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Excellence Is Waiting Just Outside Your Comfort Zone

“So at least 17 members of the Academy have not yet watched Parasite because they ‘don’t want to deal with subtitles.’” – Will Mavity

For the sake of argument, let’s assume this is true. Will Mavity also indicates that 17 is out of over 9,000 voting members. Maybe this is “within tolerance” like one might find in engineering lingo. Perhaps we can relax because it’s such a small percentage.

We’re not all in the entertainment industry, but most of us are consumers. The Academy Awards are real life. The cast and crew are (generally) compensated professionals. Receiving recognition from one’s professional association is an honor and in some cases validation. If you believe this is true or even possible, let’s keep the concept and change the scene.

You, in your work, have you been one of the 17? Have you said, even to yourself, “This applicant has a lot of good experiences in a different field. Their skills are probably transferrable, but I don’t want to train out bad habits they might have.” Or, “This applicant checks all the boxes but doesn’t have any full-time experience. I don’t have time to train a new employee who should already know the stuff I’d have to teach them.”

We all believe we’re busy. It is debatable whether we are busy being busy, or busy making an impact. More to the point, are we being cozy and lazy thereby not moving our organizations forward? “They don’t fit our culture.” Do they not believe in the same organizational values, or is there concern they might disrupt a comfortable bubble-wrapped work clique?

I’ve made the decision to hire individuals who are outside the established pattern of employees. As a result, our organization improved longevity of employees and increased customer satisfaction. The ability for us to look carefully at the character and disposition of applicants, rather than only their resume, helped us add great people to the mix. It took time and deliberate examination of the information before us and trying to find what wasn't easily accessible.

“Parasite” ended up with high praise and formal recognition. But I’m guessing most of us don’t have 9,000 other folks to compensate for the 17 who don’t want to do the heavy lifting. So, it’s up to you. Are you going to do the work to understand possibilities and potential in your employees and applicants? Are you going to wait for something more familiar and take the comfortable option?

The world, including our places of work, is much more fulfilling and rewarding when we open our eyes and minds to possibilities especially if that means we need to be a little uncomfortable in the process. Cover Photo by Denise Jans on Unsplash

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