Sadly, most of you won’t be missed.
There’s only one question you need to motivate yourself toward more performance improvement at work. It’s not about how many widgets you produced, how many deals you closed, or how much you improved your “net promoter score” over the past twelve months.
The only evaluation that really matters is: When you leave, will we miss you?
I’m not talking about friendship here. If you read this newsletter, you’re a good human being and probably pretty easy to be friends with. Of course we’ll miss your friendship, your sense of humor, and your goofy smile.
But will we miss your work? Will we even know you’re gone?
Are you sure?
Let’s take a journey down memory lane. Think about the people that used to work for your company, but have since moved on. How many of those left a painful void when they departed? As in, “Wow, this place doesn’t work the same since Jenny left,” or “Michael was so good at his job we’re having a hard time finding someone to replace him.“
If you’re like me, you can count those kind of people on one hand…from your entire career. Now, just to depress you – or motivate you, depending on how you look at it – how many people have you worked with? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? How many of those actively worked on their strengths, minimized weaknesses, took performance improvement seriously, made excellence a priority, and became nearly indispensable?
Oh, my. The percentage of people you miss is pretty darn low, huh?
You sure you’re going to be missed?
How To Make Sure You’re Missed
(i.e., A Simple Performance Improvement Strategy)
- Be excellent at what you do. And by excellent, I mean like the most excellent in the whole wide world. Make performance improvement a priority. Somebody has to be the best admin, designer, project manager, salesperson, police officer, doctor, receptionist, software engineer, or dishwasher. If you’re the best, you’ll be missed.
- Help others to be excellent at what they do. How can you help a colleague (including your boss) become even more of a high-performer? Provide ideas? Extra hands? Encouragement? Partnership? Look for things they struggle with or don’t have time to work on. Offer your help. Do this frequently and you’ll be missed.
- Become the poster child for your company’s core values. Learn your company’s core values. Identify ways you can live, breathe, and demonstrate those core values every day (assuming they don’t clash with your own). If you’re going to invest your time and energy on performance improvement, make sure it matches what the company wants and needs. If making customers happy is a core value, learn as much as you can about delivering awesome customer service. If community service is a core value, get involved in a service project. When people inside and outside of your company view you as a phenomenal representative of your company, you will be missed.
- Contribute to your company’s culture. Send thank-you notes to coworkers, invite new employees to lunch, mentor somebody below you, ask someone above you to mentor you, join the company picnic planning committee. There are three kinds of people in every kind of company: those who destroy culture through negativity, those who are so neutral you don’t even know they exist, and those who actively engage in making your company a better place to work. Be that last one and you’ll be missed.
One more thing. This article is written for people who truly desire to contribute to their company’s success, to commit to performance improvement, to be excellent in their profession, and to enjoy the 100,000+ hours they’ll spend doing it. Oh, and who want to be missed when they’re gone.
If you read this and think to yourself, “I don’t really care if I’m missed by the people I work with,” don’t worry, you’ll get your wish. In fact, it has probably already come true.