Thinking about yourself or the greater good?


The UK has just had a potentially life changing referendum about exiting the European Union. Voting decisions were about single issues or multiple factors. If you voted did you think about yourself, your family, the UK, Europe, the world or the greater good?

The choices are similar when it comes to performance in organisations. Do you think about yourself, your team, your department or your organisation?

Organisations encourage individual thinking and often create silos

Most people in organisations pay lip service to team (and company) goals and performance, compared to their personal ones. The balance is skewed (and screwed!). How often do you focus on team performance? How often, as a team member, do you take an active interest in how other teams are doing (apart from how their poor performance is affecting you).

Thinking about others performance and interests is necessary for the greater good. It builds connectedness and collective confidence.

Lift your head up

The organisation goals are your goals
This message is simple. If you work for an organisation, be interested in every part of it working well and never just your part. Never be blaming others or passing the problem on to someone else just to get it off your desk or out of your area. Work with a mindset that you own the business, whether you’re paid to or not. This isn’t about working longer hours it’s choosing to be bothered about the organisation that employs you.

There’s always an opt out clause!
You can hand your notice in any time. There are always choices. Don’t be trapped working in an organisation where you’re not motivated to be there, because you’ll not be fulfilled, and your performance will suffer. Remind yourself of all the reasons you took your job over any other. Make ‘opting in’ an ongoing decision and not one that you made a long time ago and can’t remember why!

If you’re in, you’re in
Lyndon Johnson once said “a genuinely free society cannot be a spectator society. Freedom, in its deepest sense, requires participation – full, zestful, knowledgeable participation”. The same is true if you want to work in a high performing business. It’s not enough to be just thinking about yourself. That’s a great place to start and to focus but you can also be a leader of performance, irrespective of your job title.

A wide and specific focus
Be aware of objectives at all levels. Seek to understand the relevance of your role and how it impacts everything else, and be aware of everything else, because it impacts you. Understand why your role, your team and your department are important and how they contribute with others to achieve success. Take an interest in your company, from your colleague next to you to the share price. Put your team first with personal performance second.

Perform to the best of your ability of course, but make sure that performance is driven by the greater good.