Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Easier Is Not Always Better

It seems we're all seeking "the easy way out". Short cuts. Cram sessions. Work arounds. The quest for "easier" can be a good thing - but not always.

Striving for improvement often makes things easier, but we shouldn't confuse the two. Focusing on consequences can help give a bigger/better perspective.

It's easier to stay in bed all the time - but then your muscles will atrophy.
It's easier to skip brushing your teeth - but then they'll rot out.
It's easier to not go to work - but the you'll lose your job...and your income...and your home.

Yes, there can be actual value from struggling/working for something. These days, building discipline and extraordinary effort is not considered very sexy, but it is the backbone of accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Rather than focusing on making things easier, the better approach is to focus on improving things overall. Think about things holistically: How will a particular action (or lack of action) affect all related dimensions. Your business = your employees, your customers, and your financial/operational results? Your life = your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual results? Unless ALL aspects are considered, a decision can't truly be considered the "best" decision.

Bottom line: Is it worth it? Pain versus payoff? Here's something to consider: Rather than lowering your sacrifice to ease the pain, what if you raised the payoff goal to make the effort worth it? I've discovered that making the extra effort (raising the payoff) always results in bridging the gap between average results and amazing results.

And I know you are much more interested in amazing, eh?

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about it...today!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Impression or Impact?

You may have heard the sayings - they all make the same point:

All sizzle but no steak.
All hat and no cattle.
All talk and no action.
All style and no substance.

Question of the day (week/month/year) - Are you making an Impression or an Impact? Isn't it intriguing how some people are busybusybusy trying to create a short-term fake "buzz" when they could invest that same effort into developing a REAL long-lasting impact instead?

Impressing people may generate attention - at least for a little while - but they rarely last more than a season. It's kind of like the difference between celebrities and stars. One of my Disney jobs included working with "Talent" for special events. It's interesting how some people have temporary fame - they are hot for a while, then when it becomes obvious they are not talented (or talented in only one thing that loses favor) - they fade away. They might make a interesting first impression, but there's no depth to keep our attention. So they lose significance.

Creating an impact is about making a difference. Being memorable for more than just getting attention - it is about making something that matters. True stars stay interesting for years. They develop and contribute in ways that continue to add value to the productions they are involved in. Typically, they are more than good looks and a great agent - they are constantly improving their craft, or selecting projects that add value, or just plain give back to others.

Trust me, word gets around. (As it does about each of us.)

Making an impact isn't complicated. Focusing on being "on-purpose" and (daily) building something of value is what gives life more meaning.

And who doesn't, ultimately, want a life that makes a meaningful difference?
Think about it. But more importantly, do something about it..today!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Digging Deeper. Going Farther.

There's a whole lotta talk going on these days. Talk about being different and better. Talk about engaging employees and customers. Talk about leadership excellence and operational effectiveness and strategy and tactics.

But very little results. Why is that? What do proven winners do differently to achieve those outcomes?

Well, the operative word is: DO!

When it comes down to separating the ordinary from the extraordinary, the key is consistent execution. Those who succeed eventually stop talking and start doing.

How do they do that, when it's not always clear about what to do?

In order to get to the root issues (and, therefore, the root actions required), world-class leaders don't just talk superficially about what makes their business different and better. They dig deep and get into the details of their unique target market and confront the difficult work of knowing their customers, their industry, and themselves.

[Pop quiz: What is the one thing that you do better than anyone else? What - specifically - makes you different than the many other options your customers have? And why should your customers really care? Hint: Your competition probably know this. You had better make sure your customers do too!]

Then, using that valuable information, world-class successes build the discipline (not a sexy or comfortable word so most business/self-help books shy away from this) to consistently implement - in alignment with what their customers want most and what they do differently/better than anyone else.

Simple, but not easy. Take the time to dig deeper this week - so you can go farther than you've ever gone before. You, and your customers, deserve that.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about it...today!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Passion Over-rated?

How many times have we heard "Follow your passion"? Obviously, immersing yourself in whatever jazzes you is a good thing...BUT...the most successful people realize that it isn't the only thing. Passion alone is over-rated. Think of it this way: Passion is fuel. Fuel by itself can be either unproductive or downright dangerous. What else is important to leverage your passion for success?

One additional/required consideration is focus. Unless you have sufficient focus on how your passion best adds value to others, you are not likely to get the results you ultimately desire. Focus allows you to target your energy, like a water hose with a nozzle on the front - gaining power as the stream of water is channeled in a specific way. Adding focus gains you the time lost by pursuing other unrelated tasks.

Another ingredient is consistency. Success is never a result of inconsistent execution. Adding the discipline of daily effort towards a singular goal is what builds upon each previous effort. Passion can wane - even with activities we are passionate about. "Priming the pump" during those times of lower energy (challenges/set-backs) will generate momentum that average people will never achieve.

Finally, nothing happens - regardless of passion - until you take action! People often talk about what they are passionate about...but never actually do anything about it. The natural consequence is no results. Instead, once you have identified the basic direction of your goal, begin! Hone/fine tune as you learn - but take action. This is what brings your passion to life!

Passion + Focus + Consistency + Action = Results.

Missing something in your results? Then do a check-up on one of the four elements that ultimately create the results you're hoping for - and adjust as needed.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about it...today!