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The Very Best Job Perk of All- Do You Have It?

Sir-Alex-2I was reading a book written by Facebook for its staff when I saw something that genuinely excited and inspired me. It endorses everything I believe about leading high performance teams. It’s a habit Facebook embraces: it underpins excellence. It’s an approach that will make your team a winner. Here it is.

Facebook and the great Manchester United coach Sir Alex Ferguson have one thing very much in common.

Sir Alex would focus less on training technical skills, and more about inspiring players to strive to do better, and to never give up. He recruited what he calls ‘bad losers’, and demanded that they work extremely hard. Over the years, this attitude became contagious- players didn’t accept teammates not giving it their all. The biggest stars were no exception. Facebook’s mantra is similar, and hugely inspiring. Here it is:

High standards are a job perk.

Think about it. We all want to be working alongside winners- the best. We want to learn and grow, and to be inspired to push ourselves as far as our abilities can take us. To do that, we need to ensure our teams, businesses, partnerships, relationships- are underpinned by a core value of excellence- of accepting nothing but the highest standard of service, attitude, integrity, transparency, intent. “Everything we did was about maintaining the standards we had set as a football club,” Sir Alex elaborated.

Groucho Marx once famously said: “I would never be a member of a club who would have me as a member.” Haha. But actually, pretty insightful. If we know our standards are low, how the hell can we ever be proud of the company or team that will have us as a member?

How are you doing? How are your teams doing? What standards do you set? And are they high enough? And do you deliver them, consistently?

Seriously, get your teams together and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What are the standards we demand we all set, consistently?
  2. How are we doing right now in delivering to that level?
  3. What can we do in the first quarter of next year to step up to a higher level of delivery?

Ask yourself the same questions: make them about Brand You! How are YOU doing in the standards you set for yourself, and how is your track record in delivering on them- consistently?

Australian army chief David Campbell summed up his approach to setting standards this way: “The standards you set are those you walk past.” If you see a lowering of acceptable standards, in client service, courtesy, product quality, in whatever shapes your offer, then by doing nothing about it, you set a new standard, a lower standard.

Take this opportunity to NOT walk past the standards you and your team are setting. Pause a moment. Reflect. Face reality. Make a plan. Lift performance. There is NOTHING more motivating or rewarding than being a legitimate member of a high standards, winning team. I know. I’m lucky enough to be part of one.

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9 Responses to The Very Best Job Perk of All- Do You Have It?

  1. Dee December 11, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Do high standard winning teams find their own members or do you have to actively search and find them if you want to join?

    • Chris Savage December 11, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Thanks Dee- a bit of both I guess!

  2. Gary December 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Having a A-grade team also means being able to confront B-grade performance (read B-grade not unsatifactory) and doing this with a no holds barred approach, something alot of people struggle with for fear of hurting feelings. (myself included).

    • Chris Savage December 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

      Gary- I agree. Not easy to do. But if you do it, people rise.

  3. Paul Spon-Smith December 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    Great message Chris, I will use AF’s words at my AGM’s this Christmas.
    As someone told me many years ago “if you want to be a winner don’t work with defeatists”

    • Chris Savage December 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks Paul!

  4. Peter Cornelius December 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    I like it Chris, the other team sporting mantra that fits in with this context is the Swans and their ‘no dickheads policy.’ Hard to function and have high expectations and standards if a team member doesn’t toe the line….

    • Chris Savage December 11, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      Thanks Peter!

  5. David December 12, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Great stuff Chris, this is the basis from which we all must operate, if we are going to continuously improve our businesses and become world competitive and hopefully leaders.

    By reinforcing this message to our team members on an ongoing basis the one’s which don’t want to play this game should self-select out. As leaders we need to remain a vigilant guardian of those high standards and not wimp out when it is not convienient, as we often do from time to time

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