6 Absolutes for Top Performance.

Does your day start with something along this order? You pick up the phone, “Can we get together next Tuesday?” “Oh man we are so swamped, I don’t know how I can get freed up!” goes the voice on the other end.

Most of us in management and sales end up saying the same thing! We get so busy with our “to do list” that it’s a miracle we get anything done. Is it the work load? Or is it something about us that causes this “Frenzied Time Management”?

A Bias for Action is a book by Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal that I am just finishing. Based on 10 years of interviews with managers around the world they show only 10% of business managers as highly effective! They refer to a quote from Lucius Seneca of BC Rome that explores the concept of “busy idleness” which the majority of us still struggle with today. So what is it they found that will help us maintain a high level of effectiveness? What is it they found that separates the highly productive 10% from the rest?

Here are six absolutes they found separating the leaders.

Focus, the 10% had a very strong focus and very clear goal. Now how many times have you heard or read this? But these people could create a detailed picture of their objective. Note not objectives, but objective. The 10% had a few very well defined goals and objectives that meshed, not a list of 20!
Through out the book they provide examples of leaders that were caught up in the frenzy of too much to do. But these people were able to look past the “to do list” to that which was most important and focus on the important objectives. What is it that you should really be focused on?

In our training we are continually encouraging participants to ask, “What is the best use of my time right now?”

Total commitment was the second key. The metaphor they used was Julius Caesar in 49 BC having to cross the Rubicon River with his army to defeat Pompeii. He knew once he crossed the river they had to win completely or die! The 10% make this kind of commitment and crossed their Rubicon.
Personally I can point to several times when this type of commitment has produced success. I can also point to times when success was fleeting and realized I had not crossed my Rubicon.

Passion equals Energy, and the two propel one forward. Have you ever been so energized that you couldn’t sleep and you just did not get tired?
I recall building the seed business in the late 80’s when we need 400% growth to stay alive. At 5 am being on the phone buying and selling seed before the growers were in the field and still being on the phone at 10 pm when they were back home. This was six days a week with a full day in between. Being tired just did not occur to me. By the way, the 5 year goal was accomplished in 3 years. Have you ever been this energized? Wasn’t it great!

This is how people with a strong passion can function at such a high level. They have energy because they have passion for what they are doing!

I also recall another business that I found myself in and disliking. I had no passion and all the motivation, self-talk and willpower could not overcome it. It was a financial loss.

Forget motivation, have willpower! This is far more than just the surface motivation everyone seems to talk about and promote. This is internal willpower to overcome obstacles that will always occur. Willpower to overcome opinions, opposition, distractions and inevitable problems that come with any forward motion.
A poster of Albert Einstein quotes, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

This is where willpower along with passion and focus keeps one going after the “motivation” has died, because motivation alone will not overcome the constant barrage of obstacles.

Tackle conflict, the 10% understand that conflict will always arise when moving forward. They also realize that the strongest alliances can come from working through conflict. Rather than avoid conflict, the 10% deal with it in a positive controlled way so they can both learn from it as well as move forward.
Want to move forward? Reframe the conflict in your life from a negative to a way to make progress. Use “Outcome Based Thinking” as a tool to work through the situation and find new solutions.

Creative alternatives, break a few rules, these are the common mode of operation for the 10%. They fully understand the need for structure, policy and procedure. They also realize that change is often times a square peg in a round hole. They have a strong focus, but not blinders. When the conflict and resistance encountered they look for creative alternatives to get the forward motion.
Because they have a strong focus and commitment, the ability to “visualize” the situation is very easy and so do other alternatives. This keeps them focused on the outcomes and helps them to get others to “buy in”.

Ok, yes I have heard this before and yes I know all about this. The news program 20/20 had four rags to billionaire/multi-millionaire stories on the other night. Each of these four business leaders reflected all six of these absolutes! They all emphasized the idea of passion and focus as their foundations. One of them was Ebay.

Through out my personal and business life I have found that when all six elements are present in what I am doing, my performance is at its highest level. If one of them is missing, so is my performance.

It’s easy to see these six absolutes in very successful people every day. How can you or I continually develop the skills to be in the 10% group?

For more on Outcome Based Thinking, Conflict Resolution, Reverse Engineering and Performance Based Management, visit our web sites at www.busarc.com and www.hgoergerassoc.com

Outcome Based Thinking, Dr. Kevin Hogan, Psychology of Persuasion

Harlan Goerger

Author's Bio: 

Harlan Goerger is the National Director of Training for Business Architects. With ove 25 years training companies of all sizes and types in Sales, Management and personal development. His recent book, The Buying Gap, includes new strategies he developed in his training programs to get you "yes" faster!
Harlan@BusArc.com www.BusArcOnLine.com