In 2015, Be the Best at Getting Better
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I'm not generally a fan of New Year's resolutions. Research has shown that most fail and the process can end up being demoralizing.
But there's one resolution that I think every entrepreneur (or aspiring one) should adopt, whether it's New Year's or not: Resolve to be the best at getting better. It's an idea espoused by Brian Balfour, vice president of growth at my company, HubSpot, for high-growth teams but the principle applies to personal growth as well.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a wantrepeneur, chances are you’re someone who likes to think big and shifts gears early and often on things. As a result, committing to a one-time goal like learning to code or dropping 10 pounds can get lost amid the rush, assigned a lower priority or just become uninteresting after a time.
A commitment to becoming the best at getting better requires only a fundamental admission that you’re not perfect and a desire to outlearn your peers on a daily basis.
Here are three reasons why becoming the best at getting better is the highest possible aim you could have for 2015.
Related: Future-Proof Your Career in 2015
1. You'll be forced to confront weaknesses.
How often do you really think about what you’re not good at? Chances are, you think about it when you’re applying for jobs, knowing that the inevitable “Tell us about your biggest weakness” comment will arise. Or you consider it when faced with a work project for which you're grossly overmatched.
Resolving to become the best at getting better turns that model on its head: Rather than thinking about your weaknesses only when you have to, you think about them early and often. Most people treat weaknesses like birthdays or sunsets: They are inevitable and immutable.
Setting up an exception to that rule forces you to be more self-aware on a daily basis, which can only make you a better manager, leader, employee and entrepreneur.
2. You'll set the stage for continued learning at your company.
Hubris is a magnet for disruption. The second you think you know it all (or make decisions based on that attitude), you’re in trouble. The most effective way to combat this challenge is by setting a tone that learning is a priority, not an afterthought.
HubSpot keeps learning front and center with tuition reimbursement for employees at all levels, manager roundtables for taking deep dives into how organizational leaders have tackled big challenges and HubTalks featuring leaders from a wide variety of fields (such as Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Patty McCord from Netflix).
Often, the most powerful example an executive can set for employees is publicly acknowledging that he or she doesn’t know everything: Doing so sets a tone that learning is not only encouraged but also expected and gives people explicit permission to learn on the job.
3. You will increase your market value.
A short time ago, sales managers worked with the training team at HubSpot to identify the characteristics of sales representatives who succeeded and thrived in their role. After poring over every possible variable, they found that biggest leading indicator of success had nothing to do with the school the rep attended or years of experience.
The biggest indicator of success was an ability to listen well and adjust his or her approach based on the feedback received. I’d take a coachable, ambitious and tenacious employee over a talented, smart but lackadaisical employee any day.
Committing to being the best at getting better makes you inherently more marketable: Every startup needs more people like that on its team. And every investor looks for someone who's both willing and able to pivot, adjust and experiment on an ongoing basis.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet far too many employees let personal and professional improvement fall to the wayside throughout the year because they get lost in the minutiae of life.
So this year, instead of committing to one short-term goal, set your sights higher: Committing to being the best at getting better is a surefire way to grow your career, your business and your company.