As a business leader and manager, I am constantly thinking about what makes a good team member, partner, and/or employee. If I had to use one word to capture the kind of person I love working with, that word would be dynamic. A dynamic person to me is someone who is clear and focused on the mission, competent and creative in execution, and is wise in the deployment of scarce resources. It’s this combination that results in the kind of partner that is way beyond someone who is just one or two of these qualities. It’s easy to seem missional and creative when resources are unlimited. But I find that the truly missional and creative come out in situations of great constraints.
I’ve observed something very interesting about the most dynamic people I’ve encountered, and that is, they combine radical self-awareness to the point of insecurity, a deep understanding of underlying principles to the point of creativity, and an obsessive commitment to goals to the point of suffering (the very definition of passion), that the net effect is someone who is constantly improving himself or herself to satisfy the principles that lead to the achievement of great goals.
A good sign of someone who is not dynamic, in my opinion, is someone who defaults to throwing more time, more bodies (new hires), and more money at a problem, instead of understanding the challenge deeply enough to develop a more resourceful solution. Challenges, to dynamic people, are not simply problems to solve, inconveniences to remove, or threats to deal with. Challenges are incredible sign-posts for where one needs to improve. Most people would simply try to address challenges. Dynamic people try to master their challenges. Most workers check boxes on a to-do list to escape a situation. Dynamic workers embrace the situation as an opportunity to learn and grow into the person, team, or organization they need to be.
More Than “Top Performers” or “Senior Leaders”
Dynamic people are more than just “top performers”. It’s possible to be the top performer in a team of losers, or be the top performer in a ship that’s sinking. How many top performer awards have been given to people the year a company went bankrupt, or lost market leadership, or before yet another financial loss? It’s very typical for us to think we’re great workers, or dynamic, simply because we’re more senior, or feel we’re smarter, or feel we’re performing better than our peers. But the benchmark should never be your peers, especially when most people are comfortable in their mediocrity. The standard we must measure ourselves by is that ever-rising bar of what creates the most value for your customers, your team, and your company.
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