Are You An Overachiever?

To be noticed in this world, it is essential that you challenge the norm and do things differently

By going that extra mile and putting in that bit more effort, you will overachieve. When you overachieve, these things get noticed. Hence, you get noticed.

A lot of people don’t think that they should take pride in their work because it is “only a job” or they’re “being paid”. The fact that you are being paid to do the job should fill you with more pride than if you were not being paid.

1. Do You Take Pride In Your Work?

When you take pride in doing the best work you can, it shows your boss and your team mates that what you’re doing is “important to you”. It also builds trust and increases your influence.

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By increasing your influence through overachieving, this says to people that you are valuable, and that you value the work that you are doing. Remember, you don’t work for your boss, you work for yourself.

Well, overachieving can definitely increase your marketing with people spreading the word about your overachievements. Even if you are not too happy with how you or the team are being treated, don’t let it bother you. Your motivation is to increase your influence through working for yourself.

Taking pride in your work and overachieving will reflect the quality of work you do, and also your character. Being driven to add value to the team by overachieving, and taking pride in your work reflects who you are.

To help your team overachieve too, you must first work on developing yourself, and help your boss. You can do this by recommending improvements to the current ways that the team work. Or, you can recommend improvements to the current processes that the team follows.

You will be well on your way to becoming an excellent team member, and not an average team member. Basically, you will become the leader within your team, even though you are not in the leadership position.

After a period of time, your overachievements will become the new standard for everybody else to meet. Then, because the standards have altered, so will the processes that your team and all the other teams in your department follow.

2. Continuous Improvements

When improving processes in any department, it’s a huge change. Most of the organisations I have worked in actually expect process improvement from the team members, but it’s rare that it actually comes from them. It usually comes from consultants that have been hired in.

An excellent team member is more than capable of improving the working processes. This could be you, and you can set the new standard.

My articles have been designed to help you do exactly that, become an excellent team member and leader. It is designed to help you to overachieve, and to make improvements to your current processes.

I want to share an example with you from 2009 when I worked for the train operating company in Liverpool as an engineer.

The wheels on the trains were not lasting as long as they should. They are supposed to last for approximately 6 years, but these were not even lasting 3 years. Something was wrong, and nobody was doing anything about it.

The reason for that is because they didn’t want to deal with the company who built the tracks. Within the UK, the train companies and track companies are totally separate, so there is a lot of politics for whose fault it is when things go wrong.

My job at the time was to deal with these issues and provide as much evidence as possible to my boss. He would then go and fight each incident that caused a delay in service with the track company every Friday morning.

I went to a few of these meetings and the discussions that they were having were laughable. A lot of moaning, whining and finger pointing was going on.

Sometimes, just to get the meetings over with, my boss would concede some incidents, even when it wasn’t “our fault”. I could understand why he would do it, because some of the conversations being had got extremely heated.

Especially when it came to incidents between the wheels on the train and the track. It wasn’t a nice thing to witness.

3. Take On New Challenges

So, after being involved in these meetings, I recommended to my boss that I take on the project to improve the interface between the wheels and the track. My goal was to increase the wheel life, track life and the relationship between the two companies.

I do like a challenge. I felt that this could be one of the biggest challenges in my career so far. It was a great opportunity to try and unite people too, and help them to improve their processes. There was no better time and place to test myself and bring out my best.

The first thing I did was approach the track company, and ask them to nominate a person who I could work together with on this project. I had to involve them as much as possible if I was going to break down these barriers.

Eventually, they nominated a guy called Mark, and he was a great guy to work with. He was a lot more experienced than I was, so I figured I could learn a lot from him.

He told me that the tracks had lubricators that were placed around the Liverpool network. They were designed to lubricate both the wheels and the track to avoid friction and reduce wear. Ultimately, this was one of the ways that we could increase the life of the wheels and the track.

4. Collaborate With Others

However, this obviously wasn’t working properly, so Mark and I worked together to improve how the lubricators were performing.

We decided to increase the inspections, and increase the rate of replenishment of the lubricating grease. We also tried to move the lubricators around the network every so often until we found the sweet spot for the wheels.

At first, this worked well and we could see a reduction in incidents that involved the wheel and track interface. However, both Mark and I became dissatisfied and needed to think of other methods or processes to improve the situation.

So, we had a number of joint meetings and involved more engineers from both companies. I was promoting us working together to produce new ideas and better solutions.

There was an engineer who worked for the same company as me called Ian, he was an excellent engineer. He always went the extra mile and trying to improve our processes. Most of all he loved helping people. He was a true leader within the engineering team, and his influence was ever increasing throughout the organisation.

He suggested that we speak with other train operating companies in the UK who had wheel lubricators fitted to their trains, and worked alongside the track lubricators. Taking his advice, Mark and I went right to work.

We spoke with the top companies in the country and they all had the same opinion, that wheel lubricators do work and that we should adopt this method. So, we did. Mark and I approached the manufacturers, had a trial fitted to one train for a month which was very successful.

We went through all the correct safety and engineering change legislation for approval. Then within a few months the whole fleet was fitted with wheel lubricators.

