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The Zero Talent Series (Part 1)

It is factual that some people have a higher propensity for somethings over others. Have you ever wondered what natural aptitude you possess? You might have even concluded you have none. Everyone has a talent, though it may be hidden and might take a while to discover. However, that’s a topic for another day.

I came across a meme, ‘10 Things That Require Zero Talent’ a while ago on a social media site and thought I’d share.  It listed powerful skills that will have huge impact on your career and personal life but do not require talent or training.

If these 10 simple leadership characteristics will be put to use and made a part of our daily lives, we would be more successful, almost overnight.

We will be educating ourselves with a series called ‘The Zero Talent Series’ and first on our list is:

1. Being on Time.

One of the most reliable ways to earn trust and respect is to be religious about punctuality. Honoring our words through action. It really doesn’t matter the nature of your engagement or meeting, just be on time. Always factor in reasonable travel time and have a definite take off time.

Tom had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work. His boss was mad at him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t do something about it. So Tom went to his doctor who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed. Tom slept well and in fact beat the alarm in the morning by almost two hours. He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work.

“Boss”, he said,” The pill actually worked!”

“That’s all fine” said the boss,” But where were you yesterday?

Lesson: Punctuality requires a conscious effort. This increases effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.

2. Work Ethics

“Kobe’s professional trainer was fast asleep. Could you blame him? It was 3:30 am in the morning. All a sudden his phone starts ringing. It’s Kobe. He must be in trouble, or in some kind of emergency. His trainer is freaking out, and nervously picks up the phone.

Kobe says that he’s doing some conditioning work and could use his trainer’s help. The trainer then proceeds to get ready and head over to the gym. He arrives around 4:30 am. What did he see? He saw Kobe by himself practicing. Drenched in sweat, it looked like he just jumped in a pool. It wasn’t even 5am in the morning yet”.

The second leadership characteristic on our zero talent list is work ethic.

Work ethic is a value based on hard work and diligence. A strong work ethic is vital to achieving goals. Work ethics is a set of moral principles which includes: personal integrity, honesty, truthfulness, a sense of responsibility, emphasis on quality, discipline, and teamwork.

Work ethics isn’t just how we feel about our jobs, career or vocation, but also how one does the job or takes responsibility. This involves conduct, attitude, behavior, respect, communication, integrity, accountability and interaction; how one gets along with others.

Essentially, work ethics break down to what one does or would do in a particular situation.

How to build strong work ethics

Work hard

Focus on your work and minimize distractions

Set deadlines and try as much as possible to meet them

Evaluate your work daily

Embrace responsibility

Resist procrastination

Practice self-discipline, you don’t need to be micro managed

Understand how your work speed may vary and take advantage of that

Maintain a good work-life balance

Choose your peers with care

Improve daily by trying new ways.

Conclusively, developing good work ethics can be critical to productivity and success.

3. Effort (Going the extra mile)

“Mr. Schwab first came to Mr.Carnegie’s attention when he was working as a labourer in one of the steel master’s plants. Close observation revealed that Mr. Schwab always performed more and better service than that for which he was paid. Moreover, he performed it with a pleasing mental attitude, which made him popular among his fellow workers.

He was promoted from one job to another until at long last in 1901 he was made president of the great United States Steel Corporation at a salary of $75,000 a year”. Who would have thought a labourer will ever earn that much in his entire lifetime. (story by Napoleon Hill)

If Paul J. Meyer’s quote expressed thus, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort” is anything to go by, then effort is worthy of the number 3 spot on our zero talent list.

To put in effort is to vigorously or determinedly attempt something. An attempt doesn’t require a talent, does it?

“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction”. – Charles Francis Adams

You may not have total control over outcomes and results but you have complete control over the amount and type of effort you put in. Success comes to those who sustain a consistent effort.

If you really want to excel at work and in business, you will have to go the extra mile and deliver beyond expectations. In service delivery, going the extra mile is what distinguishes a great customer experience from an average one.

It is true there are days you won’t feel like going the extra mile but remember that you are not your thoughts or feelings. Feelings come and go. We tend to associate our thoughts with our abilities and we try to identify with them. Consequently, negative thoughts make us feel inadequate.

Finally, going the extra mile builds the confidence of others in one’s veracity. It eliminates procrastination and develops definiteness of purpose.

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