Strugglers: These are people who struggle daily, and often unsuccessfully, to gain both success and satisfaction in their jobs. These individuals seem to face more roadblocks and obstacles to getting things done than those around them. They always seem to be experiencing some level of discord with bosses, coworkers or customers. Despite many being intelligent, competent and knowledgeable people, every day is an uphill battle.
Drivers: Then there are those for whom work success and satisfaction appears absolutely effortless. Everything just seems to fall into place. They are confident, they get along with everyone, and they appear to climb the ladder to success with tremendous ease.
Passengers: Most people fall into the third group – somewhere in the middle of the first two. Work isn’t effortless. They work very hard for their accomplishments. But instead of facing roadblocks, they face speedbumps. Conflict happens, but is an exception instead of a regular occurrence. They get ahead, get promotions and raises, but rarely do these things happen quickly or just fall in their laps.
When you examine workplace success, you find that there are some significant common denominators – things that are consistently apparent – with Drivers. They are the same things that are conspicuously absent with Strugglers. There are four big ones, and here are the first two:
1. People Focused
One thing you notice right away about Drivers is that they have a strong network of people. They make a point to get to know the people they encounter. It doesn’t matter if it’s a CEO of a company, or the waitress who serves their morning cup of coffee. They talk to them. They learn about them. They make a connection with them.
It often looks like this outgoing behaviour comes very naturally to Drivers, but that’s not always the case. Many Drivers will tell you that they are really quite introverted – and that they need to make a concerted effort to strike up these kinds of conversations. They will also tell you, however, that they are always glad they did.
2. Solution Driven
When Problems occur, as they inevitably do, most people find themselves becoming stressed. Strugglers, in particular, don’t do well with problems. They dwell in them, they talk about them, they stew on them, they lose sleep over them. “Oh, my God, this is a problem…” “Did you hear about the problem?…” “This is such a problem…” “I don’t know what we’re going to do about this problem..” and so on, and so on.
Drivers react very differently when a problem occurs. Unlike others, they don’t allow the problem itself to take up much of their time or energy. They focus, instead, almost entirely on the solutions.
They acknowledge the problem and make sure they understand it, for sure; but they then very quickly move from problem-identification mode to problem-solution mode. They don’t stress over a problem, and they don’t bother with the dwelling and stewing stuff. If a Driver dwells on anything, it’s on ensuring that things are quickly solved and back on track.
If you want to become a driver, begin by focusing on these two things. Ask yourself these questions: Do you make a point to initiate contact with the people around you, or do you wait for them to come to you? Do you fret over problems and things in the past that can’t be changed, or do you focus on the solutions moving forward? The answers might give you some insight into things you can work on.
“You might not be able to change the world, but you always have the opportunity to change your world”