Premise No. 5: Performance is the fundamental requirement. Good intentions mean nothing without great performance. Businesses must deliver results. Nonprofits must deliver on mission. People must deliver on responsibilities. There is no room for those who simply cannot perform.
In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell posits that it takes 10,000 hours of practice on any task, art, or venture enterprise to become extraordinary at it. When you do the math, this equates to five years when you have a normal day in view. I would also venture to believe that if you want to become extraordinary in the first place, you must start by exercising only your gift drawn from your deepest reservoirs of strength, not only practicing your so-so abilities or your weaknesses.
What makes a musician in the world famous New York Philharmonic differ from a local community chamber orchestra? When you compare and contrast the local chamber orchestral musician’s ability to that of my ability to play a brass instrument, you will witness an astoundingly different result, true. Further, when you compare the same local musician to his peer in the Philharmonic (it’s a stretch to call it that) you will see an even greater chasm between abilities, sound, tone and quality. The thing that sets a world class musician apart from a novice is not necessarily years of practice but innate ability at the onset. It requires the richest ability that is honed and refined through the years of sacrifice of rehearsing and practicing at the expense of other novel leisures of life, to yield something far beyond excellence. Gladwell also talks about having opportunity as a concomitant factor of achieving greatness; that the intersection of ability, practice and opportunity sets the stage for being extraordinary. In business, I would also posit that vision is important as well; to be able to recognize needs and have the acumen to meet challenges to defeat need and capitalize on market edge.
Collins believes that if you can’t be the best in the market, you shouldn’t compete. If you cannot be the best at your business you will deliver less than the best results, and consumers do not reward marginally successful people; only the most successful people and businesses survive; it’s the same with not-for-profits. I believe to become extraordinary you must be first, clearly understand that “thing” that you potentially can become extraordinary at doing. Most all other things must fall away…supporting tasks can be achieved by adding other-extraordinary talent.
Do you have a plan to become extraordinary? Do you know how God wired you? Are you trying to be extraordinary by practicing skills at which you have marginal ability? In enterprise it is better to recognize that it is far easier to hire experts at tasks to assist in areas where we are not strong, than it is to compete by trying to get better at the required skills to produce those tasks. Do you need help mapping out a plan to shine today? Do you have a roadmap to extraordinary results?