My nephew was telling me about his manufacturing job and shared the fact that he needs to keep his process within a half millimeter tolerance. I said that sounds like a pretty tight specification for what he was doing. He responded with “The actual spec is pretty loose and about 2-4 millimeters. Personally I like to keep it within a consistent half millimeter because it makes it easier for my buddies on the next steps after me.”
I was very proud to hear him say that. While setting external specifications for people to follow is important, it is the internal standards that matter. And his internal standard was that he would do work that would make the work of his teammates go smoothly.
When our standards only support our own success, we run the risk of being an arriviste. True value in the organization is only achieved when everyone works together to win.
This week remember that the only good work is the work that helps everyone win at what matters. And that is what leaders are there to make sure happens.