searching for people who are here to win.

Last week, I noticed two half assed mistakes on one of our websites.

I got annoyed, because when I pointed out these two mistakes to the team, I was looked at like I was being unreasonable … “It’s only two small mistakes …”

But even one mistake on a website and marketing collateral that has easily 8 different people involved … is unacceptable mediocrity.

I wanted to scream: “How did no one working on this not see the mistakes!”

The next morning, I was in a meeting with Fabien, and one of his team interrupted the meeting to bring him a coffee … and Fabien explained to me with a big smile how whenever one of his team is late, they must buy coffee for him — he joked that he doesn’t have to buy coffee anymore … because someone on his team is late nearly every day.

I thought to myself … of course we have small mistakes on websites because mediocrity seems to be just accepted.

But it’s back to that same discussion on mediocre people who don’t care about winning vs the winners who think only about being the best at whatever they are doing … the same discussion I have blogged about many times, and that question I keep asking:

How can you ensure that there is no mediocrity on your team, especially considering the virus of mediocrity is running rampant around the world – and what do you do when you see it? Kill the virus immediately?

It is just obvious and completely expected and understood that of course… there will be small mistakes when even something as simple as being on time to work is overlooked and not followed.

I could write for hours about this discussion … but instead of focusing on negativity, I wish to share a good story about a winner.

6 months ago, we had an intern from a university in France come work for us for his summer break which worked out to be a 4 month period.

The intern, “Rafael Pinto” is a family friend of Sophie’s so he lived with us in Dubai during his 4 month internship.

To be honest, I did not want this kid living with me and my family, and I even offered to pay for an apartment for him to live somewhere else, but Sophie insisted he lived with us.

The drive from where I live in Dubai to my office is a very enjoyable 30-35 minutes and normally, Bob drives me so I read and/or listen to music… I’m not much of a small talker, so I just enjoy the drive, read and listen to the music …

I go to work early, and Rafael wanted to go with me, but I actively encouraged him to go later with Sophie because he didn’t need to go early, and I wanted to enjoy my morning without having to small talk — but he insisted on going with me.

The first week on the drive to work I would read or listen to music, and didn’t say a single word to the intern.

I wasn’t purposefully ignoring the 20 year old kid, but I didn’t have anything to say .. and I just wanted to enjoy my time reading my newspapers on my tablet and or just listen to music.

After a week or so, Sophie asked me one evening, “What do you speak about when you are in the car with Rafael?”

I told her how we don’t speak at all … to which she got angry!  But I wasn’t intentionally ignoring him, but I just didn’t have anything to say, and I like to read on the way to work — and I especially didn’t want to have to chit chat before work with a 20 year old kid.

Before he came to work at naseba, the intern knew that I am a morning person, and I like to wake early and train before work.

He knew about my ritual where I wake up at 3:15 am and enjoy my coffee, read the news, and then go for a run from 4 am.

One morning, on his 2nd week staying with us (around 4 am) I walked out of my kitchen and saw the intern was waiting for me by the door, and asked if he could run with me.

Although I enjoy training alone, I was impressed by the kid’s perseverance.

From that day onward “the kid” ran with me, and became my training partner until he went back to University.

We got into a tough training routine that purposefully built up to more and more difficult sessions as the weeks progressed, with long challenge runs every Friday.

The kid was tough .. and never once complained about any pain, and a couple of times I intentionally made the workout tougher than scheduled to see if he would do it until the end.

Because he insisted on going with me to work, Rafael was usually one of the first ones in the office working, and very often he was one of the last to leave.

He worked on the production team with JP on our biggest summit of the year … it must be said how everyone noticed that Rafael took great pride in his work.

He especially took pride in his websites, collateral and anything that had to do with the “face” of his summit – he ensured it was perfect. There was never any small spelling mistake or poorly chosen half assed photos – everything he worked on would end up nearly perfect.

He took great pride in his work …. And the results showed because the event he worked on became our top earning summit of the year.

Without him even realizing … he had a positive impact on the other people on his team.

We had never had a 20 year old intern so involved with production before, but because of the kid’s work ethic as well as his focus on perfection, JP began outsourcing more and more responsibilities to Rafael.

Very often on the drives home from the office, this young man would talk (excitedly) nonstop about his day, telling me about everything he achieved… I noticed he kept talking about how he wanted his work to be the best.

At the end of August, he went back to university, but he will be joining us full time from February.

Rafael Pinto is a winner.

I think most people at naseba are winners and do whatever they are doing to the best of their ability, and I think the “winner’s spirit” exists throughout the company, especially in our Chicago office.

… but  in Dubai we are challenged every day by the virus of mediocrity.

The older I get and the more mediocrity I have to deal with the more I think you cannot teach or lead someone to be a winner if they do not have a winner’s spirit.

It’s more important than ever to ensure there is no mediocrity on one’s team.

These blogs are not about me giving life lessons, and I am not pontificating about how great naseba is doing …

I am here to win — and winning for me is to be the best at whatever it is that we are doing.

But I need to find more winners like Rafael.

I also need to ensure the virus of mediocrity in my world at naseba does not exist.

My next blog will discuss a theme that I think is tied into the above discussion …too many people are addicted to doing nothing, and when you do nothing for too long, you become un-rehabitable.

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6 thoughts on “searching for people who are here to win.

  1. Hey Scott! i’m sure you doing well.I always read your blog even after leaving Naseba(twice already).
    This post is the best I have read from all the previous ones.
    My best regards to you sir!

  2. Great article Scott. It all comes down to comfort. Many people get comfortable in their job and role especially if they know they are doing the minimum of what is required. I’ve met many in my career and it gets frustrating working on the same level of such people because they just don’t want that above and beyond finale of their projects as you do so it just ads more to your plate to ensure the success you envision.

  3. Good article Scott,you cannot expect everyone to be like you though. That’s why the world has different people. I am not for mediocrity but probably people need more guidance rather than telling, more coaching may be needed.

  4. Hi Scott. Very interesting thoughts on mediocrity. I have been thinking about whether people are just born winners or whether they become winners? In my opinion, winning is not innate, instead it is an attitude developed from an “aha” moment in someone’s life that resulted in a major mind shift. This could be any moment when you realise the fulfilment and rewards (I have to mention that by rewards I don’t necessarily mean financial) that you get from doing something well. That warm fuzzy feeling. I’m sure everyone that is a winner has a memory of that moment of clarity and may even associate it or credit it to someone, whether it be a school teacher your parents, your boss, etc. In light of Fabien’s actions, it may have been better if, instead of penalising his employees for being late, he could find out what would encourage them to do better. Perhaps this is a way we can tackle mediocrity and attract/create winners: Ask the question what am I doing to enable those “aha” moments in someone else’s life?

    • your comment adds good value to the discussion.
      The “winning” i am referring to is not winning races or necessarily being the best at something — but working hard with consistent focus and achieving ones “aim” or goal. Instead of looking at Fabien’s coffee charge for people being late as a “penalty” i see it more as a tax on “mediocrity.”
      If someone can’t show up to work on time, and values the opportunity so little … that they can’t even arrive on time the person does not want success, at least not the same way I do.

      But lets be frank … a team is only as good as its leader/captain/coach, etc.

      Who is the problem? Who is the most disappointing?

      The people who are late and doing things so half hearted that they make mistakes, and when they make mistakes ..they don’t care because they do not value their job, or the leader/manager of them?

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