5 ways you can be more successful at work

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There’s a lot of discussion about what makes a person successful. Some say it’s the people you know or your network. Others say it’s all about how you organize your day and your priorities. Others say it’s innate personality characteristics.

All of the things listed above are extremely important. And, we wanted to know what really creates true greatness in people—where their work is so good that they win awards for it. We conducted a research project—drawing from data pool of more than 1 million cases of work around the world, we analyzed a sample of 10,000 to find out what people were doing that made their work great.

What we found was, well, unexpected. It turns out innate personality traits have little to do with our potential for greatness. It’s not about who we are, or what we were born to become. Being destined for greatness is actually much more interesting than that—because our research clearly showed, it’s not about who you are, but instead what you do that makes you great.

Our research shows that if you do these five things, you’re most likely to achieve greatness.


You don’t settle for average.

You’re the type that is consistently hunting for new ways to solve a problem or self-improve. You don’t sit still. You’re passionately adding or subtracting something from products, processes, or procedure to make them better. You tweak. You tinker. And, you’re completely adamant that you can improve something. In fact, the research shows that work is considered three times more important if something has been changed—something is added, or something is removed.

You ask game-changing questions.

If you’re the curious type who’s always challenging the status-quo by asking questions like, “Why don’t we…? What if we looked at this differently? What if…?” then you’re probably destined for greatness. It’s no coincidence that challenging, questions are the building blocks of great work. In fact, 88% of people who win awards for their work start projects by asking a very simple, yet altering question, “What difference could I make that others would love?” You can read the research here.

You’re willing to see it through until the end.

Call it gumption or stubbornness or grit. People destined for greatness know exactly when to quit—only when they’ve found success. You have the patience to see something through to the end. You remain focused and dedicated to achieve a result. And, even through the tough times, you 100% believe a breakthrough is around the corner. In fact, 90% of work that wins awards involves employees who remain involved with a project from implementation to completion.

You must see your work being received.

Forget humility or hiding in the background. People bound for greatness want to see how the recipients of their work  respond to it—whether it be a boss, a coworker, or a customer. And, they aren’t chasing a boost to their ego. Instead, they’re looking for clues on how they can continuously improve. If they produce products, they want to see how a person uses it and responds to it. If they’re creating processes, they want to see if it improves or complicates the recipient’s life or work. In fact, our research shows that employees who go see how their work is being received are seventeen times more likely to be passionate about their work.

You ask for help and input…from obscure sources.

It may sound odd, but this aspect of our research blew our minds. People who win awards for their work do something that is hard for many of us to imagine—they seek input, ideas, and help from people who have no connection to their work. Strange, right? But, consider this. Award-winning workers want to find different, and even opposing, perspectives about their ideas. In fact, we found that 72% of award-winning workers talk to, and ask opinions of, people who aren’t in their inner circle.

Do any of the above feel familiar? If so, you’re on the right path and destined for greatness at work even though you didn’t realize it. However, if none of these feel familiar, we challenge you to try a few. See what happens. And, when you get results (because you will) please share it with us.

 

This post was originally published on Forbes.

By david sturt and todd nordstrom
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