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"People think amazing is a big stretch. It's not. It's just being a little better than average - all of the time." Shep Hyken

A sales rep takes the time to personally check in on clients now. A manager goes out of her way to help a direct report excel on a project. A new hire speaks up and tells his supervisor about an idea that'll allow him to do his job more efficiently. People like this elevate their performance - and their results - by reaching beyond average. "Amazing" isn't unattainable - and if it is not innate, it can become habit. How can you be a "little better than average"?

What is Amazing? (And What Isn't?)

In his article, "Six Reasons Why People Are Amazing - and Three Reasons They Aren't," customer service expert and author Shep Hyken identifies the attributes he believes make customer service "superstars"(and which can be applied to virtually any role):

  • They care about their jobs, their customers, their company, and themselves.
  • They can balance the company's needs with those of the customer.
  • They solve problems and develop solutions that make everyone - customer and company - happy.
  • They're proactive, looking for ways to improve service while resolving problems before they take root.
  • They are aware. They know their actions impact the customers' decision to do business with them in the future, so they remain "in the moment" and focused.
  • They create confidence. The people with whom they work trust their expertise and ability.

On the flip side, people who are not "amazing," tend to:

  • Overlook opportunities.
  • Disregard small details or actions that could elevate their performance to amazing.
  • Think amazing is out of reach.

This is certainly the crux of Hyken's article: amazing is not beyond our reach. If most of us are average (and we are, by definition!), how difficult is it to be just a little better? Hyken argues that it is not difficult at all. It simply requires a willingness to do a little more, care a little more, try a little harder.

A 10-Scale of Amazing

A 10-scale is a useful tool in performance evaluations, coaching sessions, and even boosting your current level of amazing. An honest self-assessment can help you bridge the gap between average and a little bit better than average.

On a scale of 1 to 10, for example, how much do you care about your job, customers, company, self? How would you rate your ability to balance the needs of the customer with the needs of the company - and, with your own needs? Going through each of Hyken's six criteria for amazing in this way allows you to look at your own success from a qualitative standpoint and ask, "How engaged am I in each of these areas?" It's likely that those who score at the high end of the scale are those who achieve greater levels of success.

And if you score at the low end or inconsistently throughout the areas (e.g. 10 for caring, 4 for ability to balance), you can pinpoint areas for improvement and growth. You can, essentially, reach for amazing. As Hyken writes, "It's easy to be better than average some of the time. It's the best that are better than average, all of the time."

Aristotle wrote, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit." Kick the habit of being average and figure out how to be an amazing person.


Larry Hart

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