Seth Green’s observation on my favorite quote:
Seth: so your gchat quote….I’ve actually been thinking about a variant of this recently. Because I took the GREs and I’m reminded of when i took the SATs, and how in my HS, excellence was just the norm. And excellence begets excellence, because belief, faith, really matters! For instance, a lot of people I knew got an 800 on the SAT verbal. I think once a few people did, and people knew it, other people not only started shooting higher, but also starting believing that it could happen. It also seems true with sports teams. For whatever reasons, a few schools routinely turn good to very good high school recruits into stars on the track, because when you’re training with people who can break 4 in the mile, you start to believe it’s possible for you too. One of the challenges of my work these past two years is that excellence has NOT been the norm. in City Year, compliance and “do-no-harm” were the standards and when I was doing a good but not great job as a corps member, someone who had extremely good rapport with the kids but who needed to work on controlling my temper and also not letting everything bring me down, there was no one there to coach me on it, because my performance was so above the norm that resources had to go elsewhere.
The situation was even more extreme in Thailand, where the expectations were zero. And that was extremely frustrating. Self-motivation can only go so far! A norm of excellence drags everyone up. Creating that, cultivating that, SUSTAINING that – these are some of the critical challenges facing any organization. If you can figure out how to do it, let me know.
– Seth Green