One of my best friends has been working at the same firm since he graduated from college. It’s hard to blame him – he’s killing it and rising fast.
You know that sort of cliche character in movies who is an archetypical businessman, young, and excelling at his firm? Someone who is on a the fast track to make management? That’s my buddy David.
This firm doesn’t typically hire out of undergrad, and not only did he break that mold – he’s been promoted faster than anyone in firm history to now manage projects and a team of MBAs.
I was fascinated by this. I know I pick great friends, but what made Dave excel in this setting? Was it some sort of innate quality? Was he smarter? A people person? Some sort of consulting savant?
He had a pretty simple answer when I asked him, “So what makes you stand out from everyone else at your level?”
“I’m just consistent.”
Can it really be that simple?
I thought back to my own experiences both as an employee, an organizational leader, and as a manager. Who did I like working with the most?
It turns out, “consistency” and dependability stood out as clear traits of the people I liked to work and spend time with the most.
We deal with countless variables on a day-to-day basis. Things we have to deal with, predict, plan for…there’s a natural desire to trim out as much unpredictability as possible.
Of course, there is a balance. You don’t want complete routine and predictability in everything you do, that can be awfully boring.
But if you are consistently your authentic self, if you consistently meet deadlines, and if you consistently answer the call…you will stand out.
It’s a pretty low bar. You might as well jump right over it.