There are, fundamentally, three kinds of professional. Those who blow you away with their talent and passion, those who are completely inadequate, and those who are “fine” but not heading anywhere.
In this article I wanted to talk only about the latter category, which I suspect is a lot of people in the legal profession.
David Maister calls these people “Cruisers”, a term designed to denote that they are just fine at their job (perhaps even great) and everyone knows that they are just fine, and if they want that particular job done they should go to that person.
Cruisers – No Room for Self-Improvement
What is it that distinguishes the Cruiser? It’s their lack of change. They are not on a constant course of self-improvement.
The Cruiser, while fine, is not going anywhere. They are not improving. They are happy to turn up to work each day, each week, each year and to do their job extremely competently – but they do not have that extra spark. You know, the thing that takes a person from one day to the next in a constant quest for self-improvement?
Let’s take a look at some characteristics of Cruisers, and perhaps you might recognise some of them.
Cruisers are Placid
Now let’s not be harsh here – I am fairly well known to have a pretty even temperament, so I’m not talking about that. I’m using the word “placid” in the sense that Cruisers are content with their own abilities and station. They do not have the drive for self improvement nor, often, the drive to help improve others.
You can see this in their dedication to extra curricular tasks. Seminars, in-house talks, and marketing events are often participated in only grudgingly if at all. You see, although the Cruiser is just fine at their job their desire and passion to extend themselves is limited.
Cruisers are Arrogant
AH-huh! Now we have it. Cruisers, you must understand, are often the ones to say things like “we’re doing just fine like we are, why should we do more?”.
The reality is that every day we find strategies to do more work with less effort, to make more money, to be more productive and efficient. Cruisers have no interest in learning these things, thinking that the way they do things can and should be the only way, because for the moment it works just fine.
Cruisers lack the right Attitude
The interesting thing is that Cruisers are not lacking in talent. Far from it, often they are very talented. It is, however, partly that fact that causes their misconception of their abilities and how they don’t need to change anything.
The difference between Cruisers and what Maister calls “Dynamos” is one of passion and persistence. Cruisers lack the energy, desire or patience for sustained self-improvement, and as a result the cruisers are going to fail.
Are you a cruiser? Watch this space if you’re worried, and shortly I’ll talk about how you can transition from Cruiser to Dynamo.