Are you in the top 20 pct of your office?

ExecuTips - By Robert Labayen

Posted at Apr 18 2015 08:55 AM | Updated as of Apr 18 2015 04:55 PM

To be able to dance like a DI (dance instructor) is one of my dreams. One night, a DI revealed to me that he started with only three steps of cha-cha. He was a rookie when he first entered a ballroom and was intimidated by the other DIs whose “feet were kicking in the air." I realized that even these spectacular performers were not as great in the beginning.

We all go through a test before we earn respect for our work. Don’t mind the more senior officemates who look down on the noobs. It’s only a matter of time for you to rise above them. For example, a younger creative person who used to report to me one day became my boss!

But how high can we really go?

I once attended a talk by John Maxwell, world famous leadership guru. He said that people are either ducks or eagles. He was sure that no matter how you train and encourage them, ducks will always be ducks and good only for duck duties. So he suggested that we “hire eagles and let them soar."

In 1896, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto discovered that 80% of Italian lands were owned by 20% of the population. He also observed that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.

Today, believers of the “Pareto Principle” are convinced that 20% of employees contribute 80% of the business, 20% of the employees produce 80% of the company’s best works and so on. The "80-20 rule" estimates that an office’s elite is roughly 20% of its population.

In the book Good to Great, John Collins wrote that “good is the enemy of great,” (which was also expressed by the Philosopher Voltaire about 2 centuries earlier.) Collins lamented that in any category of things and people, there are only a few great ones because we are easily satisfied by a lot of the good.

I do not know if I am in the top 20% of our company. In my profession, maybe I'm just good and not great. I cannot give you any advice on how to be great. But I will encourage you to prove to yourself that you're an eagle, not a duck.

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About the Author:

Robert Labayen spent 22 years in advertising prior to joining ABS-CBN in 2004. He was VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, two of the country's leading ad agencies. He is currently the Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN. His job involves inspiring people to be their best. He is a writer, painter and songwriter.

Read more about ExecuTips on www.robertlabayen.com