More Advice For Student Success

August 29, 2011

The fall semester starts today. I am teaching my regular organizational behavior class to MBA students, and for the first time ever I’m teaching a version of that same course entirely online in our new Executive MBA program.  I’m also teaching my first semester long course in personal branding to undergraduate students (I’ve been teaching this in the summer only for several years). I taught a version of that class for the first time in the spring to MBA students.

I’ve offered advice to students in two previous posts that you can find by clicking here and here. My new piece of advice is this: set high standards for yourself.

Don’t compare yourself to others. That is a recipe for complacency and mediocrity. Don’t set your standards based on explicit requirements, with a goal of doing just enough work to “pass”. When you get feedback that your effort was not good enough, you will be very unhappy. Instead of seeing yourself as the source of your own discomfort and displeasure, you will probably find someone else to blame (e.g. me).

Expect more than the norm from yourself and you simply won’t have anything to worry about – ever. External standards and expectations become irrelevant when you operate above them.

I framed this post as advice for student success, but setting high personal standards is a recipe for success in all aspects of work and life. What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Related Posts:

Remarkably Unprofessional Behavior

Attributions: The Fundamental Attribution Error And The Self-Serving Bias

Attributions: Let’s First Talk Locus Of Control

About the Author:

Comments (14)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Dr. Bret,
    I really do wish I could have taken the class for a “long” semester! I hope your new students appreciate how lucky they are to have more time to develop thier brand with your eye and mind helping them!


    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Christina! Thanks for the kind words. You are off to a great start so keep it up. the only way you lose is to quit! Thanks, Bret

  2. Bret, I hope the undergrads appreciate what you are giving them. The MBA class was certainly one of my favorites and it really opened my eyes as to the possibilities of SM.

    You are right that you can’t compare yourself with others. It is better to focus on developing your own voice.

    If you need anything, let me know. I would be happy to help 🙂

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    You did great in that class, Miriam. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and thanks for the kind words! Bret

  3. Michelle Fox says:

    I am a big fan of your concept of “excellence as a form of deviance.” Conformity has no place in higher education! Good luck with your new classes!


    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Wish I could take credit for that one, Michelle. Got it from a Bob Quinn book. Love it. Thanks! Bret

  4. Lauren Hinds says:

    I think your paragraph below should be in bold because it could not be more true in all aspects of life!

    “Expect more than the norm from yourself and you simply won’t have anything to worry about – ever. External standards and expectations become irrelevant when you operate above them.”

    One of the hardest challenges I currently face in the workplace is developing or inspiring the drive in employees to perform above the basic standards and requirements of projects.

    I hope you learn a lot from teaching the executive online course!

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Lauren! I hope you are doing well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Bret

  5. Taking the leap online will be interesting, I look forward to hearing more about it. It is definitely easier for students to become complacent in an online course but those who take it seriously will benefit from learning at their own pace. Good luck!

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    Welcome, Jacob. The online environment is different, no doubt. But there is no reason it can’t also be very rigorous and relevant. I know I will learn a lot this semester. Thanks! Bret

  6. Mark says:

    I am one of the online EMBA students, and I’m very excited to begin the journey with you Dr. Simmons. I will heed your call and set my own standards that will both challenge and guide me through this learning experience.

    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    We are very glad to have you in our first cohort, Mark! Let us know if we can ever do anything to help. Thanks! Bret

  7. Joe Russo says:

    Who was it that said, “be the change you want to see in the world”?

    So, setting high standards for oneself is a way of setting a good example, and thereby being the change that is so desperately needed.


    Bret L. Simmons Reply:

    not sure who said that Joe but they were right. thanks. Bret