“Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become…habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.” – Margaret Thatcher Strong leadership is very important in such a challenging environment as business and selling. Strong leadership is what gets things done effectively and efficiently. In business, what you need are strong leaders who can sustain high performance each day, each week, each month and each year. Are you a strong leader who can sustain high performance and not burn-out? In this article we shall talk about 7 key high-performance habits that are the key habits to develop to strong leaders who sustain high performance over long periods of time. This is based on a 20-year study by High Performance Institute (ref: Brendon Burchard) through interviews of CEO’s, celebrities, high-level entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson to entertainers such as Oprah and Usher, professionals in dozens of industries, to on-line surveys through 1.6 million people from 195 countries. Do you want to know the 7 key habits that these top performers developed to succeed? If you are an entrepreneur or executive in your corporation aspiring for progress not perfectionism, action oriented to contribute and humble enough to look for blind-spots in your leadership, then read on. I evaluated myself on these 7-key high-performance habits and realized that I had all of them but with varying consistency. Some habits were very strong and others although present just okay. If that habit was stronger, I would have done more. But, even without the full charge, I achieved doubling sales of a FMCG company to USD 1 billion in 3.5-years in a huge and complex organization of 7,000 employees, 5 Vice-President’s, 5 Regional Manager’s, over 100 line-managers, and 400 supervisors. What if you had developed the FULL-CHARGE of these 7-High Performance Habits? Perhaps you will be the next Richard Branson or Oprah? Lack of Strong Leaders Have a look at your company that you manage or work for and what do you see? Do you have strong leaders? You probably encountered these problems about managers or leaders. I have experienced all of these:
1. Great technical skills but very poor on communication. He was a great technician then got promoted. Next thing the staff start to complain to you they are confused on the goals and priorities of the company. The new promote is irritable, bossy and sensitive to criticism. He/she prefers to do all things by himself and all decisions by himself.
2. Lack of courage to make decisions. You have a manager who is risk averse and every decision is delegated up to you. He/she is stuck on the status quo and does not want to innovate or take risk. He/she often says: “Why should we change? The present system has been successful all these years.” It is a now a struggle for you to get change because of this person.
3. Low motivation and uninspiring. This manager’s attention and passion seem to be somewhere else and will only do the bare minimum for the work. They are unclear in their direction in life.
4. Lack of accountability and responsibility. He/she can be a master communicator but of finding excuses for poor performance or low productivity. Often this manager is poor in strategic planning. Focus is on activities rather than results. Classic line: “I did what you told me to do.”
5. Critical and negative. You see this type often. They are critical and doomsayers. They zap the energy in the room with one comment. Their favorite line: “That won’t work. We do not have the capability and resources. We will lose a lot of money. It’s too risky.”
6. Low energy and often sick. This manager sometimes falls asleep during meetings and often takes sick-leaves or long vacations. After lunch is a very low productive time for him and he normally spends this time in chatting. What if you had a system to develop strong leaders? You get leaders with these characteristics: • Positive: Their aura is of optimism all the time and they inspire the whole team to go beyond and stretch to what is possible. They love challenges and are more confident they will achieve the goal despite adversity.
• Clear-Direction: They are clear about what they want of their life for their career, work and family life. They are more successful than their peers, yet they are less stressed due this clarity. They are happy and admired for what they do as they work passionately regardless of the traditional rewards.
• Strong Drive to finish things and persists. They see things that are necessary and must happen. • Highly productive: They have mastered to focus on what is important. What are the results desired and activities needed to achieve those results.
• Great communicators: They can communicate plans, vision of the future and influence and inspire others towards that vision.
• High Energy. They are healthier than their peers and can bring a high energy to the situation and work at hand. They can quickly rebound from adversity and set-backs and be on the move again finding new solutions to the problem.
• Courage. They make great decisions and are fully responsible for it. Often, they challenge the status quo and innovate for a better solution. They lead change and they don’t only develop skill; they develop people to be enabled to do all these changes. How would you feel if you had leaders like this? How about if you were able to assess you own capability as a leader? Traditional Habits for Success These are the traditional habits that we hear growing up on the keys for success:
• Work hard
• Be Passionate
• Focus on Your Strengths
• Practice a lot
• Persist • Be grateful These are all great characteristics and habits to develop, however, these are not the key habits that ensures a successful leader. Look around you. Many people work hard, passionate, focus on their strengths, practice and persists but they are still at the bottom of the rung. So, there must be a set of habits that work better for success.
These are the 7 key high-performance habits that high-level entrepreneurs, CEO’s, celebrities and top performing people. As I discuss them, I will point (Neuro Linguistic Programming) NLP techniques you can use so you can install these habits faster.
1. Positivity Habit
During seminars I ask the question: “Have you failed at something in your life?” Everyone will raise their hand. Next, I will ask: “Why did you fail?” These are the answers:
“I was lazy and did not do my best.”
“I blamed others and made excuses, whereas I really was not doing the things I needed to do.”
“I failed to see the resources and help right in-front of me.”
“I was overly anxious and worried. I felt I could not do it right in the beginning.”
There is a common thread on their answers. Their state of mind was negative, and the person failed to switch to a positive state of mind so that they can be more resourceful to find solutions.
A positive state of mind is the most powerful habit as it fuels the rest of our day. (March 2017 article shows an NLP technique on “How to Default Your Mind to be Always Positive.”)
2. Ever Clear Habit
Clarity in your life is key in terms of the following areas: (These are key questions to ask.)
Self : What three words describe my best self?
Social : Three words that could define how I want to treat other people are?
Skills : What five skills I’m I trying to develop most in my life right now?
Service : Three simple ways I can add value to those around me this week?
Feelings : The main feelings I want to cultivate in my life, relationships, and work this week? Purpose : Something I can do or create that would bring me more meaning in life is?
(December 2017 Article show an NLP technique of How to Gain Clarity for Your Purpose.)
3. Raise Necessity Habit
If we have a goal or project, we need to raise the necessity to achieve it. What is our big why?
Necessity is raised by internal and external forces. Internal forces such as our personal standards of excellence and obsessions with a topic/process. External forces due to a social duty, obligation or purpose or real deadlines. We can raise our necessity by affirming the “big why” with these questions:
• Who are the people who need me to do this? What are the reasons for each person?