Last week’s edition of CDCD suggested four attributes for success. They were
Judging by the feedback, many of you agree with me. I’d like to use this week’s CDCD to look more closely at these four attributes and tease out some additional ‘grist to add to your mill’.
For sure, you have to know what you are doing, so we’ll take that as a given. My questions to you here are:
□ When did you last assess your knowledge of your chosen area?
□ How often do you do this?
□ How do you gauge your knowledge, (for example, by some independent benchmark, or by peer comparison).
Each market/specialisation will have its way of addressing this area. For example, many professions have formal ‘continuous professional development’ systems in place and to this extent traditional professions, such as law or accountancy are well served.
If you work in less formally regulated environments, such as coaching, consultancy, speaking, or writing, it’s much harder for you to measure your knowledge. Consequently you may be in danger of forgetting how vital a foundation this is to your continued success. I’d urge you to allocate a budget (time and money) for the purpose of measuring and increasing your knowledge. It’s a sensible, long-term investment in yourself and your business.
The application of knowledge for the benefit of your clients/customers requires skill. I believe is these people – your clients/customers – are best placed to assess your level of skill. Questions:
□ How often do you survey your customers, on this specific issue?
□ Do you have an independent, third party do this on your behalf?
Only by knowing this can you hope to improve and measure that improvement over time.
This is where the going can get tough. Having – and maintaining – the motivation to put your skill into practice can be easy one day and tough the next. While self-motivation is vital, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has enough of it to keep themselves going all the time. Everyone needs help from time to time – it’s part of the human condition. Asking for it can be tough though, as many people see it as a sign of weakness. Look at it another way – you’re just finding the quickest, most efficient solution to the problem. For example, let’s assume your car has just picked up a flat tyre and you’re stuck by the side of the road. Your choice (broadly speaking) is to change the wheel yourself, or have someone do it for you. If you have the knowledge, skill and materiel, you’ll do it yourself and carry on with your journey. If you’re truly ‘stuck’ for some reason, you’ll seek help.
Either solution is a good solution.
If you ask for help, the challenge is; who to ask? It’s this that is the trickiest part of being in business – who to trust – and I’m not sure that I’ve found the magic solution yet. What I will say is this:
□ Take your time
□ Trust is traded – don’t open yourself up to somebody who doesn’t reciprocate
□ Sound people out first through the opinions of others
□ Be prepared to move on if things don’t work out
□ You don’t a huge network of confidents – just a reliable one
If developing and maintaining the right attitude can be tough – then developing and maintaining the right behaviours can be doubly so.
Where to start?
With Albert Gray’s wonderful “Common Denominator of Success”, written in 1940 and as true now as it was then.
You can find the full text online quite easily, although some sites show edited versions and I much prefer the original. The version can be found here:
The basic premise is this:
“The common denominator of success – the secret of success of every person who has ever been successful – lies in the fact that he or she formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”
I find this a hugely powerful and motivating message. It explains why so many New Year resolutions never get to see February, as Gray further explains,
“Any resolution or decision you make is simply a promise to yourself, which isn’t worth a thing unless you have formed the habit of making it and keeping it.”
Forming the habit of doing the stuff that makes you successful is the equivalent of the momentum built up in a huge flywheel. It’s not the rotation of the flywheel itself that’s impressive – it’s what that energy can do when attached to other machinery. So too with your success habits. It’s not the habits themselves – it’s what they allow you to achieve.
You get the picture, I’m sure. Being able to take on board the points raised in this issue rests on your understanding of how important Effective Communication skills are in the battle to win more business. Have you considered a Effective Communication course to help you improve these vital skills?
Reflect a moment on this. Sit back and take a short break – make a mug of coffee or tea – go for walk in the garden, or along the beach. Let it all soak in. And when it has:
This post was first published as one of Chris Davidson’s “Competitive Difference” emails. You can subscribe to Chris Davidson’s “Competitive Difference” (CDCD) Via the Active Presence website. You can also contact Active Presence Directly.