The hardest and smartest work should get the promotion and the praise, right? But it doesn't always work out that way. Ever wondered why ability isn't always king? Baseball coach Jon Loomer identified "12 Factors Other Than Ability That Impact Playing Time" for his teams. The principles transfer easily to the business world, so with his permission, here is why being good at your job isn't good enough.
1. Do you hustle?
Coach Loomer says, "A primary goal of every coach should be to hustle more than the opposition. If you run harder and work harder than the other team, you are making them earn everything." Your competition isn't always as obvious off the field as it is on the field. Did Marriott know that it was going to be in direct competition with a little company called Airbnb? Not at the beginning they didn't.
Your need to be moving, looking, seeing. Never walk to a base when you can run--you may think your idea is so awesome you can take forever getting to the next step, but your competition is hustling, and they might get you.
2. Do you support your teammates?
Yes, you need to be a team player. If you're only good when you're on your own, or if you're willing to treat your own team members poorly in order to achieve your goals, you're not trustworthy. Support your team.
3. Do you communicate well with teammates?
If you're not communicating with your team, you're not going to succeed. Are you dialed into what is going on with your other team members? Can you all talk about how to reach the team's goals together? If you keep knowledge to yourself, you can't expect to be seen as a leader.
4. Do you focus only on yourself?
Coach Loomer says, "As a team, we win and lose as a team." While your career is individual, your success is not. You need to celebrate your teammates' successes, even if you failed at the same thing. When your co-worker gets that promotion that you wanted, you cheer anyway. If you help others, you're likely to become a leader.
5. Do you freak out after making mistakes?
If you can't handle failure, you're not destined for success. Rarely does someone climb the career ladder in a straight pattern. If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks, so you need to learn to handle failure. No freaking out. Apologize for your mistake and work to correct it. No screaming, no blaming, no temper tantrums.
6. Do you learn from your mistakes?
"Mistakes happen all the time. It doesn't matter what level you play at," says coach Loomer. This is true in business as well. Mistakes happen. The key is, do you learn from those mistakes? If you don't, you aren't destined for success. You need to evaluate what went wrong and make a plan to keep that from happening again.
7. Do you keep a positive attitude?
If the world is always coming to an end for you, people won't want you on their team. If you get upset easily, you're not going to be successful. Positive attitudes can be faked until you learn to look at things in a positive manner. This doesn't mean you don't look at things critically or ignore problems, but you don't assume that everything is always going to be awful. Be positive.
8. Do you complain about your role?
We all have dream jobs, and you may not be in yours right now. Sorry. But if you're going to complain about your current role, what makes you think your boss will want to put you in a more important role? She won't. If there are issues with your current job, fix them, don't complain about them.
9. Do you stay focused?
Are you working toward your company's success or are you more focused on the office gossip? If it's the latter, it doesn't really matter if you're good at what you're doing, you're not heading to the top. This isn't to say that you have to work all day, every day--that leads to burnout. But you need to be focused at work. Your efforts should be toward success and not toward your weekend plans.
10. Do you follow instructions?
What happens if you're smarter than your boss? It happens. Does this mean you can just ignore your boss? People who do this don't succeed. We often can't see the big picture because it's almost impossible for everyone in the company to see everything.
Your boss should be willing to communicate the whys with you, but generally, if your boss gives you specific instructions for a specific project, ignore them at your own peril.
11. Do you fulfill your responsibilities?
Do you do everything you're supposed to do, or just the flashy things that get you praise and credit? While you're not likely to win an award for getting your time sheet submitted on time every week, it's a critical part of your success.
So many important parts of success are not exciting. Do them anyway. You have responsibilities and you need to either fulfill them all or work with your boss to get a manageable list of responsibilities. Don't forget the boring parts.
12. Do your actions reflect the situation?
What you did yesterday may not be what you need to do today. What happened? The situation changed. If you're set in your ways or ignore instructions to make changes, you're going to be a failure. Things change, and we have to change with them.
Look around and make sure you are doing what needs to be done fighting today's battle, not yesterday's.