Here's another piece of the Big Picture ...
“I figure, if a girl wants to be a legend, she should go ahead and be one.” –Calamity Jane
The Labors of Hercules (he/she/his/him/her/they/them/their)
Hercules is known as the greatest hero of Greek mythology. A champion in every way, and still invoked the wrath of Hera, wife of Zeus. She cast a spell of madness, under which Hercules committed a terrible crime. Realizing what happened, atonement was required. The sentence was for Hercules to perform a series of twelve tasks or “Labors” that were successfully completed over many years. As the end of life approached, Hercules was greatly honored and seen as an ideal of Ancient Greek virtues and values.
As we all know, heroes regularly embark on difficult journeys, confront danger, often discover lost treasure and change the world with their courageous acts. They become the stuff of legends, endowed with great strength and ability. They also have to endure much hardship and peril. Eventually they emerge as someone who, by ability and valor, changes the world.
What we may not know is that we, too, all have our own set of tasks to address with competence and skill. Some are strategic and some are tactical; all of them can take us forward on our path towards strengthening ourselves and others. Though perhaps not quite Olympian in nature, consider the following 12 Labors:
1. Identify one strategic change in your area of expertise that will show a positive return to your organization, team, or community. Establish priorities and criteria for evaluating future opportunities. Take a risk and then seek to engage participation at the broadest and highest level you can.
2. Manage relationships and people connections. Take the time to participate in and model cohesion and collaboration among the ranks. Supporting positive working relationships and understanding human interaction will improve performance and kinship overall.
3. Broaden your perspective. Take the time to make sure you live and work in the real world. Regularly spend time with others in your sphere of influence, outside your immediate group, and on the “front line.” Seek out valuable insights from those “in the trenches” as well as others you do not regularly work or communicate with.
4. On the job, fix the top service issue. Stop ignoring or excusing problems; instead seek out root causes and create a realistic improvement plan. Delivering on the basics maintains everyone's credibility and goodwill.
5. Manage by the numbers. Proactively monitor what you are doing: productivity, service, retention trends, and added value. Include operational, financial, and the people metrics. Do NOT underestimate those soft skills.
6. Be the good gal/guy. Create a service organization that demonstrates respect and appreciation for all your internal and external customers in word and deed. Recognize the contributions of others and say, “Thank you.”
7. Take responsibility for your career goals and objectives and identify steps and activities that will help you develop and advance over time.
8. Do not allow yourself to be ruled by circumstances; accept setbacks and move forward.
9. Learning is a never-ending process; always be on the lookout for new knowledge.
10. The economic climate is and will always be in motion; be prepared to weather the storms and shifts.
11. Be proud of your accomplishments, seek out feedback, and take something positive from every experience.
12. Make an impact. In your own individual and unique way, approach your roles and responsibilities as opportunities to be a champion and change the world.
Whether or not you get to score a perfect dozen, remember that YOU are a critical contributor to everyone's success. Today's hero is not the one who is faster than a speeding bullet or leaps tall buildings in a single bound. It is the person who has demonstrated strength and the courage of her convictions..