Ten years later, they are still fitted and the wheels are lasting and performing better than ever. They’re not quite hitting 6 years, but they are definitely within the 5-6 year range.

The relationship between the two companies continues to work well too. Following our project, there have been many more joint projects working successfully.

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I must admit, we overachieved on this project and beat everyone’s expectations. Following this project my level of responsibility raised. Then later down the line I was offered a job in management working for Scottish Railways, which I accepted.

Mark and I have kept in touch over the years, and he too has climbed the ladder using similar principles to what I am sharing.

All I did was recommend that we change a few things, that we bring people closer together, and we improve our processes. It isn’t a lot, but it had a huge impact on all involved.

You can do something very similar in your industry and organisation.

Look at what you have achieved in your life, look at the ability you have. Do they match?

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

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All the best,

Tom (Lead, Grow, Influence)

14 thoughts on “Are You An Overachiever?

  1. I think everyone has both the capability to put in more work and make some kind of pivot to get more done somewhere in their day to day routine. This article definitely reminded me of the simple fact that I can work harder. A lot of people underestimate the power of hard work verses talent, hard work will always prevail. I think anyone who reads this will come away with a positive piece of advice to get them on another level in their own achievements and to perhaps revisit what is possible for them to go out there and achieve. Great piece. -Will

    1. Hi Will,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found the post valuable.

      We can all work harder, but we must also work smarter too remember. We need to focus on the right things, and not just work hard for working hard’s sake.

      I love how you say that people will come away from this post with advice that can move them to another level. That was exactly my point when writing this post. It’s great that you get it.

      Keep returning and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Great articles and website! I like your website and your theme! Your article is detailed, well written and in depth! I think about over achieving all the time and so far I have done pretty well and have not over achieved! But there are plenty of good and useful things in this article to keep in mind! Thank you for writing this great article! Keep up the great work on your website!

    1. Hi Timothy,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m so pleased that you found the article helpful.

      I will definitely do my best every day to keep up what I am currently doing, and what I am going to do in the future.

      Keep returning, engaging, and if you need any help then do not hesitate to contact me.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. I can see that you found a solution that was inclusive of all parties and because of this, a workable, sustainable solution was reached.

    Being a leader is not about being able to “boss” people into doing what you want. It is really about bringing people into your vision and the utilization of the human resources, knowledge and expertise to accomplish a common goal.

    Your story about the train wheels is such a great example of when people decide to stop trying to pin blame and decide to take on the responsibility for coming up with solutions together and how over-achievement can be a result!

    Bravo!

    1. Hi Soraya,

      Thank you for you kind comments. So pleased you can relate with my example. Hopefully a lot more people can relate too.

      You are so right that being a leader is not about being a “boss”, it is about bringing people into your vision so they can make it their own. I love how you say that.

      Keep returning and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  4. Hi there,

    I only wish I was an overachiever. I think there’s an element of accountability required to be recognised and respected in the world of work.

    That’s a great analogy you provided regarding the lubricators. If there’s no proper procedure or quality control in place, systems often tend to fail.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Thank you for your comment. Don’t wish you were an overachiever, make over-achievement a part of you. Make it a habit and keep practicing it.

      We can all become overachievers if we work on ourselves every day and focus on the right things. Don’t just work hard for working hard’s sake, work smart.

      I truly believe you will be an overachiever pretty soon. You just need to work for it.

      Keep returning and keep engaging. If you need any help then please don’t hesitate to contact me.

      All the best,

      Tom

  5. Hi Tom
    A great story. As a fellow engineer I appreciate the logical and rational approach you took. The story is a classic mix of a hard but solvable technical/engineering challenge in a deadlock because of seemingly intractable soft inter-personal issues of the troubled relationship between companies. I’m sure the – let’s say cultural reticence of Brits to tackle inter-personal issues head on was something you also overcame. Thanks for this. It really did make me reflect on similar situations I have been in, some that got fixed and others that didn’t. All the best to you. Andy

    1. Hi Andy,

      Thank you for your comment. You’re the first fellow engineer I have engaged with on this site so far. Great that you’re here.

      I’m really pleased that you found the article valuable, and that you can relate to my example with your own engineering example.

      Keep returning and keep engaging.

      All the best with your engineering.

      Tom

  6. Hi Tom,
    Great motivating and interesting post. I think generally people can achieve more, but often get stuck in a rut with a job that they don’t enjoy.
    It’s good to try and look at the positives and negatives of your job, and appreciate that perhaps the job has a lot of benefits to it
    Again, if you don’t like the job, make steps to change it.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Mark.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased that you found it valuable.

      It most certainly is good to look at positives and negatives and make the right decisions based on those.

      Keep returning and keep engaging.

      All the best,

      Tom

  7. Great to read your story and it was very motivational more so because I used to be an engineer before I quit my job.

    I know how hard it can be to deal with two companies which may not see eye to eye. Well done. Your story is a great example.

    1. Hi Thabo,

      Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found my post motivational, means a lot.

      It’s great to meet a fellow engineer too who can relate to my story. Thank you for your kind words.

      Keep returning and keep engaging my friend.

      All the best,

      Tom

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