Friday, November 16, 2012

The Art of Performance - a Zig Ziglar Perspective

Execution… Tasks… Initiative… Hard work… Results… For much of my life, my concept of “performance” was centered exclusively on such action-oriented terms.

Most everyone would agree that there is a “science” to performing.  When we consider effective performance, we often think of tools and techniques, where the most effective methods and patterns of performance drive the best results.

In Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy provides a simple method to prioritize and complete tasks. Simply put, evaluate what needs to be done, prioritize the tasks, and then don't stop till you finish the most important one. When finished, repeat the same approach on number two.

Some use the acronym WIN – What’s Important Now.

In Launching a Leadership Revolution, Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady cite “Performance” as the second level of the Five Levels of Influence.  To become an effective leader, you must perform.  Performance builds credibility, the substance from which influence is made.  At the higher levels of influence, it is this credibility that drives others to follow.

And by definition, leadership requires movement.  You have to do something… you have to move! If you are not moving, can anyone be following?

In addition to the science, however, there is also an “art” to performance.  In LLR, Woodward and Brady provide an excellent analysis of both.  On the art side, here are just a few of their concepts to consider:

• Results come from personal efforts
• Nothing worthwhile comes easily – success always exacts a price
• Performers don’t expect fair treatment
• The better you do, the stronger the competitors will push back
• Breaks will come to those who prepare
• Desire trumps talent

Beyond the above, I consider their core performance principle the most empowering – Persevere though failure to find success.In the article below, Zig Ziglar provides a fresh, personal perspective on the “art” side of performance. This was a great addition to my understanding of the subject. I trust it will be the same for you.

The Five Principles of Performance By Zig Ziglar, author of Born to Win

Much of success is about performance. It’s about what we do and what we are able to inspire others to do. There are some simple performance principles I have learned in my life, and I want to share them with you.  They really bring success, and what it takes to be successful, into sharp focus. They are also the basis for developing and maintaining an expectation of success.

The Five Principles of Performance

1. We generally get from ourselves and others what we expect. It is a huge fact that you will either live up or down to your own expectations. If you expect to lose, you will. If you expect to be average, you will be average. If you expect to feel bad, you probably will. If you expect to feel great, nothing will slow you down. And what is true for you is true for others. Your expectations for others will become what they deliver and achieve. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

2. The difference between good and excellent companies is training. The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is to not train them and keep them! A football team would not be very successful if they did not train, practice, and prepare for their opponents. When you think of training as practice and preparation, it makes you wonder how businesses survive that do not make significant training investments in their people.

Actually, companies that do not train their people and invest in their ability don’t last. They operate from a competitive disadvantage and are eventually gobbled up and defeated in the marketplace. If you want to improve and move from good to excellent, a good training strategy will be the key to success.

3. You find what you look for in life. If you look for the good things in life, you will find them. If you look for opportunities to grow and prosper, you will find them. If you look for positive, enthusiastic friends and associates who will support you, you will find them. On the other hand, if you look for ways to cheat, you will cheat. If you look for ways to justify leaving your spouse, you will find them. If you look for justifiable reasons to hold a grudge against another person, you will find those, too. It is a natural tendency of us all to look for things that will justify what we think we need or want. If you are not living by the foundation stones of honesty, character, integrity, faith, love, and loyalty, you will be drawn to seeking selfish gratification, and that leads to misery and unfulfilled dreams. Whatever you have will never be enough. Always look for the good and for ways to help others.

4. Never make a promise without a plan. Far too many people make promises they can never keep. They may have the best intentions in the world to keep their promise, but if they have not made a plan to keep it, they will not be able to do it. Business leaders who make promises to their employees will not honor them if they do not create a plan on how the promises will be kept. If you make a future commitment, you must understand and be willing to do whatever it takes to complete that commitment. One of the reasons marriage commitments fail so frequently is because the husband and wife do not understand what it takes to have a great marriage. They do not plan for or understand the sacrifices each must make for the other to enable a long-lasting relationship.

5. Happiness, joy, and gratitude are universal if we know what to look for. I believe you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. All people want happiness and joy in their life, but you have to know what produces real happiness and how to do the things that produce it. The moment you begin to worry about the things you want and the things you don’t have in life is the moment you will lose your gratitude for what you actually have. If you are ungrateful, you will never be satisfied or content or joyful about your life. The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times.

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