I am an army of one. A single member Limited Liability Corporation. However, I am also part of a property management firm and consult for a couple of badass companies. In addition to the structure of what I do, my work keeps me regularly engaged with the ABCs (architects, bankers, and contractors) and then some. 'Some' is putting it mildly. The range on any given day includes city staff, elected officials, business owners, organizations/agencies, engineers, subcontractors, news/media, and marketing professionals to name a few.
Everything is multifaceted. It’s not only my normal. It’s most everyone’s normal. Recently, it struck me. Regardless of what field a person is in, there are qualities I gravitate to and respect the hell out of.
It’s on every list because it belongs there. You can tell how strong someone’s work ethic is by their reliability. You trust that they won’t simply accomplish something, but that it will be executed well. Generally, my job is the overview. My job is to create goals and ensure they are executed. For example, to my civil engineer I might say, “It’s a 127-year-old building that will have 26 apartment kitchens, 35 bathrooms, 2 offices with private bathrooms, a restaurant with full kitchen and restrooms, dumpsters, a transformer needs to go somewhere, oh and of course - I need as much parking as possible.” I know my civil engineer will run all his calculations and creatively try different ways to make sure these needs are met because he has a great work ethic. When we discuss how he arrived at his solutions, after analyzing every option, I’m confident in his work. If you get the work done and do it well, it breeds trust and respect. That’s work ethic.
Sense of urgency
A sense of urgency is that desire to get everything marked off your list in half the time. It’s the drive to achieve that makes you jump out of bed each morning. To know what items are most time sensitive and prioritize. It really comes down to a physical manifestation in your gut that desires productivity. We all have it. We just focus on some tasks more than others.
That said, we live in an Amazon Prime world where we want it all and want it now, but be cautious of people with that sense of urgency. Know that communicating timelines and priority is important. You don’t want to burn people out or give them a demanding timeline that interferes with their home life. Set the file aside for a week until you really needed it. I love the reaction I get when I tell people something is low on my priority list and to take their time. It also means that when I call on the same person and I’m pushing for an immediate turnaround, they know I’m serious.
You’ve heard, “everyone is in the business of sales,” right? Did you know, top companies improve their sales teams by starting them in customer service for a month? And, they have them return two weeks a year for professional development. Customer service is about empathy. It’s connecting and recognizing what another person is facing and acknowledging it. Perhaps taking measures to make it easier on them. It’s when you ask if you can create a process or communication strategy to keep a team member from being overwhelmed with tasks.
Great teams are formed when there is a level of empathy and consideration for each other’s work. You don’t always have to agree with each other’s opinions or decisions, but you should take the time to reflect on why they are coming to that decision.
I’m fortunate to have found incredible people in my network with these characteristics. I respect the hell out of them. I gravitate toward working with them because they are great mentors and leaders. Not only do I have the ability to learn about their specialty and field, but also I have the ability to learn how to improve my own work ethic, sense of urgency, and customer service.