Why the 1,000-Hour Pro is the ultimate team player

A couple of months ago, I read Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Ideal Team Player. The book has gotten a lot of attention from business leaders and learners alike, as it should. I would strongly recommend reading the book from cover to cover, but for the sake of today, I’ll give you the bottom line. Lencioni asserts that the ideal team player is “humble, hungry and smart.” Humility is fairly self-explanatory. Hunger is the ideal team player’s desire to get better. Smart is the one that is a bit unique. Smart is the ability of the ideal team player to “read the room.” The ideal team player has a high emotional intelligence and knows how to deal with people in a self-aware manner.

When those three characteristics are perfectly in balance, you find the ideal team player. Lucky for us, at their best, the 1,000-Hour Pros cover those bases pretty well. Here’s how.

The 1,000-Hour Pro is humble.

Humility is one of the bases for the 1,000-Hour Pro, as well as the ideal team player. The Pro is always learning and searching for new challenges. When those new challenges arise, the Pro is aware that they aren’t the expert and have a ton to learn. If you try to learn without a humble attitude, you’ll find yourself not only learning next to nothing, but you’ll have made quite a few people upset. Asking experts to help you learn is the best way to get better and become a Pro in any area, but no one likes to work with someone who isn’t humble. Approach a new task with humility, and you’re well on your way to adding a skill to the tool belt.

The 1,000-Hour Pro is hungry.

A lazy 1,000-Hour Pro is truly an oxymoron. The Pro is always looking for the next challenge and how they can get better. That’s the definition of hunger. A desire to be a constant learner paired with a discontent for mediocrity makes the Pro a worker that is willing to hustle and grind until the job is not only done but done well. And even then, “well” doesn’t just mean up to the status quo. The Pro knows that to stand out, they have to go above and beyond and create something completely new. That’s part of what drives their hunger and makes them the team player your team can’t live without.

The 1,000-Hour Pro is smart.

Because the 1,000-Hour Pro doesn’t have one specific niche that they know a lot about, they also have to be able to interact with many different people. Existing in multiple skill worlds requires different hats to be worn when interacting with people, as well as knowing what people need emotionally in each specific situation. The Pro knows all of this as they’ve been a part of each person’s work world at different times. The emotional intelligence of a pro is unmatched because interaction after interaction has given them the chance to experience the spectrum.

So what’s all this boil down to? When Lencioni describes the ideal team player, he’s describing the 1,000-Hour Pro. The way that the 1,000-Hour Pros operate forces them to check off every one of Lencioni’s pieces to being an ideal team player. So the questions I have for you are… 1.) If you’re a manager, why wouldn’t you want the Pros on your team? Fill your team with Pros, and your team will push forward like you haven’t seen before. 2.) If you aren’t a Pro, why not? Choose to be a Pro, and you’ll be a team player that your organization can’t live without.

What we can learn from those leaving Google

Google runs the world. Whether or not we’d like to admit it, it’s mostly true. Google has exploded over the past few years, and it’s no secret that they hire only the best and the brightest to work as part of Google’s constant pursuit of innovation and world-changing.

But here’s something interesting. Google has one of the highest turnover rates in the world. While being consistently ranked as the best place to work, people are still leaving at what some would call an “alarming” rate. Part of that could be due to the fact that the average employee is changing jobs 10-15 times in their career. However, that’s the norm now, so why is Google still turning people over at one of the highest rates in the world?

Like I said before, Google only hires the best and the brightest. Their interview process asks questions that force candidates to think critically and creatively. From the start, they know their employees can think creatively, grandly, and across the whole spectrum. What do they know when they hire someone? They know they’re getting a 1,000-Hour Pro on the team.

We know that the 1,000-Hour Pro can do all of the things that Google is looking for when they interview, but what does this have to do with their turnover rate?

The 1,000-Hour Pro is always curious and searching. The 1,000-Hour Pro is always looking for a new challenge. The 1,000-Hour Pro isn’t satisfied with the status quo. Oftentimes, that means they aren’t content with where they are. They’re looking for challenge, curiosity, new.

And according to traditional business thought, a high turnover rate is a sign of an unhealthy business culture or even a failing business. However, it’s 2017 and the world has changed. The world of business is seeing more turnover because the workforce is searching to be a group of 1,000-Hour Pros. The 1,000-Hour Pro is infiltrating the world’s best companies, innovating and coming up with world-changing ideas there and then moving on to the next place where there’s a new challenge.

If you find there’s a superstar on your team that’s starting to get stir-crazy, find a way to give them a new challenge, and they’ll stick around. And if turnover happens, don’t be disheartened. This is the norm when you hire the best of the best.

The 1,000-Hour Pros will always look for a new challenge, which will sometimes mean there will be turnover. That means you need to be ready to challenge you’re 1,000-Hour Pros to keep them around, but always be aware that they might leave for something new. That’s ok, though. There will be more and more 1,000-Hour Pros coming through the ranks.

How to change the world, one rabbit-trail at a time

When I started as a freshman at Virginia Tech, I was under the impression that I wanted to be an engineer. Truth be told, I didn’t want to be an engineer, and that all manifested in a math class my freshman year.

I didn’t fail it. In fact, I got a B+, but I found myself hating it. I was able to do it and get decent grades, but I didn’t enjoy class, homework, tests or any of the work. I didn’t really care at all about formulas and derivatives and angles and solving for “x.” And after that final in December of 2010, I walked away confident that math would not be in my future.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the math or that I wasn’t capable of learning it. I just wasn’t curious about math, so learning math burned me out.

That was the first time I realized how important it was to be curious.

In fact, in October 2014, Scientific American published an article about a research study that concluded that when your curiosity is piqued, the chemical balance in your brain changes preparing you to learn. Simply put: become curious, learn more effectively.

If I’m going to be the best version of myself, I need to constantly learn and learn well. The best leaders, creators, innovators and, ultimately, the world changers are constantly learning and stretching themselves. I need to be a constant learner because I’m not content to just go through life getting decent grades and working on something I am just capable of.

However, I’m only going to change the world if I care about what I do. I’m only going to push myself if I’m passionate. But how does passion manifest itself? You guessed it; in curiosity.

So take some time today to find what you’re curious about, and what you’re not so curious about. Maybe you’ll learn that you aren’t a fan of math, so take that one off the list. Find what makes you wonder, what makes you dream and what makes you tick. Then chase that thing.

But as a 1,000-Hour Pro don’t limit yourself to just one thing because there isn’t one single thing that will wholly satisfy your desire to learn. I love learning about wine, but reading about the latest vintage doesn’t scratch the surface of all the other things going on in the world that I want to know about.

Even if it seems like a waste of time, the things you are curious about are making you a better learner and a more well-rounded person. Chase the things you’re curious about, and if you aren’t curious, walk right out of that final and leave the textbook behind. You’re only going to change the world if you’re curious about how you can.