Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Be a Finisher

Great blog by Brad Lomenick...

I love people who get things done. Who execute. Who make it happen. Who finish.

Of all the traits of people on my team and of people I work with, for, alongside and in partnership with, the “finisher” trait always is one of the top at the list. When it comes to hiring new employees, I want a finisher. It is the #1 trait related to work ethic that I look for in a new hire.

In today’s “free agent” culture, almost anyone can be an “idea guy.” There is no lack of new ideas, new concepts, a new pithy word, a new organization, a new startup idea, or a new perspective. Ideas are a dime a dozen. And I get pitched constantly on a brand new concept or startup or idea that I know will never make it to the finish line because the person pitching me is not someone who can get it done.

Great teams move ideas from concept to completion. And to do that, you have to have finishers on your team. The folks who are intrinsically wired to make things happen, and bulldog their way to the finish line. The team members who find joy in checking things off the list. But not just a task machine. Finishing is not just about completing tasks. What matters is whether you can carry the ball all the way down the field and cross the finish line, running over the goal line into the end zone.

How many projects are sitting in “idle” mode for you right now? Are you still “working” on that same idea from a couple of years ago?

Take a moment and think about who that is on your team. If you don’t have someone in this role, go find them immediately. This is incredibly important if you are the leader- you have to have someone on your team in whom you have ultimate confidence that if you hand them a project, they will get it done… and without your constant management of them. The answer can’t constantly be “we’re still working on it….”. That is an excuse for either being lazy or unfocused or in the wrong role.

For our team here at Catalyst, it is imperative that everyone ultimately plays the finisher role. Now some have to more than others, but no one can only be the “idea” guy. Everyone is required to execute and own projects from start to finish. It’s a non-negotiable, and deep seated part of our culture. We take incredible pride in being able to take a concept and turn it into a finished project. This is a distinctive part of our culture and DNA here. We’re serious about it.