The Key to Helping Employees Become World Class

Paula Poundstone once said that the reason adults are always asking children what they want to be when they grow up is not because they’re interested; it’s because they’re looking for ideas.

With all deference to Paula Poundstone, I think that the question ,“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is more properly posed to adults. And it’s a question I pose to every current and prospective employee.

I’ll grant you that whenever I pose the question to someone for the first time, they look at me like I’ve grown a third eye. But it’s an important question, and one that deserves the attention and perseverance necessary to generate a real discussion.

Full-time employees spend one third to one half of their waking hours at work. A good company can help make those employees good at what they do. A great company can work to find the areas in which good employees can become world class.

Make no mistake about it: becoming world class takes effort. It takes talent. Most of all, it takes joy and passion.

If you’re serious about making your company great, have some real conversations with the people in your company who matter – meaning all of them – to find out about the things at your company that make them want to get out of bed in the morning.

Perhaps, in addition to planning for x% of growth or a reduction in turnover by y%, you can work to create a company culture of “fierce” conversations.

If you can help your employees find their joy as part of your workforce, you’ll have begun the process (yours and theirs) of becoming truly world class.


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