Sometimes You Need to be a Bit Selfish

“To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate.” – Michael Jordan

Selfishness is one of my pet hates, particularly when it’s combined with rudeness. Now that really gets my blood boiling!!! However, being selfish should be balanced with what needs to be done when striving for success as we’re sometimes required to be selfish on the way to being successful.

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The simplest way to make progress and reduce overwhelm

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one” - Mark Twain

We’re usually distracted by what’s not done. Have you noticed a sense of relief when you clear the backlog of outstanding work? An efficient workflow is such an important part of being able to consistently work effectively. Does the way you work enable you to make progress? Or are your work methods increasing the level of overwhelm?

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Don’t overlook how these block clarity and focus

“Clarity affords focus” - Thomas Leonard

Workers find it hard to be successful in their role when they don’t have clarity and focus. While there are many reasons that can cause workers to lose clarity, there are common work method issues that aren’t necessarily hard to resolve once you understand the negative impact they have.

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All talk no action?

“Don’t talk it, walk it” – Lars Ulrich

For just over 40 years I played basketball at many levels that ranged from a social game through to playing in a semi-professional league. Regardless of the level I played, the teammate who frustrated me the most was the player who talked a good game, but their level of play couldn’t back it up. In some cases, they were blissfully unaware of it, whereas other occurrences saw the player always having an excuse for why they were unable to do what they said they would. Players like this were the teammates I knew I could trust the least when it really counted with the game on the line.

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The profound effect of saying “No”

“Just saying yes because you can't bear the short-term pain of saying no is not going to help you do the work” – Seth Godin

I’ve always been involved in team sports so sharing success and having a sense of teamwork were engrained into me as what you do from a young age. The same principles applied at work since supporting colleagues was gratifying, sometimes necessary and a way for the team to grow. This mindset served me well until it got to a level where I started constantly putting the priorities of others ahead of mine. In a strange way I became more effective in my job when I learnt that saying “No” isn’t always a bad thing. 

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Why some workers suck at getting their work done

"You are not your resume, you are your work" – Seth Godin

The difference between effective and ineffective workers is like night and day. If 2 workers in identical roles both have positive attitudes, how is it that 1 can drive outcomes and exceed targets, whereas the other frequently fails to reach expected outcomes or targets? The answer is work methods.

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The ONE thing to unlocking potential

The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it” –Gary Keller

In the book The ONE Thing, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan talk about it’s always the ONE Thing that delivers extraordinary results: “What's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Workers usually have ONE Thing that constrains productivity to the extent they would be more effective if they were able to do this ONE Thing better.

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Are you maximising or minimising your potential?

"We are anxious to improve our circumstances but unwilling to improve ourselves. We therefore remain bound" –  James Allen

What I enjoy about my job is I get to help people and the organisations they work for be more effective at what they do. I find those who are committed to improving embrace the opportunity to perform better and more efficiently. Whereas those who don’t take action merely spectate. It’s consistently revealed that a superior technique combined with an appropriate level of effort enables individuals to maximise their potential and prosper in even challenging environments. It all starts with a decision to improve.

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Reduce “the noise” to increase clarity

Recently I’ve been coaching some terrific people ranging in roles from owners of small business through to managers and supervisors in large organisations. While industries, experience and size of business have differed, a common thread has emerged. Seventy percent have lacked clarity, despite the intent to achieve being exemplary. This manifests into to feelings of frustration while limiting the ability to lead and reach potential.

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80% of your task list shouldn’t be there

Whether I’m talking to the most senior or junior person in an organisation, almost everyone seems to be busy. Delving into what’s causing the busyness, responses vary from vague to detailed or even confessions of tasks that aren’t critical to their role. However, an immediate justification reasons why they’ve got so many tasks to action. You see we lack clarity when we’re overwhelmed by too many tasks.

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Improve clarity to improve results

There’s an old saying about not being able to see the woods for the trees. I reflect on this because I think it’s hard to have clarity when feeling a sense of overwhelm. This is especially true at work. It would be less than ideal if a minority of workers felt overwhelmed but it’s a real issue when two-thirds of the workforce are overwhelmed. (Source: Deloitte 2014 Human Capital Trends Study).

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