Determination

Are you committed?

In the canon of self-help/self-motivation literature virtual and hard copy I see lots of advice and admonition today. Build your brand, be different, lead, listen, collaborate… That’s a lot of stuff. And unless said-advice is embedded in a blog request to link to a website and pay a small fee, I assume the advice is well-intended even if off-mark.

There are lots of skills you’ll need to acquire to be successful in organizational life. Private, public or NGO most organizations have similar behavioral patterns. There’s a lot to do. Yet what are all these skills for? What’s the purpose of collecting all this knowledge and new ability? To network more?

No. The purpose of any job is to get things done.

One of my first jobs was as a busboy. Picking up dirty plates, cleaning tables, vacuuming the floor, cleaning the bathrooms. There were about four things I had to do. And yes, I greeted customers, helped waitresses carry food, unloaded trucks and all the rest. But my job was pretty simple: clean, clean, clean. All the rest was extra.

Between rudimentary (but necessary) work like this and graduating from university, somehow the clarity around work often diminishes. I mean, really: what do you do? Thankfully, some 40 years after bussing tables, I’ve worked my way back into the same level of clarity as I now only do two things: help employees and protect companies. All else is like unloading trucks. Nice to do but not essential. 

Too often today we have poor leaders and bad managers putting excess language around fuzzy ideas. Beware the person who cannot be both articulate and succinct. What did Einstein say? If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough? 

True dat.

So what’s your job? What is your role? Has your manager shared it clearly? Your job is to get things done. What does that take? Determination. 

The pundits are confusing  acolytes with excess and nice to haves. Of course it’s important to develop skills and attributes as you build knowledge, but the purpose of this accumulation is to achieve things, to realize results. From Abraham Lincoln to Elon Musk, the first order of talent selection was looking for those who could get things done. Results and achievement still speak far louder than any social media profile.

So as you enter the workforce Grasshopper or look for advancement yeoman, remember the sine qua non of organizational life success: get things done. Success isn’t money or title or a company car – those are merely outcomes and ephemeral in nature. Success is being wanted, being counted on, being someone who can make a difference. Because you get things done.

What does it take to make things happen? Determination.

And there’s no web site you need to visit to develop that.

It’s in you.

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2 thoughts on “Determination

  1. At age 12 I decided to be “the best dentist in the world.” Ambitious girl- especially given my roots. None of my family from Chicago’s South Side had ever graduated high school. Rough road, especially with everyone saying, “Give it up.You work all the time and never have fun. Why are you killing yourself?” The rewards of fierce determination? I guess some of my patients think I am the best dentist in their world and I love what I do for people. Deeply gratifying.

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