One more of the traits I referred to and read about recently in “The Good Among the Great” that I wanted to explore in more detail is Performance and Process Oriented. I especially value the performance oriented and while I know the process piece is associated with that, to me it is a subset of performance. This article explores how to put performance as a focus in much of what you do.
Work for Joy and Not for Money
Performance occurs when you are happy doing the job you do. Study after study shows that money does not bring happiness to life or a workplace and so you have to find joy in what you do to truly perform at your best. Finding ways to enjoy your work are important regardless of what you do with your used cell phones. At the same time, I don’t think you need to quit your job or find a new career that is more satisfying just to have a joyous reason to work. Every job has its joys or satisfactions and it requires the person doing them to discover them. In whatever job you do, you can either choose to complain about it (which many people seem to do in work) or you can find ways that you can value the work, the results you get and make the job more enjoyable. Perhaps this is through the people you work with, adding some humor or fun to the culture, making some friendly competition or self challenges to make the work more than just showing up for a pay check. If you don’t enjoy your job now, ask yourself, “Will it really make a difference to liking your job if you get a 10% raise?” Probably not, however, it will make a BIG difference if you can positively change the culture, make work more fun, know and have fun with the people you work with or simply love the results you can produce in that job. The great part of having more joy in the workplace, is that you will still end up having better performance which will always lead to that better pay in the long run anyway.
Value The Journey more than The Achievement
Being performance oriented often leaves people solely focused on a outcome instead of truly optimizing the process or journey towards that achievement. While obviously results are an important aspect of any performance oriented person, they are not the only thing that matters. The methods, the journey and the process used to get to that outcome is often more important since it is where the learning occurs along the way. The journey is where the experience is really coming from, not the end result and that experience is what you will remember and be able to repeat. If you achieve something and don’t know how you achieved it, does it really have any value?
Study The Results of Everything You Do
So, if you look at the journey or your performance and not only the results, it helps to pick apart the results and examine them to help uncover the truths of why they work or how you got them. Of course the journey is part of this to know the process and methods, but the results are often not as obvious as they might seem at first either. What impact does the result actually have? Does the result reach other people, other areas or aspects of that job that you didn’t intend at first? Are those positive or negative results? What about the repeat-ability of your results, is there someone else who you could teach or help achieve the same thing? Can you repeat them yourself?
Reflect on Your Talents and How to Use Them
Something leads to great results and sure the journey is part of that, but often that journey is shaped by a talent that you have. Do you know what your greatest talents are and is it clear to you when you are using them and how to make them more effective? Being performance oriented will require you to use all of your skills and talents. Reflect on them to figure how you can use them more? You are way better off spending your time on your strengths and talents than you are on weaknesses when you are looking to be performance oriented. Weaknesses may be an area you want to improve on to help get results, but every hour spent using a talent will always get you more than an hour spending working on a weakness. That is exactly why you would call it a weakness in the first place, you are not as good at it!
Learn From your Mistakes
I am amazed how many people seem to be afraid to make mistakes, want to hide mistakes they do make, and don’t seem to tolerate others making mistakes. These are not the behaviors of performance oriented people, as hiding and avoiding mistakes is something that limits people from learning from them. Obviously making mistakes on purpose is not valuable here, but tolerating mistakes for what they are and then maximizing them by learning from them is incredibly valuable. Ask yourself why the mistake happened? Can you avoid it from happening again? What did you learn from the mistake and can you share that or teach it to others?
Create Experiences Over Acquiring Things
The materialism and disposable world we have created is shifting people more and more towards what they want instead of why they want it. Acquiring things is often at the top of people’s goal lists or wish lists and it happens more and more as people achieve more. To be truly performance oriented however, one has to care more about the experiences they gain and wish for over the things they might be able to acquire. Every thing (even a status item or symbol of prestige) is still for the purpose of the feeling it gives the person. That is even more true with experiences that don’t come with some item or thing. The stuff we accumulate often holds us back from being able to do and experience more. If you want to be more performance oriented, you must think about and shift from acquiring things to creating experiences. It is the experiences you will remember and value years later and its the experiences you can share with others on a personal level.
Change What Doesn’t Work Quickly
Many people get their mind set on something and keep being persistent, without exploring new options. Persistence has its merit when it is the only option to accomplish something (like my article on perseverance climbing a mountain) but most of the time there are alternatives choices and methods to get a similar result from. This is why it is good to react when something doesn’t work and to change it before wearing yourself out or wasting too much time on the wrong thing. If you can change something that is not working quickly for another method, this is much better than just continually pushing through when there is tiring resistance (either skills, circumstance, etc). Optimizing the way to get results is important to do at all times, so change what doesn’t work quickly and you will certainly find the optimal path and be more performance oriented.
Kill Distractions and Find Solitude
Distractions seem like they have become part of everyday life now for most people but the truth is that they are chosen by people and it is quite possible to choose to eliminate distractions just as easily as it is for people to choose to have them. Whether it is how many times a day you check your facebook page, whether or not you stop a personal conversation to answer a phone or simply how you fill your productive and spare hours with extra things like music, a bit of web surfing or checking your email 25 times a day; all of these are distractions you choose to have or allow. If you want to be more productive identify the distractions that don’t help you and choose to kill them. Maybe for an hour to start, a day or if you are determined, forever, but no matter the time frame you have to choose to kill the distraction to gain performance. Combine that with some solitude where you can actually think about your life and the things you need to accomplish and you suddenly find yourself more performance oriented with an ability to get a lot more done in the same period of time.
Take Risks and Ignore Conventional Thinking
Performance oriented individuals are those who are willing to take risks and they know that a risk is often necessary to take a leap forward instead of always playing everything safe and conservative. Often conventional wisdom or wisdom of crowds forces conventional thinking that keeps us from trying something new, being creative or experimenting with some idea that might fail. Without the guts to take the risk, we limit every possibility of it working and kill what might have turned out to be an amazing ideal if only it was acted on.
Relationships Must Come First
Last but certainly now least in this list of being more performance oriented is relationships. Relationship are absolutely crucial to great success and are one of the strongest areas to help accelerate and connect a person for success. Whether it is for support and empathy from people we know, trust and love, or connecting businesses and networks of business people towards win win situations, no matter what the performance you are after, relationships will help it come faster, make it easier to enjoy and share, and empower you with more passion and emotion than when others are not involved with you.
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