When you think of performance living, you may conjure up many different images in your mind. You may think of that big project or achievement where your team or your boss poured on the accolades for a job well done. You may think of that problem you solved that everyone else was stuck on. Or you may think of a huge sale you closed that made you the envy of the office.
When you dream up these images from your high-performance living past, do you ever think of the project that you worked your butt off on and then gave all the credit away to your team? Most people don’t think of these experiences as high performance, but I think they are truly demonstrative of Sustainable High Performer moments that take you to a new level. There’s a great saying that "there is no limit to what can be achieved when no one cares who gets the credit."
Think about that statement for a moment. What could symbolize high achievement more than surpassing any preconceived limits you may have? There’s something magical, something powerful, and something truly authentic about giving credit away for a job well done. In Jim Collins’s book "From Good to Great" he discusses how great leaders learn to lead with a window and a mirror. They take responsibility for everything that goes wrong (the mirror) but they look out to others and give credit for a job well done (the window). This doesn’t mean wink, wink you did a great job—but real, deeply sincere credit for helping making something happen.
How many times have you seen an athlete from a team sport get interviewed after a big win proceed to tell the reporter the "I" story? I did this and then I did that and that’s why we won. In contrast, I remember Andre Agassi delivering his farewell speech on center court at the US Open when he gave credit to his coaches, his parents, his wife, his trainers, and most of all to his fans for lifting him up and carrying him through so many great matches. I remember when Michael Jordan turned the corner from superstar to five-time NBA Champion. It was when he started not only giving the ball to Scottie Pippen, BJ Armstrong, and Steve Kerr but also giving the credit for wins to them. There are a couple of current professional athletes who still haven’t figured this out.
The message here is simple. Getting credit for our accomplishments feels nice, but giving credit away and removing all limits of our performance - that feels great! If you’re looking for that performance-living edge, don’t worry so much about accumulating credit. Worry about giving it away.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer