Learn what you can do to be personally productive. Learn more about priority setting with clarity and a singular focus. Chris shares the 10 keys of personal productivity.
(A special excerpt from The Go-To Person’s Guide to Success)
In 1961, “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” opened on Broadway. During its run of 1,471 performances, the show won 7 Tony Awards and a New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award. The play (and subsequent movie) was great, despite the fact that nobody can succeed in business “without really trying.” Success in business (or anything else, for that matter) requires work – hard, focused, disciplined, and committed work. There are no shortcuts to success.
Success requires the proper use of certain knowledge and skills. Without the proper mental foundation, there’s no way your knowledge and skills will be used effectively. I refer to this foundation as “mental toughness.” Why? Because any level of success must be built upon it. Developing mental toughness is a choice.
Here are three key steps to get you going in the right direction: Continue reading
Jack Welch, the famous CEO of General Electric, once said, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own and live the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion through effective execution.” If you thought those were just “words”, when Welch retired in September 2000 and GE had a $402 billion market value.
Today GE – after going through several Welch relationships – has a market value of around $100 billion. They are a mere shadow of the Welch era.
Learning point #1: Regardless of the size or scope of your business, do you have a clear vision and are you “seriously” passionate and committed to making it a reality? Continue reading
I received some great feedback and comments from many of you regarding my last week wake-up call regarding the importance of saying “no” when appropriate.
During the week I had some subsequent conversations with clients about it and thought that it would be helpful to expand further on at least two areas where saying no is of critical importance to you, the development and the success of your company.
First, when you are working on something important to you and give in with a “yes” to the question “Do you have a minute?” you are basically giving up any control over your own destiny. Being a good leader doesn’t mean you are constantly available to everyone. It’s impossible to function effectively that way.
The world we live and work in is not perfect. We need to make the best decisions based on the information we have at that time. In this imperfect world, we have many opportunities to make decisions. And making no decision can be far worse. Learn the formula for success when it comes decisions and even mistakes.
Chapter 5: From “The Go-To Person’s Guide To Success”
Thought I would share with you a key success concept from my latest book – “The Go-To Person’s Guide To Success”.
There is an old African fable about knowing your purpose in life, which goes something like this:
Every morning, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning, a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or the gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.
When you know your purpose and believe in yourself, like the gazelle or the lion, you are more likely to successfully meet any challenge. This is especially true if you choose to manage your boss and be a go-to person in your company. My son Andrew knew his purpose. He wanted to be seen as a go-to person and he put together a plan to become one. It’s that simple.
To stay the course and move closer toward your purpose, you need to have a clear focus. We’ve all been advised to concentrate on the things we can control. Yet, we often find ourselves spending (wasting) the majority of our time on things we have no control over.
To illustrate this better, take a look at the visual I use with my clients when coaching them on the important concept of “you management”.
The large square on the outside represents the things you cannot control. There are way more things in life that we have no control over than there are things we can control.
I’m not sure what causes us to gravitate toward the larger square. Maybe it’s because of the sheer volume and size of it. If we have a better understanding of the detrimental impact the activities in the largest square have on our lives, our focus, and our purpose, perhaps we would be less inclined to give into those no-value, time-wasting distractions (much like those smelly Skunks!). The result will be a more effective use of our time and a severely decreased level of aggravation.
The middle square represents the things in life that you can influence. To be an effective go-to person, you have to also know how to be a person of influence, which means you are able to get others to see things your way or find a middle ground for compromise. We have more influence over things than we realize, but most people don’t spend too much time trying to influence others. We get too caught up in trying to win or prove our own point instead of looking for mutual win-wins for both parties.
The smallest square at the center is everything in our lives and our careers that we can control. It stands to reason that we should spend the most time concentrating on the things that fall inside the small circle. That is where we’re going to get the highest results and the most benefit. When you work on the tasks and activities you can control, you have the opportunity to produce outcomes that have the greatest impact on you, your boss, your customers, and your company.
If you find yourself tempted to wander off outside of the square you can control, refer back to this diagram and get re-focused.
How often do you put up with certain employees, clients, or market conditions because they just don’t bother you “enough”? That’s comfortable inaction. Waiting may lead you to a point of no return. Here’s how to stop allowing comfortable inaction to dictate your future.
I can remember telling my sons, and later on, individuals who reported directly to me that I found perfection to be boring and frustrating. I urged them to pursue excellence, or, in other words, to do the very best they could with whatever they had at the time. You know, “play the hand you’re dealt” in the best way possible.
Individuals who pursue perfection – and many of us have met them (and some of you may be one of them) – are never satisfied. They are always looking for one more piece of information or data to help them make a decision or take action. Oddly, they never make that decision and end up frustrated and, in many cases, demoralized. They are, in fact, very unhappy people. I sometimes describe those seeking perfection as individuals who are “studying all of the sides of a circle.”
Unlike individuals who set stretch goals and who are resilient in order to effectively deal with setbacks, perfectionists aim high goals (and in some cases unrealistically) in order to demonstrate their value to others. Then, when they fall short they become brutally critical of themselves. This, in turn, leads them feeling that whatever they do is never enough. Perfectionism, left unchecked, can lead to serious mental health issues. I read recently that research suggests that being too hard on yourself can actually limit one’s ability to achieve success. Being perfect makes it harder to think clearly because of the stress that it causes.
Here are 5 simple actions you can take to offset any desires you might have to be perfect:
- Focus on the best outcome you can deliver versus harshly judging yourself.
- Focus on taking action to keep moving forward and learning as you go.
- See mistakes as normal and as learning opportunities, and not as a “failing grade” on the imaginary report card in your mind.
- Set realistic and achievable goals and celebrate small victories. Learn to give yourself a “high-5” at every opportunity that you can.
- When being threatened by overwhelm and frustration, stop where you are and identify one positive action you can take – big or small (small is preferred) – that will change the momentum in your favor.
Give it your best effort. It’s really OK not to be perfect.
Productive people get more done, achieve better results and earn far more than everyone else by devoting maximum time on being “focused” on their top priority.
Focus is a matter of deciding on what things you’re not going to do. Great results are achieved by how narrow you can make your focus. You need to be doing fewer things for a greater effect or impact, instead of doing more things that only results in side effects.
We all have a hard time finding that one thing because we’re committed to too many other things. We tell ourselves several lies: Continue reading
SOS: Chris discusses “shiny object syndrome” – one of the biggest distractions you may face. Here’s how to stop the glare of SOS.