Jerry wasn’t your average engineer.
While his college classmates fascinated on academics, Jerry raced down the sidelines snagging sizzling passes for the Baylor Bears. Soon he scored a much sought after intern offer from NASA and bought an acoustic guitar to serenade the boot scooters. What could have been more thrilling than to see an inspired young man from Shreveport, LA reaching for the stars and achieving success?
But, ultimately talent is finite, youth is fleeting and good looks are quite common.
As he rose through the corporate ranks, the traits that made Jerry his company’s most valuable player year after year had little to do with his athletic prowess or his love for a catchy tune. Jerry’s secret formula was his priceless perspective. His worldview.
Jerry thought like a business leader. Every day. In every situation. And when the opportunity presented itself, Jerry overcame all the challenges of an economically distressed childhood to buy majority ownership in his company. Jerry thought like an owner and became one.
Could you do the same? Could you propel yourself into another universe by changing the way you approach your job. We believe you can. We hope you will. But, hope is not a strategy.
As it turns out, there is no average engineer. There are only engineers who think like employees and engineers who think “like a boss.” The daily choices you make are indicative of the path you’re on. So test yourself while there’s time to adjust and ramp up your game.
Here are twelve questions you can quietly ask yourself to predict your outcome.
True or False:
_____ I do what is right for my customer, company, and team regardless of personal sacrifice.
_____ I press forward with good ideas, even if they are unpopular.
_____ I aim for goals higher than any manager will set for me.
_____ I do not give in to group pressures simply to avoid confrontation.
_____ I consistently give truthful feedback to customers, superiors, and teammates.
_____ I adhere firmly to a code of business ethics and moral values.
_____ Change always brings opportunity. Stagnation limits opportunity.
_____ I practice a disciplined approach to self-improvement.
_____ I have a method for prioritizing my opportunities today.
_____ I successfully make others enthusiastic about opportunities that require extra effort.
_____ I transmit a sense of purpose about all that I do.
_____ I am accountable for my actions and accept responsibility for my mistakes.
If you answered true to nine or more of these statements, you are on the right road to wind up steering your own endeavor. If you answered false to three or more of these statements, you’ll likely always report to someone else. It’s all a matter of your objectives.
Jerry knew from early in life that he wanted to reach his full potential, whatever that might be. I have no doubt that if you asked him today, he’d tell you that he’s still in the relentless pursuit of excellence. In other words, he isn’t done! He’s still streaking for the goal line.
Baylor University recently built a stunning new stadium in Waco, TX with world-class amenities. On any given Saturday night, you’ll find Jerry up in the stands. His heart is always in the game. And if you wander up to Jerry, ask him if you should aspire to own your own company. He will likely chuckle, wish you much success and suggest that you will have to make that decision for yourself. But regardless of your goals, Jerry will say, “be the best YOU that you can be.”
Keith Martino is head of CMI, a global consultancy founded in 1999 that customizes leadership and sales development initiatives. Martino is the author of Expect Leadership, a series of leadership books – The Executive Edition, in Business, in Engineering, and in Technology. He has also published three sales handbooks, Get Results, Results Now, and “Selling to Americans“. After more than 20 years and numerous awards at FedEx, Xerox and Baxter Healthcare, Martino and his team provide world-class counsel and proven web-based tools that produce consistent results.