Monday, June 15, 2009

Doing what doesn't come easy

I had dinner many, many years ago with a client and two of our employees. We were on the road producing an event and were recovering from a day in the hot sun herding hundreds of sales people around a training session. We needed a chance to relax. I loved being with the three people - they were smart, funny and engaging.

The topic of high school and college came up, and I was astounded. The client said, "You know, I never had to study, never took a book home, and I was an honors student." One employee piped in, "Me, too. School was easy." The other employee added, "I never studied in high school, but finally in college I had to pick up a book once in a while."

I was dumbfounded (good word for this) and I felt like the stupid guy at the table (which I probably was). I had to study during elementary, junior high (that's what it was called then), high school AND college- or I would have been in big academic trouble.

At first, I felt almost sorry for myself, but then I realized it was an advantage. I was so used to tackling uncomfortable things, having to figure out something and having to study that I inadvertently took that into my business life. It made running a business easier - I expected to face challenges, to feel the stress of performing and never assume anything was going to be easy. I also felt the thrill of succeeding through the hard work- my smarter friends didn't get that bonus, either.

I think we face this issue in the workplace. All too often, the reason an employee doesn't perform well is that the assignment didn't come easy and he/she gave up. When the economy is booming, we can get away with this because we "specialize" - we give that unique or special or even weird assignment to someone else that may be more comfortable with it.

But in today's economy, that position may not exist at your company - we have to tackle the tough stuff and find a way to succeed. It'll be tough, but we'll learn and we'll feel good about it.

Barry LaBov
LaBov and Beyond

No comments:

Post a Comment