Only one person can truly be called the best. The term, “the best”, is actually losing it’s meaning in everyday conversation when you overhear someone saying things like, “Oh you’re the best friend ever”, or “This is the best ice cream ever”. Those people don’t really mean they’ve compared friends and ice creams and are making it official. They simply mean the friend is a really good friend; the ice cream tastes really good.
However, in the world of business and employment, there are ways to measure who is the top Salesperson, the team with the most consecutive days worked without an accident or the employee who produces the greatest number of defect-free products. These are examples where one person can truly be said to be the best and there is evidence to back up those statements.
However, giving your best may mean that while you don’t sell the most, or you still have an accident or produce products with defects, you improved on your performance and have had better results than previously. So yes your best resulted in an increase of 7% over last months totals; still short of the actual sales numbers of the top Salesperson, but your numbers when compared to your past numbers are higher.
It is the norm in some organizations to ensure that each person has an individual target for performance that is measurable and achievable for that one person. If the top Salesperson in a company is regularly selling 20 cars a month, surely 20 cars a month is unrealistic for someone who is just starting out. They might be given an initially target of 3 cars the entire month, and that number would be adjusted as their experience and skills improve.
Other companies do give the same targets to every employee no matter how long you’ve been there. When it comes to safety on an assembly line, all employees might be collectively working towards days with zero accidents. Telling one team to work accident-free and telling another team of relatively newer employees that 4 accidents a month is okay for them isn’t likely. They all work accident-free or they all start at day one again the day following an accident. It’s a collective target.
Now giving your best is something that everyone can achieve and be recognized for. The targets vary for performance, and each person is compared not to others in the workplace, but to their past performance. You sold 3 cars last month, your new target is 5. What other people are achieving isn’t factored in to your performance. You’re expected to give it your best, and if your best fails to result in targets the company sets, you can still be released, it’s just a case of your best falls short of their needs.
Take a Call Centre. They may have expectations that the length of your calls be a certain length, that you answer a certain volume of calls, sell a number of products or services on those calls. Your performance may be better than any other employee for the month – making you the best. Your performance numbers may actually be quite a bit lower than those at the top, but your best might show an improvement over the previous week, and you’re improving; your best is getting better.
Giving it your best may mean improving on your attendance, working with more focus and fewer distractions, investing in the training opportunities you are provided with, and generally putting more energy into your job.
You find in some organizations where all staff in a job classification receive identical pay each week that there is a noted difference nonetheless in the actual performance of employees. Some are truly invested in their work, strive to do better than they have in the past, etc. Others in that same role might not be as committed to working beyond what they have to do to keep their jobs. They all get the same pay, but some are giving it their best and some are not. One of the most frustrating things for Management might be getting the best out of each employee when pay is identical regardless of experience and skills.
If you want to find value in what you do, go home happier at the end of the day, and enjoy your work more when you are at your workplace, giving it your best is recommended There are many who sleep better and longer, nodding off with a smile on their face content with knowing their best was achieved that day. When we don’t give our best the obvious question to ask is, “Why aren’t we giving our best?”
My point here has not to do with that question, but more with encouraging us – yes I include myself here) to give our collective best each day. While some of us are motivated to win the title of, “The Best _______ ever”, I think a far greater number of people are better off being recognized for giving it their best.
If giving it your best is less than what an employer needs, being terminated and released means your fit with that kind of work or that specific employer was wrong. If you find yourself released or terminated and you know you didn’t give it your best, you should own up to that too and learn from the experience.
Strive to be your best – perhaps starting today and see where it takes you.