Much has been written about how your friends influence you and how you become the people with whom you choose to associate. It’s easy to find great quotes about this and I believe them wholeheartedly. I also believe they apply to your work colleagues, especially when they’re also your friends. Choosing to surround yourself with people who can teach you more than you can teach them simply makes you better at whatever you do.
I consistently find myself in meetings and presentations, whether they’re with clients or internal, where my colleagues are speaking and I’m thinking, “Man, this is so impressive.” I don’t mean they just had a great one-liner or a pretty slide. I mean the quality and depth of thinking, the detailed analysis, findings and recommendations, the command they have of the room, and yes, sometimes the pretty slides — it’s all truly impressive.
There are tremendous advantages to this:
It makes us excited to come to work.
We’re constantly looking for new ideas and ways to solve problems and we want to see what our coworkers come up with. It might be a completely new approach to a project or a new way to organize and present the data, but they continue to push for the best way to do it. We’ve been doing this kind of work for a long time and it’s fun to still see something new so often.
It makes us trust everyone we work with.
We know they’ll do great work every time. We can collaborate on the big picture and then know everyone is focused on the details until they come together into a clear, cohesive deliverable. This level of trust allows us to be incredibly honest each other. When we review each other’s work and get it back marked up with lots of edits, we know it’s about high-quality service delivery, not about putting each other down.
It makes us want to continuously improve.
With all this great work going on, everyone is raising the bar and we want to keep up. We see one of our coworkers create a great findings and recommendations report or final presentation and immediately start asking how we can do it even better next time.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common to hear stories from people about their experience with the opposite reactions:
I’m not excited to come to work.
“Nothing new ever happens.”
“I’ll just put my time in, nothing more.”
I don’t trust my coworkers.
“If I want something done right, or done at all, I have to do it myself.”
“I don’t want to share my work with anyone else because they’ll say they did it or they’ll just tell me it’s all wrong.”
I have no incentive to improve.
“When I first started I had all these fantastic ideas about how we can do things better, but my boss dismissed them all so fast and so often I just stopped even thinking about it.”
“We do it this way because we’ve always done it this way.”
It’s easy to see which scenario provides a better overall experience for employees and clients. I can’t wait to be impressed again tomorrow.