I was meeting with one of my good friends (and really respected colleagues) today and we were talking about a mistake made by a team member. A gut-wrenching, totally preventable, how-could-you-do-this-to-me-unless-you-really-do-want-to-sink-my-practice type of mistake. We talked about it, although there was nothing to be done. My colleague had already gone above and beyond and told the client the ultimate – I will fix it myself.
Our call was about another matter, but this filtered in because it permeated the entire day for her and in truth, there was nothing to discuss because she did exactly what she should have done in this situation. She saw the live grenade, dove on it, and saved the client (and the situation) for the firm and the team and herself. Because in truth, that’s what we do for our firms. There are times (and there will be times) when they require the ultimate sacrifice.
But what it meant in reality was working late tonight, after already 14 hours in, to fix someone else’s problem.
It got me reflecting because this is the fourth call I am having JUST LIKE THIS – JUST THIS WEEK WITH A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FIRM. A call where we spend the majority of an hour talking about how an employee has let you down in some capacity again, is not living up to his or her true potential or is outright just not getting the job done. To quote a gal pal of mine here in the deep south, “Well, honey, there isn’t anything to be done because she’s committed to permanently hiding her true potential.”
And it galls me.
You deserve better. Your business deserves better. We all deserve better. So I thought I would share with you my three key attributes I think define success when it comes to what I want from a team member.
Key Attribute 1 – Be Obsessive
I want you to vomit at work. I want you to be so invested in your delivery, in your job, in your work product, in what drives you that you become obsessive. I want you to be so involved that you puke when things go sideways or when you make a simple mistake. I’ll supply the bathroom; you supply the drive. But I want you to own your work at this level and I want you to care.
Key Attribute 2 – Find Yourself
I want you to desire your professional self. I am all about your development. I don’t care if I hire you as an associate, ask you what you want to do (thinking it’s to practice law or work at practice42) and we learn together you are God’s gift to marketing or a skydiver or a motivational speaker or a domestic facilitator. Life’s too short. Figure it out and be yourself – there’s nothing better.
Key Attribute 3 – Be Authentic
Tell me what you want. But more than that – tell yourself.
If you want to be the best juggler in the traveling circus – by all means – go for it! But tell me. Tell me if it’s your goal to join circus school in 6 months, start a part-time internship in 1 year and get on the road in 24 months. At least then we can plan. You might be surprised to find I not only support you, but I’ll help you get there.
I get you’re supporting my dream right now, and I want you to find yours.
But for those of you who are here and feel that supporting my dream could become yours, or at least a shared vision, don’t hold back. And don’t go halve-sees. Like most of my clients and friends, we’ve seen the amazing things that happen when you believe in someone else and something bigger than ourselves and we want you to have that experience.
So when I say I want you to puke at work, it’s because I want you to believe in something so strongly that you want it to succeed with every fiber of your being.
So when something goes sideways you feel it. Because it hurts.
Because you want to see the success of what can be. And you know it’s there. And if my firm or my company isn’t for you, I want you to tell me what you want. I want to know I should support you on your journey. And for you to have the courage to tell me at the end of the day to find someone else.
To quote my favorite decal on the wall at the yoga studio – Will it be easy? Nope.
Worth it? Absolutely.
Remember, at the end of the day, you hold the keys to your own success.