Keep Improving

Applying uncommon sense to the things that are most common in the world, everybody will take notice of you.

You will become noticed and a lot more attention will be paid to you if you go further than is expected of you, and you pay attention to detail. I like to call this going the extra mile for yourself and for others. This is something that people didn’t do a lot of, but you are going to help change that. Aren’t you?

1. Taking Pride In Your Work

The work that you do in your life, whether at school, college, or in the workplace, how much pride do you take in it? When you take pride in your work, people can see it through your actions, not in what you are saying. What your actions are saying to people is, “This work is important to me.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re being paid to do the work or not, or what you’re being paid. You are doing the work and that is what matters. When you take pride in your work you are building trust and increasing your influence with people.

When you are building trust and increasing your influence through your work, you are also improving your reputation. People who take pride in their work understand that they are doing the work for others, but they are also doing it for themselves.

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They want to deliver the most valuable work they can because they work on themselves every day to become the most valuable person they can. Value is what drives them, and they want to do their work better than what was expected of them.

2. Value

The more you improve on the work you are producing, the more your character grows. The quality of your work reflects the quality of your character. People who are driven by value understand this, and character is very important to them.

If you focus on improving how you work in school, college, or the workplace then you will be doing the work better than expected, and continually improving the quality. At the same time, you will be developing and improving yourself.

As you do this you will be getting closer and closer to becoming a highly effective leader. You will be leading others by example who will want to follow in your footsteps with the work they are doing.

You are uncommon because highly effective leaders and excellent people are uncommon. It is going to take more and more people like you to make excellence more common by inspiring more highly effective and excellent leaders to follow you.

As you blend doing things better than is expected of you and earlier than is expected of you, you will be creating great harmony. With this harmony you will be continually improving. Most people are not expected to continually improve without being told to, so again this will be uncommon.

Since I was 16 years old when I started my engineering apprenticeship, I have been doing my best to improve in what I am doing. But I didn’t put great emphasis on this until I was in my late 20s.

You can do this now by doing things better than expected, and you can continue this as you grow into an adult. This is one of the main reasons I have written my articles.

When I was 23 years old, I had been in the rail industry for one year, and the train operating company I was working for had funded my university degree in mechanical engineering. I used to love to use my job as topics for projects that we were assigned in the first two years.

I also used my job for my dissertation topic, but that was later. This example is on project management and resonates on any project you might be working on in school, college, or the workplace.

The company’s trains had been around for quite a while, and their wheels were not in the best of condition. But it was too expensive to replace all the wheels with new ones, so we had to find a way to maintain them and keep the trains running.

I asked for this assignment so I could use it for my university topic, and I was excited to make this work and be the wheelset hero. All I got from my work colleagues was, “You’ll never figure it out.” “How are you going to make this happen?” “I can’t see anything working, Tom.” “You won’t have a clue.”

3. Motivation

So, I used this negativity as motivation to make this work and make things happen. I wanted to prove them wrong.

The senior managers and leaders who were kind enough to assign me this project were also quite negative. So, I wanted to prove them wrong too.

This was a great challenge and I have always loved a challenge, from when I was a child until now. So, I investigated how other train operating companies throughout the UK maintained their wheelsets. I investigated from Scotland all the way down to London.

I visited London and talked with their main train company, and what they had fitted to their trains was wheel lubricators.

The wheel lubricators provided lubrication on the wheels so that they wouldn’t be cut into as much by the rail, especially when turning corners. So, after a good investigation I decided that we needed to fit similar wheel lubricators to our trains.

This wasn’t easy, and there was no way I could do this alone, so I had to work with a team. I wasn’t their official line manager, but when it came to this project, I was the project manager.

I had not read a leadership book at this time, and I didn’t really know how to lead. But I knew that I had to lead and inspire the people working with me the best I could.

I assigned certain parts of the project to each person (I was working with three people). This involved speaking to a manufacturer, type of materials required to create the wheel lubricators, calculations to ensure the weight and how to fit the lubricators was right, and so much more.

For myself, I took it upon myself to gain the buy-in of the engineering teams as they had been so negative in the beginning.

