive, we were discussing employee expectations for career advancement. We lamented the ambitious but misguided who don’t know what they don’t know and feel entitled to
success. We bemoaned the techies who are eager to be done but inevitably break something as often as they fix something and are too quick to dismiss other people. And we shared stories of accomplished individuals who are so annoying and/or self-centered no one wants to work with them. In the end, we identified three measures of success:
- You’ve got to get things done
- You’ve got to get them done right
- And you can’t do either at the expense of others
Getting things done means taking responsibility, being resourceful, persevering, and finishing on time.
But finishing isn’t good enough. You’ve got to get things done right. To do that you must be sure you know what done looks like so what you deliver meets expectations. You don’t want to over deliver, nor stop short. Clarity is as critical as persistence.
To meet deadlines, you must anticipate and prevent problems. Anticipation and prevention minimize the obstacles, rework, and firefighting that lead to delays.
Last but not least, you can’t win at the expense of others and you can’t drive talent away. No matter how awesome you think you are or how important your projects, your colleagues must also succeed if the organization is going to succeed.
If you can get things done right and on time, while also being respectful, helpful, and easy to get along with, you will go far.
Not sure where you stand? Get some feedback from others. Find out how you are perceived. Ask for examples of specific behaviors that exemplify these three characteristics and figure out how you measure up. Not knowing and unrealistic expectations are a bad combination!