Be Great or Quit Now

I spent the day today with my fellow Gestalt Scrum Masters meeting about what we want to accomplish as a team within the company. It was a productive meeting overall. There were quite a few good discussions that have led to some meaningful action items. I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead.

The Dip on Amazon.comWhen discussing our vision for the Scrum Master team within Gestalt I went on a (slight) rant. I couldn’t help it. I read Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, while on the plane last night and one idea hasn’t left me: Be great, don’t settle for anything less. Don’t waste your professional life in pursuit of anything less than greatness. You can be mediocre anywhere, anytime. Quit when you’re headed for a dead-end. Quit when you’re headed for a cliff. Only pursue those opportunities that provide the opportunity for greatness.

Greatness at Gestalt is no small feat. We’re providing software and consulting services to the Department of Defense. The DOD can no longer afford the status quo of paying big bucks to big companies that take many years to deliver mounds of paper and little of value. The DOD’s “competition” these days doesn’t thrive on big budgets, big monolithic organizations or deadlines in the far off future. The DOD’s “competition” thrives on constraints, is massively distributed and constantly seeking payoffs sooner rather than later. Greatness at Gestalt is delivering the right technology solutions quickly and in an open, non-proprietary manner so that the DOD can succeed in an ever changing environment.

Number One ButtonScrum Master’s play a big role in helping Gestalt as a whole reach greatness. It’s not because we are more important or talented than anyone else within the company. The role we play within Gestalt is one of leadership on a variety of levels; serving as change agents that touch many different areas within the company. We are only a piece to the puzzle called greatness, but if we don’t do our jobs well then there are many others that suffer as a result and the puzzle is incomplete. Not being great as Scrum Masters at Gestalt is not an option. As Seth Godin says on page 57 of The Dip: If you’re not going to get to #1, you might as well quit now.

This entry was published on October 2, 2007 under the following topics Agile, Biz

  • Love the sentiment Josh. From the good side of anything the naturally inevitable regression toward the mean sucks – whether it means my kids will be shorter than me (or smarter) – the destination is mediocrity.

  • Great post, Josh. I think I need to borrow that book. I personally strive to be better than average at everything I do. I don’t always succeed, but at least I give it an honest effort. Because of this, as you know, I often get very frustrated when those around me settle for average (or less) and aren’t willing to push themselves to be anything better. I think I’m going to use this blog post’s title at least once a day now. “Be great, or quit now!” I love it!