I was given a timescale of 6 months to get this project completed, so I made the decision to beat that expectation and complete the project earlier. The best way for me to do this was to involve the engineering team and inspire them to share their ideas on how best to complete this project.

By doing this, it gave me more people to work with, I was gaining the buy-in of the teams, and it would help me to complete this project earlier.

I accepted the responsibility of leading a lot more people than the three I was assigned in the beginning, and with this I could share this in my university project report.

It took a while for me to gain the buy-in of the engineering teams, but when they felt involved in the project their passion grew exponentially. Especially when we took on their ideas and implemented them.

4. Gaining Buy-In

At first, I wanted to bring in an outside company to fit the lubricators to the trains. But because I had gained the buy-in of the engineering teams, they convinced the senior leaders to allow them to fit the lubricators which would save the company a lot of money.

So, when the lubricators were manufactured and then delivered, the teams organised themselves to start fitting them. They didn’t even need my input for this, which was especially thrilling for me. It showed me that I had done a good job as project manager.

Overall, it took all of us 4 months to complete the project of investigating, manufacturing, and fitting of the wheelset lubricators. I was 23 years old, and I felt like I proved everybody wrong, and I felt that I and the team had beaten our expectations, and did it better than expected.

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Following this I was recognised for it and was promoted to a project manager role full time, which again was a great achievement for me.

I had also produced my university project report that was given a great result, and I presented this to my whole class.

My fellow students enjoyed my presentation and asked me for help on future projects. You can do something very similar in school, college, or the workplace if you decide to do things better than expected.

It is just a decision you need to make, “Should I do things better than expected, or just do things as I have always done them?” The decision is yours!

Measure yourself against what you did and who you were yesterday, and do your best to be better today.

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.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

6 thoughts on “Keep Improving

  1. Hey Tom, this is a super article and it resonates with me and my colleagues at work!
    I always do my best, and even go out of my way to fullfill my duties, and I know I am recognized for this, but in doing so, I am taken for granted and ultimately it’s always expected of me! That doesn’t bother me much, as I am proud of what I can do, and keep doing!
    So there lies the dilemma, those around me just do their job, and nothing outstanding, infact I would give advise and role model this, so that they see my actions, and follow suite!
    I still put it down to being ‘old school’ as I am proffessional and from my prospective its about doing things right, and helping other along the way.
    So based on your article, I strongly believe that one can always improve themselves, and be even better at what they do, so any literature or training in this field, is a great resource for any viewer who comes across your article.
    You are proof of what you did in your line of work and how you proved everyone wrong, because you had faith in yourself! Well done for that Tom!
    Keep up this very important work, and thanks for sharing!
    Julia.😊

    1. Hi Julia,

      Thank you for your very detailed comment, means so much to me.

      I appreciate your very kind words and great insights on how this article resonated with you. I hope others who read this article have a similar response and would love to share their thoughts and insights, just like you have.

      Keep being professional, keep improving and keep inspiring your people to follow you through your example and influence.

      All the best,

      Tom

  2. Using “uncommon sense” in a nonsensical world brings amazing results. Providing value and taking pride in one’s work is the essence of living an authentic life.

    It is so easy just to go through the motions and feel satisfied that the job got done regardless of how well it was done. Down through history, we have many amazing examples of pride of workmanship that we would do well to emulate.

    Thanks for such a meaningful article full of so many insights that can be applied today.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Thank you for sharing your comment, means so much to me.

      I am so pleased you found my article insightful and I love how you say using uncommon sense in a nonsensical world brings amazing results.

      Keep using uncommon sense and keep sharing your learnings with your people.

      All the best,

      Tom

  3. Hi Tom!

    Using “uncommon sense” – I like that! It almost seems that “common sense” isn’t really common anymore. Your pointers for becoming highly successful were inspiring.
    One major point highlighted is the importance of taking pride in our work, irrespective of external factors like monetary compensation. When we imbue our work with pride and dedication, it not only reflects positively on our character but also builds trust and enhances our influence.

    Very inspiring!
    – Scott

    1. Hi Scott,

      Thank you for sharing your comment, means the world as always.

      Keep using your uncommon sense and taking pride in your work. Please share this article with your people and encourage them to do the same.

      All the best,

      Tom

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