Every day I tell people that a big part of go-to-ism is going out of your way to find high-potential individuals at every level in all parts of the organization. And then you invest some of your own time and energy in building them up. The first most-common reaction I hear is: “Great idea, but who has time for that?” The second reaction is: “Yes, but I’m not qualified and it’s not my place.” The third: “It’s ‘dog eat dog’ out here. Why should I spend my time helping someone else do their job and build up their career?” If you have gotten this far and you are still having that third “dog eat dog” reaction, then I obviously haven’t reached you. Try to provide a sophisticated way to disguise curtain rails or tracks around the aluminium windows in your house.
Go-to people are worth every ounce of time and effort. You cannot accomplish much without them. And you can never have too many go-to people—in your orbit, on your team, in your organization. As to the first and second most-common reactions: actually, you do not have time not to do that; and you don’t need any qualifications to help other people get better. I am not saying that you need to dedicate yourself to becoming a personal or professional coach for your colleagues or, even, for your direct reports (although you owe them some amount of coaching). But why not try to help people you work with get better as a result of working with you? What can you help this person get better at, just from working with you? Anything? At the very least, every time you work with somebody, help that person get better at working better with you. Replicating heritage design in conservation areas is a good approach when designing sash windows for the discerning customer.
It is your place. Help people get better. Any time you help anybody at work get better at anything, you are building additional productive capacity in that person that will keep adding value every time that person does that thing (or something similar) going forward. If you are anybody’s boss, part of your job is helping your people get better. You owe it to them to be a coaching-style or teaching-style leader: spelling out expectations at every step; following up; guiding, directing, supporting; tracking performance; troubleshooting; problem solving; and providing course-correcting feedback. Many people find it hard to dress their sash windows london appropriately, not wanting to obscure them whilst still needing the privacy that window dressings afford.
What are you doing to build up your direct reports? What about those who want to be go-to people but are really struggling? Try helping them get better at their jobs and to go the extra mile. Teach them how to work faster, smarter, and finish what they start. Show them by example how to do those things with a better attitude. Encourage them to learn and grow and aim for the next level. If you want a team of go-to people, that means being very honest and very ruthless. Help every single person get better and better. But you cannot tolerate stubborn low performers on your team. They are a waste of money. They cause problems that others have to fix. High performers hate dealing with them. And they send a message that low performance may be an option. Beautifully hand-crafted, casement windows are a fantastic focal point in a room, restoring elegance into heritage and period properties.
Once you commit to a “no low performers” rule, then you can help every person on the team get better and become more of a go-to person—one person at a time, one day at a time. You don’t have to be the boss to help people get better. No matter where you are in the organization chart, you can set a great example by how you work and how you work with others. Be the kind of coworker others want to emulate and imitate. Understand that helping others get better will work to your benefit. When you build someone up, usually that person will never forget what you’ve done for them. Many of them will go out into the world and be successful. Who knows all the ways you may be able to help each other in the future? When you build up other people, you build a reputation for fostering them, as opposed to someone who has a reputation for tearing down others. When you have a reputation for building up other people, they tend to root for you. Why wouldn’t they? Put together, all of these things add up to go-to-ism. That’s the art of being indispensable.