Friday, January 27, 2012

Stop being good enough

As a Naval Officer, you'll constantly hear the phrase "sustained superior performance." It has become a common phrase for detailers describing what your FITREPs should say. However, it doesn't really help guide anyone when they ask "What should I be doing?"

I've been asked by more than a few people of how to be better at their job. My latest catch phrase has been "Stop being good enough." Let me explain:

-An officer that is "good enough" does enough work to make sure his sailor's EVALs are turned in on time. Maybe they aren't 100% accurate, but hey, the department head is leaving him alone now, and after all, the job got done.

-An officer that is "good enough" sees the problems with her workspace. She may complain over coffee about it to another sympathetic junior officer, but she certainly doesn't try to fix it. Heck, she doesn't know where to start, and it probably can't be done anyway.

-An officer that is "good enough" makes sure he learns the basics of his job. He files his reports on time. When it comes to being the best though, he thinks "This job is temporary, and I PCS in 6 months. Who cares?".

The "good enough" officer doesn't do anything wrong, but she doesn't do anything especially right. She'll get a standard end of tour medal, and no one will remember her name in 6 months. All people will ever say is "she showed up and did what she was told."

I can't stand those people.

Is that how you want to be remembered? Does that really justify your paycheck?

How about coming to work and trying to make your workspace better? How about trying to help one sailor a day succeed where that sailor might have otherwise failed? How about finding a way to be the best at your job, even if you'll be leaving soon? How about leaving a legacy of excellence behind so the people that follow you can build off of your success?

Be passionate and care. You'll get a lot more out of the day.

And, in case you think this applies to just the military: