Be world class at the things that don’t require talent

I was sent this image a few weeks ago after the Barbarians rugby game against England and I immediately knew it was a picture worthy of a blog. This picture was taken during a team meeting the day before the game and one aspect really stood out for me.

I would draw your attention to the line at the bottom which is what caught my eye at the time:

“Be World Class at the things that don’t require Talent”.

I love absolutely everything about this sentiment.

You could say the above to a child playing a GAA match, a student preparing for the leaving cert or a newly qualified professional taking their first steps in the world of business.

Some of the most accomplished professionals I’ve met don’t stand out because they are amazing communicators, extremely intelligent or gifted creatively. In my experience, it’s often an absolute mastery of the basics that make people stand out in life.

What I especially liked about this sentiment in the context of the above image is that the gallery who this was directed at are all professional sports people at the top level of the game. Many of these players very much fit the definition of world class and I think this emphasises the sentiment particularly well.

It got me to thinking about how to apply this lesson to a professional environment? The concept of being ‘world class’ at any job doesn’t really make any sense – but asking, how can I be as good at my job as I’m personally capable is a more digestible challenge.

As a result, I’ve set myself a goal. What part of my job can I improve this coming week. Monday the 18th of June what can I point to and say ‘right, this is good – how can it be perfect’?

And I think there is a lesson in this. How often do we stop what we’re doing and ask ourselves – is there a better way to do this? What one task can I pick this week or this month and bring it up a level. How often do I need to do this before I become ‘World Class’ at my job?

I’m reminded of a Bill Gates quote:

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job, because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it”.

And here even in apathy we find a performance driver!

So, what are you going to improve next week?



Written by Robert Connolly, Director Legal & Compliance

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