In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins hit the nail on the head when he began with the idea that good is the enemy of great. He’s right, good is the enemy of great. There are lots of good performers, but only a few great ones. To achieve the life and career success you want and deserve, you need to become a great performer – not just a good one.
Good is seductive. For many of us, it’s not too difficult to be good. And good has a nice feeling attached to it. On the other hand, good performance won’t get you to the top of the promotion list and keep you off of the layoff list. Great performance will.
But great performance comes with a price. You have to work at it. In The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame quotes several great performers on paying the price…
“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.” Michelangelo
“When I played with Michael Jordan on the Olympic team, there was a huge gap between his ability and the ability of the other great players on that team. But what impressed me was that he was always the first one on the floor and the last one to leave.” Steve Alford, Head Basketball Coach, University of New Mexico.
“If I miss a day of practice, I know it. If I miss two days, my manager knows it. If I miss three days, my audience knows it.” Andre Previn, Pianist, Conductor and Composer.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” Stephen King, Bestselling Novelist
Here are four people – an artist, a basketball player, a pianist and a writer – all saying the same thing: good is the enemy of great.
Your natural talent might allow you to be good. Great, however, requires determination and persistence.
Here are some interesting ideas about the difference between good and great when it comes to sales. They come from a study done by Herbert True at Notre Dame University.
- 44% of all salespeople quit trying to sell their prospect after the first call.
- 24% quit after the second call.
- 14% quit after the third call.
- 12% quit trying after the fourth call.
Great sales people make the fifth and sixth calls. According to Mr. True, 60 % of all sales are made after the fourth call. And, according to his research, 94% of all salespeople give up after four calls to one prospect. The 14% and 12% of salespeople who give up after the third and fourth calls are probably pretty good salespeople. However, the great salespeople make the fifth and sixth calls – and make more sales.
Recently, I worked for about six months to close a large (for me at least) sale. At first, I seemed to be getting nowhere, but I believed in myself and knew that the services I was selling were valuable to the company to which I was selling them. After six months and way more than six meetings with numerous people, all of whom had some input into the buying decision, I received a signed purchase order for $105,000. I was great – at least when it came to this sale.
My best career advice on going from good to great is to persist. Practice harder, prepare more, make the extra call, rewrite your proposal, rehearse your presentation, and you will find yourself creating the career and life success you want and deserve.
Some of the best career advice on persistence that I’ve come across comes from Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States…
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, “press on,” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people are great performers. They follow the advice in Tweet 96 in Success Tweets. “Good truly is the enemy of great. Don’t settle for good performance. Today, good is mediocre. Become a great performer.” Hard work and persistence are the best ways to become a great performer. If you practice longer, prepare more, make the extra call, rewrite your proposal, rehearse your presentation, you will find yourself creating the life and career success you want and deserve.