It’s really easy when we get comfortable in our jobs to start to do the same things. That one bold thing that seemed radical when you first did it, eventually turns into routine. It makes sense. You feel the need to prove yourself when you first begin and want to endear yourself to coworkers. Many of us want to be seen as smart, knowledgeable and the folks you seek out when you want things done. At some point, this turns into the Silo King mentality. Where you are the gatekeeper of information, processes or the ways to business within the institution. While there might be a certain kind of rush associated with people saying, “Go see Mikey,” when it’s a task this doesn’t provide the mechanics for the institution to operate at its best.
My mindset is to provide people with the tools to do the best work they can. Even if it’s not something that’s in my area, if I know how to do it, I’ll do it for them if it easier and then tell them how so the next time they know. One of the things that I even myself susceptible to at times is the need to resist the urge to “know what you know.” Continuing education is easier these days, but reading books and arming yourself with knowledge doesn’t always come with the sort of benefits that you’d think. Institutions move slower than people, even though they’re comprised of people. You don’t always have the tools you need to jolt things into place and just because you feel like you’re right doesn’t mean you always are.
I think the best way to resist being average is to understand what your role is and to demonstrate it at a high level every day. Not just the camera is on and when people are watching, but when you’re alone. When you can take shortcuts and ‘no one will notice’ but you will. It’s that kind of commitment that ensures your own personal integrity, while demonstrating the values you want to promulgate; especially in a situation where you don’t feel adaption is happening. There are big picture issues that affect all of our roles and the key to staying on top of things is mastering your own domain rather than being frustrated with what we can’t change.
Even if that’s difficult sometimes.