New, York, New York

What makes greatness, great?

In full disclosure, I’m not a Patriots fan, never have been, never will be, but in watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, I started to dissect the Patriots, Tom Brady, and more broadly, what the dynasty has been able to accomplish.

The thing is, while becoming extraordinary requires some talent, those who dominate their industries share a number of the same qualities. Here are a few.

1. Be consistent in the smallest of tasks

  • It’s not one big performance or successful project that makes the difference, it’s a sustained level of performance, over time, across the smallest of tasks. Deploying consistency in the little things leads to consistency in larger areas, which eventually has a compound effect. Tom Brady, for example, deployed consistency in his training/diet for years while studying film day-in-and-day-out, leading to better practices, which influenced his performances in game. The same goes for Jordan or anyone else that’s been labeled as elite…. small, but important, tasks add up.

2. Build confidence under pressure

  • Pressure is present in any job or profession. Whether you have a big client presentation or are launching a new campaign, being confident under pressure an attribute that is hard to come by and harder to maintain. Not only does it mean delivering when needed, it means being able to admit you may not have an answer, but are willing to figure it out.

3. Put the right people around you 

  • No great player ever won without a strong team. Jordan had Pippen and Rodman. Brady has Gronk and Edelman. Bezos has Jeff Wilke. Without the right team in place, it’s hard, if not impossible, to succeed. The right team compliments the gaps and supplements the effort.

4. Define your strengths and weaknesses

  • Knowing where you fall short, and the willingness to admit it, is powerful. Too many times, we hear people unwilling to admit their weak in a specific skill. Too many times we hear the blame game across organizations. Being OK with shortfalls and doubling down on strengths can only help amplify the compound effect.

So, what makes greatness, great? Nothing out of the ordinary, rather a willingness to put in the work over a number of years, while finding your best self in parallel (this is the hard part).

-Al Cavalieri

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