Push yourself to peak performance

Sue Willcock Food for Thought

I had a great day yesterday at The Entrepreneurs Circle monthly meet in Ascot with Nigel Botterill.  As well as Nigel’s inspirational morning session, one of the speakers, Terry Gormley, focused on the personal changes you can make to drive yourself to better performance.
Given my ‘day job’ developing leadership and management skills with construction consultants and property professionals, he sparked a few thoughts around what we all might do today to drive our performance up.

  1. Get out of that ‘comfort zone’!   Set yourself a challenging project or task which you know will push you outside of your comfort zone.  Do something that you know will make you feel deliberately uncomfortable, with a view to it being a learning experience, not a ‘pass or fail’ situation.
  2. Set yourself a stretch-target and then create a plan.   If getting completely out of your comfort zone is just too uncomfortable, set yourself a target which builds on an area where you already have strengths and then use this to give some structure your planned development.  Make sure you set a clearly defined goal so you know when you’ve reached it too.   For example, if you are OK at writing client or project reports but want to be brilliant, how will you know what ‘brilliant’ is? (get feedback, benchmark with others etc.).  Once you know ‘what good looks like’, you can then plan how to get there.
  3. Use the ‘Performance-Image-Exposure’ model. The PIE model developed by Harvey Coleman tells us that our success at work depends on our performance (10%), image (30%) and exposure (60%). Given this, map out your existing network of contacts (a mind map format works well). Review the document harshly, looking at where you want to take your career (or business) and who you can learn from to help you get there. Are there people with specialist knowledge that you could learn from? Are there ‘types’ of people missing (e.g. do you need to surround yourself with more entrepreneurs/risk takers/creatives?) Create an action plan to help you build your networks and exposure to support your learning.
  4. Find some buddies or mentors.  One of the phrases used yesterday was taken from Jim Rohn “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”.  The network exercise above does not mean befriending people in a shallow way just to meet you own ends, but think about the networks you can create around you to help you develop. What knowledge might you share with someone in return for them teaching you a new skill or giving you their expert opinion?  How might you create a buddy or mentor relationship to support development for you both?
  5. Question  and broaden your newspaper, radio and reading choices.  Challenge your thinking by questioning your reading, viewing and listening habits by changing for a while and tuning in to new things.  For example, what business or leadership book could you buy today which will stretch you?

So, what are you going to do today to push yourself to peak performance?