Becoming World Class

Steve Martin, accomplished American actor and writer, once said, "Be so good they can't ignore you."  Do you want to be world class? Reach a point in your profession and business where the world marketplace recognizes your standing?

If you are going to be world class, it will not happen by accident. You will need a plan and give the effort necessary to accomplish it.  I had a chance to meet John Spence, one of the top business thought leaders in the world, in November of 2015.  John shared many of his great ideas about what it takes to matriculate to world-level recognition in your business. He has spent years perfecting his ideas of becoming world class. Here is one example:

“There is a significant amount of research that supports the idea that it takes about 10 years or 10,000 hours of persistent and disciplined practice to achieve world-class status. I recently read that if you were to pick one business topic and study it for one hour a day, seven days a week, for seven years…at the end of those seven years you’d be considered a national authority on that subject. I know that sounds ludicrous, but I’m living proof. I have read a minimum of 100 business books year every year since 1989 (this does not even include magazines, white papers, blogs, videos and audio books) and have been named one of the Top 100 business thought leaders in America and one of the top 500 leadership development experts in the world.”

I strongly recommend you follow Spence’s words of wisdom if you want to be world class. 

According to Spence’s own research, only 2% of individuals and 3% of companies execute on their strategic plans.  As a sales leader, I am not surprised at this low rate of success. In 2010, when asked about my own division’s performance, I shared with our executives that we have an average plan, but our execution was relentless.  

Spence describes a plan that will allow a professional to become world class in about 10 years.  He calls it his four P’s of becoming world class:

1.    Passion

2.    Persistence

3.    Practice (Deliberate)

4.    Pattern Recognition

To accomplish his four P’s, Spence offers this acronym:  F.A.D., which stands for focus, action, and discipline.  Of these three factors, to me, the element of action stands out. One of the reasons many people and companies fall short is that the amount of action necessary is about 10 times more than one would think.  

For example, if you believe that reaching out to 20 new prospects in the next year will help you grow your business, build a plan that allows you to execute on reaching out to 200.  

One of the biggest challenges in becoming world class is maintaining the motivation to work at it over a longer period of time.  According to Spence, caring about the people around you should be your motivation to be the best at what you do.

If you are good at what you do and let people you care, you will get people to trust you.  Spence recommends building a huge network of people that want to succeed by serving them.  I personally had to learn step two in this process, which is to ask for help.  For me this means surrounding myself with people who have unique abilities, serving them over a long period of time and asking them for advice and encouragement.

Are you committed to becoming world class?  Share your story or your thoughts below.