Have you noticed that things don’t always progress steadily, especially in business? Competitors appear on the market place and disrupt your customers; political situations and trade laws have an impact on how freely you can do business. Simply speaking, there are many things that are out of your control have a possible impact on your success.
Do you remember what happened the last time when things got out of control and your chances of success thinner than ever? Were you expected to meet tough targets, or achieve new goals, despite the negative impact? Like during a downturn or a recession? What did you do?
Maybe, you remember how you were pushing yourself to perform a little harder for a while. Did you put in an extra effort and a few extra hours on the weekend, just to make sure you could say that you’d done everything to hit your mark?
Perhaps you took another look at your planning more frequently and tried to get hold of more information to be better and more accurate in your forecasts?
Did you spend a little extra time dwelling and analyzing the cause of the problems you were facing to understand them better, hoping to suggest better solutions?
You could have measured your profits and results more accurately and frequently to see where the gaps were, so you could act accordingly?
How did you ensure that your peers and colleagues did what they were supposed to do? Did you become a little anxious or frustrated and started to push your colleagues to do what you had expected?
These are typical ways where you thought intuitively that when you intensified your performance in these five areas, you’d be successful. It was like you wanted to improve your personal strategy for success.
In many cases, however, when we choose to improve our strategy for success, we’re doing-more-of-what-we-know-to-do. We repeat what we normally do because it has proven to work in the past. We do it this time with a greater intention, increasing our intensity. We increase our level of intensity fueled by the emotion, the stress and the fear of the situation. This makes us believe that we will be successful this time too.
That is ok, and it might work well. We should always remember, however, that this is strategy probably the only strategy we know.
What would happen if we needed to increase our chances of success even further? What could we do to become better? Would we just increase our intensity further? Hardly.
There is a limit to how many hours we can spend in trying to be perfect at everything. It is impossible to plan all the details ahead, even if we wanted to. It can be ineffective to gathering all information related to a problem before you decide what to do. And there are always more reasons to explain why you cannot be profitable. And finally, you know you cannot push your colleagues further when everybody is stressed and tense already.
To able to deal with these situations you’d be better off looking at specific ways to improve your performance personally.
When things get tough, we try to improve our chances of success by getting tougher. We prefer to choose a doing-more-of-what-we-already-know type of strategy, like above, and that has its limits.
To improve our performance, we should look at the five areas that are the basis for professional performance, called the Five P’s of Professional Performance™. These five areas are -Personal Performance, -Planning capability, -Problem-Solving, -Profit control, -Positivity to pull others along. Let’s see how a person can develop the five areas in a sustainable way instead.
To be more in control and be sure that you will meet the expectation in quality, you’d want to set yourself deadlines and milestones that detail the expected outcome. Using the method of SMART goals is often mentioned in this context.
To stay in control of the activities and their timely execution, you may want to consider scheduling tasks and budgeting the time for yourself and others for certain activities. This is when a tool for a detailed time and personal task planning comes in handy for you.
To understand the problems, you are faced with better, it would help to become more competent on the matter, like searching the web or asking people who have similar issues. This way you may be able to create better solutions as somebody may have solved your problem already.
To secure the profit further, it is good to know more about the underlying indicators and leading drivers that impact the profit in detail. This way the gaps or the losses can be detected earlier and fixed in a stage when they start to deviate.
To have other people meet the expectations or mutual commitments, it might not be a good idea to become more demanding and pushing people to do things for you. It might work for a while, but you may burn the good relationships you have built up. Instead, it could be better to accept the fact, that your colleagues may be stressed and struggle too to maintain their own performance and reach their goals. In such a situation it could be a better idea to share your own experience of the first four areas of professional performance with your peers and colleagues and share how you have improved. This way you can help them see the limitations of their stress reactions in their behavior. You can show them how they can be improving their professional performance, and so that they can get more things done in the future, even for you.
Improving your own professional performance in this way will increase the chances of your success. You will by doing things differently, not by exaggerating the previous behavior in an extra and intense way. You will be more effective because you changed your level of knowledge, skills or behavior so you can deal with your work even more professionally.
Maybe you already recognized some changes in actions and behaviors that a colleague of yours took. Perhaps you are doing some of these things yourself already?
This would be a good moment to go through these five areas, the Five P’s of Personal Improvements™ and reflect for yourself, what you could do to improve your performance further so that you can be professional even in a more challenging environment?
An extract from The Leader’s Shift in Perspective