Perennial High Performers
Regardless of obstacles encountered and challenges faced, administrative professionals carry on the good work of keeping their workplaces running
By Wayne Prins, Executive Director
I have a friend who has been a successful coach of a university volleyball team for a long time. Under his leadership, the team has won several national championships, and in the years when they didn’t win the championship, they’ve always been among the top teams in the country. They are perennial high performers. Everyone on the team—coaches, players, and staff—go into each season with high expectations and determination, and they always seem to succeed.
I use “perennial” here intentionally. Gardeners know the most common use of the word is in reference to plants that come back on their own each year. That’s my kind of gardening: plant it once and that’s it! Even after the harshest winter, spring comes, and that perennial sprouts out of the ground again. Their enduring reliability is remarkable and inspiring.
I’m intrigued by perennial high performers. I’m talking about those people, and teams, who just seem to get it done well year after year. How do they do that? Is it external conditions that enable or inspire such performance? Is it the product of personal characteristics and internal motivation? Maybe it’s linked to their supervision; good managers facilitate good performance. Maybe it’s motivated by the pursuit of a greater cause?
I’ve watched my friend the volleyball coach in action numerous times. Having been an athlete on a team, I know a coach is expected to say and do the right thing at the right time, no matter what the situation is: whether you’re playing well and losing, playing poorly and still winning, or anything in between.
Some time ago, I asked that friend about his approach to coaching and how he achieves such consistent excellence. As I recall, his response was pretty simple. You need each player to be technically sound with mastery of the required skills and the team needs to be cohesive and in pursuit of a clear and common goal. And then there’s the X factor that separates good from great: when each member of the team is motivated by something greater than themselves, whatever that might be.
Each spring, we celebrate Administrative Professionals Day, a day to recognize and honour the immense contributions and achievements made by those in administrative roles in companies and organizations across Canada. It occurs to me that my annual reflection on this contribution is a perennial acknowledgement of sustained high performance. It’s simply remarkable that regardless of obstacles encountered and challenges faced, administrative professionals carry on the good work of keeping things running smoothly and efficiently.
A heartfelt thank you to those of you who hone your skills, pour yourselves into your work, care for your coworkers, and anchor your motivation in something greater than yourself. Your workplaces couldn’t be what they are, or do what they do, without you.
To all administrative staff, thank you for your perennial excellence.