If you want to excel in your professional life and get the most out of your business, work with those people who will take you to new limits. Training with these individuals will extend your comfort zone, teach you new skills and more importantly, allow you to gain insight into how they think. Many businesses fail to grow because their founders get stuck in a rut of the same old, day after day. Only when they immerse themselves with a group of high performers do they appreciate what is possible. High performers think in a different way, they have a mind-set that is conducive to grasping opportunities and ruthless execution to make things happen.
Defining who you believe to be the best in your field of work provides a benchmark for raising your own performance. Do away with any feeing of personal pride or sense of undermining your own capability and explore how you can spend time with those you identify as best in class.
High performing organisations consciously create conditions that get the best to push each other to new levels of performance. If you want to achieve greater success then align yourself to those who consistently out perform the rest. Be open in your approach to these people and ask them – Please can you help? Or please can I ask your advice? By asking in this way you are delivering a compliment and acknowledging their expertise and achievement mind-set. More often than not people will help. Your aim should be to:
- Shadow them on meetings and in their day to day activities
- Ask for some time to share their thoughts on why they constantly outperform
- Seek insight on how they think and what drives them
- Enquire what motivates them and what they read
- Try to find win-win ways of working
- Work out how your expertise can be of value to a high performer
- Seek out strategic partnerships
By training with the best you set intentions and expectations that lift your mind-set to new levels of attainment. Individuals you train with are different to mentors – they are the sparring partners that you work with to develop and grow your skills on a real time basis – they are pivotal to moving your business to a higher level. If the person you want to work with views you as a potential threat, the relationship will not work. Be honourable about your intentions and by no means use it to gain insights that would be of disservice to them – be clear, be up front – if a conflict of interest presents itself then walk away.
John Leach, CEO Winning Pitch
For more leadership and entrepreneurial advice, visit: winning-pitch.co.uk/for-business-leaders/
Allocating time to thinking and doing, in the right proportions, will significantly increase your chances of achieving business and personal growth. However, you must give due consideration to the quality of your thoughts as crisp and clear thinking will drive your plans in the right direction. Spending time thinking how to achieve your goals in stressful conditions creates chaotic thought patterns. This frame of mind adds no value and delivers minimal contribution to business success. You must make provision for Quality Thinking Time (QTT) – space to ponder without interference or distraction. A hectic life style resulting from trying to balance work, family, relationships and career can make QTT a challenging task.
Remember, it is vital for you to avoid over thinking situations, circumstances and options as this will lead to inertia. It will stop you from taking action. A maximum of 20% of your time should be allocated to gaining clarity of thought. The remaining 80% should then be devoted to doing. Individuals that fail to realise their goals can be sometimes be guilty of spending too much time thinking about what they are going to do and never getting on with it. Avoid pontificating about your desires and needs, be sure to get on with it when you have decided just exactly what it is you are going to do. Positive progress is only made when doing follows thinking, Dreams and visions will remain at home in the mind if you don’t push ourselves towards implementation. Failure to move on in business is often down to not grasping the nettle, however when we do the right things a personal momentum builds which manifests into positive outcomes. Think less, do more!
Thoughts + Doing = Results
The difference between success and failure is often down to whether action has been taken or not. The final thoughts are from Christopher Columbus:-
“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his or her chosen destination”
Personal development is the ultimate source of competitive advantage. When you stop learning you run the risk of your business becoming stagnant. Growing a business is one continuous learning journey and every new experience presents itself as an opportunity to acquire more knowledge. Entrepreneurial high achievers I have worked with are lifetime learners combining both formal and informal means of absorbing new information. What is your strategy for learning? Do you have a personal development plan? Are you open to the advice and guidance of the wisdom of others?
The growth of a business takes many twists and turns and growth comes in chapters, each one presenting its own challenges – you need to be prepared.
Openly speak to mentors, your peer group and trusted colleagues and ask them how they think you can improve. What could you do better? Rate yourself out of 10 in each of these areas:
I have clear business and personal goals, they are pursued with a passion
I am resilient and deal effectively with setbacks when they arise
I take ownership for the decisions I make but I listen carefully to the views of people I trust
I am motivated and just get on with it – success is down to me
I am a strong and effective leader (myself and others)
I work well with others and take a collaborative approach to business
I am innovative and take a creative approach to business
I am a respected individual within my market
I am an effective connector and communicator
I always aim to excel at what I do
By answering these questions honestly you start to build a picture of where your self-development needs to focus. Drill down into the specifics of each of your answer and define very clearly what things you are going to change. Identify the resources that you will need to move you on. Explore courses, new reading material, self-study or one to one coaching to address the shortfalls. Everyone has a preferred learning style, find one that suits you. However there is lots of wisdom in the Confucius philosophy of:
- I hear and I forget
- I see and I remember
- I do and I understand
The minute you think you know it all – complacency sets in and you could quite well be entering into dangerous territory.
You will not advance or achieve your business goals if you don’t commit to constantly learning.
You must have self-belief if you going to achieve your goals. There is no point embarking on a mission unless you are one hundred per cent certain you can succeed. The mindsets you start off with will largely dictate whether you are going to fulfill your aspirations. So, if you keep telling yourself you can succeed then you probably stand a good chance of doing so. The converse is also very true.
The mindset of Believe You Can is crucial to delivering a winning performance, it’s where it all starts:
BYC thinking must manifest into the use of positive words and actions, these must be congruent with the goals you set. If these two elements fall out of sync we can start to question whether we have what it takes to succeed. Keep repeating this phrase and after a while it will sink into your subconscious mind. The necessary activities needed, will then follow. Such mental programming will point you in the winning direction. It also acts as the antidote for negative self-talk. There must be an extremely strong bond and level of connectivity between BYC and the goals you set for yourself!
The BYC philosophy should become integral to your everyday life. If as part of your career or profession you manage or lead teams of people, it is your responsibility to embed such a thought process. No successful team ever wins without start off thinking that it can!
It is often the case that new projects and initiatives need to get off to a flying start this means that high levels of motivation and energy are required to mobilise resources. Where team inputs are needed, firstly, ensure everyone knows where there are going and secondly ensure there is a collective belief that success is attainable. Teams that don’t engage with BYC will be at a serious disadvantage. Its starts with you! Foster the right climate to get the successful outcome.
Partnerships, alliances, and collaboration are a vital tool for any business. In an increasingly complex environment we can often find ourselves one minute competing and the next collaborating with others. I think there are lots of ways we can view collaboration and there are lots of permutations on how they can work – here are some ideas to think about:
1. If you are a start-up – you will obviously be viewed in this way – how can you team up with larger partners to help you punch above your weight?
2. As growing business could you find business partners that provide a route to market but there is a reciprocal benefit – e.g recruitment company teaming up with an accountancy practice
3. Developing new products – working with a university to bring credibility and new expertise
4. Could your business align with a leading expert or brand personality to enhance the credibility or endorse your offer
5. Could you create alliances or partnerships with businesses that offer complimentary services/products – ones that you know could be channelled through to your customer e.g Costa Coffee franchises in Waterstones
In an age where competitive advantage is crucial and differentiation is vital – I think we should all think about how partnerships can help benefit all parties. The operative word here is all – partnership must be win-win and this is the mindset we must embrace. If not partnership can become quickly partnerSHAFT