Having just had my annual Performance Evaluation, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my performance during the previous year. It wasn’t bad, mind you, but I have to raise the question, “Was it really, truly good?” Having been in management previously, I have noticed some idiosyncrasies, or common habits, known to most employees. First, most people do not think about their work performance until it is evaluation time, even though the evaluation period is usually based on the entire previous year’s performance. Secondly, the goal for the majority of employees is to attain that middle-of-the-road rating of “Fully Competent” or “Meets Expectations.” But is this really good? Sure, it affords you the opportunity of keeping your job. Sure, it gets you the standard salary increase. But virtually any would-be employee could do that! So when is good not good enough?
This reminds me of a stand up routine by comedian Chris Rock. I’ll leave the obscenities out–this is a family-friendly blog. He describes a father bragging about being a “good Daddy” because he doesn’t do drugs, he’s never been in prison, he’s never been a thief, etc. A “Daddy” (or anyone, for that matter) is not supposed to do this stuff; it doesn’t make him “good”, it just makes him “not bad.” And so it goes with being an employee (or member of any social organization). Meeting expectations does not necessarily entitle you to being “good” at what you do; it simply means you are not performing poorly.
The truth of the matter is that being an employee (or member) is to merely exist in this place we call work (or church, or insert social group of choice); whereas being a team player is to matter, to make a difference, in the overall success of the team. There is an old adage that says “leave the forest better than you found it.” What are you doing to fertilize this forest known as your workplace (home, small group, etc.)? What is something that you could do to clean out the weeds and briars? What are you doing to set yourself above the rest? What skill or ability can you perform with finesse? How can you use it to make an impact on your team? What contribution can you bring to the team that will help set it apart?