It seems many folks today, especially younger workers, want to get credit for the work they do. That’s not all bad. Maybe they are trying to get promoted earlier than others. Maybe they are trying to get ahead. But it can get in the way of one’s professional and personal development.

Were they always rewarded for a job or task when growing up? Congratulated for everything in school? Told they were the greatest kid ever? Feeling insecure or lacking confidence?

In my experience as an executive, a great job was expected and was appropriately rewarded. I understood that and my direct reports understood that. They knew that I would be their advocate for a job well done and that I would defend and protect them.

In my operation, I always had about 70-85% average performers, about 25-10% above average folks and about 5% were excellent performers.

The excellent performers were folks that ultimately wanted and deserved my job. However, I recognized that those who were qualified for it would ultimately seek a position elsewhere, which actually was the best thing for them and when possible I would help them with that.

I always focused on performance. Specifically, my personal performance. In the end, it’s the only thing I can control, and personal performance is still my focus. I create benchmarks for myself and continually look to those benchmarks to keep me properly focused.

This way, competition generally takes care of itself. If I progress or improve while others do not, I will pass them or catch them if they are ahead. Do this enough and – whammo! I’m ahead.

I created similar benchmarks for my direct reports. It worked for them and for me and the organization. We all grow. Since I was continually learning and growing, I didn’t remain in place for long and that created an opening for someone – often an excellent performer from the team. I always looked at what was best for my direct reports. Because of that they would follow me virtually anywhere.

This type of growth-oriented process seems to be missing from many organizations today. Younger up and comers seem to be motivated by getting credit, promotions and money; that’s not necessarily a problem. But focusing on getting credit is BS. Performance is the only thing that matters.

Sad as it is, this lack of focus does seem to explain why many younger workers and organizations lack performance.

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Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis
Foundation for Health and Policy

PO Box 130
Highland, Maryland 20777

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