As the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games slowly drifts away into history, it got me thinking about what it takes to put in a Gold Medal performance at work and how to replicate high performance again and again.
There’s got to be more to work than just getting paid
For many in the workforce, they just want to turn up, get paid and enjoy the “life” part of the work/life equation. But for me, and others like me, who believe you can’t separate work from life, there is a reason to put in enormous effort at work each day. I want to do the best job I can and earn my own ‘gold medals’ to keep me focused and motivated. This is what gets me out of bed every morning and drives my enthusiasm for the day ahead. I spend a great deal of my life at work, so I want to succeed and win.
Often what defines a gold medal performance at work is set by the boss, however, I also set my own performance drumbeat with goals every week, so I can regularly see if I’m achieving what I need to be a top performer. Each week my efforts and results contribute to my quarterly performance goals. At the end of the quarter (our performance assessment cycle) I can see if I’m a gold medallist or merely a participant who didn’t achieve what I’d set myself 13 weeks earlier. And because I’m setting and reviewing milestones every week, there aren’t any nasty surprises at performance review time.
Defining your gold medals
I watched and read about many of the athletes who competed at the Commonwealth Games and it was clear that everyone had their own definition of what was a ‘win’ for them. For some it was to make a semi-final, for others it was to achieve a personal best and for some it was literally winning a gold medal. But everyone had a clear goal in mind that constituted a ‘win’.
We all love to win. Elite athletes as with top musicians, top business people, leading researchers, Michelin chefs and so-on, go the extra mile. They master their craft and push themselves to limits where others are not prepared to go.
However like most things, there can be a dark side to a winning mindset. That is when a “win at all cost” mentality drives poor decisions resulting in terrible behaviours like we’ve recently seen with the Australian Test Cricket Team cheating scandal.
But a winning mindset also drives high performance and clarity of focus. It brings purpose to our endeavours and provides motivation to overcome the obstacles we encounter whilst in pursuit of our goals. Generally, the positives from this mindset far outweigh the negatives.
Winning in Recruitment
So how do people win at work?
I work in the recruitment industry, one of the most competitive industries in the workplace and one with no barriers to entry. Just as nearly anyone can compete in a 100 sprint race, nearly anyone can be a Recruitment Consultant. But not many of us who ran the 100 metres race at school lined up at the starting line at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. And likewise not all Recruiters perform at an elite level. So what separates the top performers in recruitment from others? I have been fortunate to work with and network with some amazing Recruiters and several of whom are in the elite billing category with reputations for service excellence.
The traits I see that are shared among these people include a high level of competitiveness and determination to succeed. When you set them high goals they exceed them every time and they set themselves even higher goals. They make more phone calls, interview more candidates, meet with more clients and have more business conversations than the rest. They read the press, they research their clients and their markets and they prepare for every meeting… because every meeting has a goal. They understand that word of mouth is a powerful tool and if they service their candidates and clients exceptionally well in a personalised way, they will get referrals (the Holy Grail of recruitment removing any need for the dreaded cold calling). They are smart, commercially savvy and they don’t give up easily if at all. And when things get tough they stick their head down and get on with the job. They never look for excuses and they don’t lay blame. They understand that things will turn in their favour if they do the fundamentals of the job day in day out and are disciplined.
Recruitment does not have a Commonwealth Games or Olympic Games every four years. We compete every day and the best thing about that is that we can have a win every day. And the top performers do! They win a client, they win a job order, they win a candidate referral, they win a fee negotiation, they place a candidate in their dream job and they generate fees.
Winning comes in many forms in recruitment as it does in all jobs.
What’s your gold medal at work?
If you can’t yet answer this question, check out the Employee Life Performance Drumbeat short video for help.
Ben Walsh – General Manager Recruitment