The Most Effective Strategies for Success

21 Sep 2020 | by admin


The Most Effective Strategies for Success

by Heidi Grant

March 25, 2013

For years, I’ve been trying to convince people that success is not about who you are, but about what you do.

Roughly two years ago, I wrote about the “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently,” which became HBR’s most-read piece of content over that time span. It was a list of strategies, based on decades of scientific research, proven effective for setting and reaching challenging goals. I later expanded that post into a short e-book, explaining how you can make each one a habit. But how would readers know if they were doing enough of each “Thing”? (After all, we’re terrible judges of ourselves.) To help answer that question, last spring I created something I called the Nine Things Diagnostics — it’s a free, online set of questionnaires designed to measure your own use of each of the nine things in pursuit of your personal and professional goals.

I now have responses from over 30,000 people who’ve logged on and completed one or more of the Nine Things Diagnostics. The results are fascinating, and a bit surprising even to me. First, each of the Nine Things had a significant impact on success. (That actually didn’t surprise me, for obvious reasons.).

But which packed the biggest punch? To find out, I recently took a look at the responses of about 7,000 people who had completed every Nine Things Diagnostic, along with a brief measure of how successful they felt they had been in reaching their own goals in the past.

In order of effect magnitude, the most impactful strategies were:

Have Grit — Persistence over the long haul is key

Know Exactly How Far You Have Left to Go — Monitor your progress

Get Specific — Have a crystal-clear idea of exactly what success will look like

Seize the Moment to Act on Your Goals — Know in advance what you will do, and when and where you will do it

Focus on What You Will Do, Not What You Won’t Do — Instead of focusing on bad habits, it’s more effective to replace them with better ones.

Build your Willpower Muscle — If you don’t have enough willpower, you can get more using it.

Focus on Getting Better, Rather than Being Good — Think about your goals as opportunities to improve, rather than to prove yourself

Be a Realistic Optimist — Visualize how you will make success happen by overcoming obstacles

Don’t Tempt Fate — No one has willpower all the time, so don’t push your luck

Notice how persistence is at the very top of the list? While we marvel at people who’ve shown incredible perseverance — Earnest Shackleton, Nelson Mandela, Susan B. Anthony — I wonder how many people have ever thought to blame their own failures on “not hanging in there long enough”? In my experience, very few. Instead, we assume we lack the ability to succeed. We decide that we don’t have what it takes — whatever that is — to meet the challenge. And we really couldn’t be more wrong. Grit is not an innate gift. Persisting is something we learn to do, when (and if) we realize how well it pays off.

Or take “knowing how far you have left to go.” Even someone with a healthy amount of grit will probably find his or her motivation flagging if they don’t have a clear sense of where they are now and where they want to end up. How much weight would a contestant on The Biggest Loser lose if he only weighed himself at the beginning and the end, instead of once a week? How well would an Olympic-level athlete perform if she only timed her official races, and never her practices? We can see how essential monitoring is for others’ performance, and yet somehow miss its importance for our own.

But does that mean that the items further down the list aren’t as important? Not quite. For instance, #7, “focusing on getting better, rather than being good,” actually predicted using each of the other eight things! People who focused on “being good,” on the other hand, were less likely to use the other tactics on the list. In fact, if you do a lot of “be good” thinking, you are less likely to be gritty or have willpower, and you are more likely to tempt fate. You’re also, not surprisingly, less likely to reach your goals.

Perhaps the most remarkable finding, however, was the extent to which people weren’t using these tactics.

Respondents answered each of the diagnostic questions on 1-5 scale, with 1 being “not at all true of me,” 3 being “somewhat true of me,” and 5 being “very true of me.”

If your average score for a particular tactic falls between Not at all and Somewhat, then you really aren’t doing what you need to do to be effective. Here’s how the percentages break down:

So about 40 percent of responders aren’t being realistically optimistic, or focusing on what they will do, rather than what they won’t. And 50 percent of responders aren’t being specific, seizing the moment, monitoring progress, having grit, and having willpower. An astonishing 70+ percent of respondents also don’t bother avoiding tempting fate. (Apparently, people just love to put themselves in harm’s way.)

Here’s some good news: an incredible 90 percent of responders report pursuing at least some of their goals with Get Better mindsets. But here’s the Bad News: 80 percent of responders are also pursuing goals with Be Good mindsets. So there’s still way too much I-have-to-prove-myself thinking going on out there, and it’s sabotaging our success.

If you have a few spare minutes, I encourage you to take the Nine Things Diagnostics yourself, assuming you haven’t already. It’s a quick yet powerful way to target your weaknesses (and learn about your strengths). Remember, improvement is only possible when you know where you’re going wrong, and what you can do about it.

Learning Styles for Career Development

21 Sep 2020 | by admin


Learning Styles for Career Development

13 September 2019

One of the best things you can do to achieve your career goals is to keep learning. Whether you’re looking for a new job or hoping to earn a promotion in your current role, growing your knowledge base and expanding your skills will help you get there.

In order to effectively learn, retain and apply new information at work, it might help to understand which of the three common learning styles you relate to most. Not only will this help increase your ability to gain new knowledge and skills, but it can also help you identify the right opportunities when searching for the best job for you. For example, during interviews you might ask employers how they help their employees learn and grow, and then use this information to determine whether their methods align with your preferred way of learning.

Here is some background information about the various learning styles and a list of jobs best suited to each method.

What do learning styles have to do with finding a job?

Everyone learns and retains new information differently. When you were in school, you may have noticed some information felt clear and straightforward while other courses seemed more difficult. The reason for these varied experiences is often due to learning styles, or the method in which you best process new information.

The way you learn most effectively will impact many different aspects of your life, including your career. To grow and thrive in your chosen career path, you will continually be learning new information, expanding your skill-set and acquiring more knowledge. When you understand which learning style you identify with, you can apply these methods at work and inform people who may be interested in your development, such as your manager and teammates.

What are the different types of learning styles?

There are three key types of learning styles:

  1. Visual

Visual learners (also called spatial learners) process information best when it’s presented with images drawn on a whiteboard, charts, graphs, diagrams, maps or other graphics. Visual learners usually process pictures before they read printed text and are also able to visualise concepts quickly.

People who are visual learners prefer when instructions are printed rather than given verbally, and may often scribble or doodle when conceptualising or attempting to make sense of a new topic. Many visual learners remember something better once they’ve written it down or drawn it out. They also tend to organise or visually compartmentalise information as they learn it to help them link concepts and ideas.

  1. Auditory

Auditory learners process information best when it’s said out loud, such as in a lecture setting or spoken presentation. These types of learners can easily recall what others say and prefer to talk through topics they find complex or difficult to understand.

People who are auditory learners prefer verbal directions and may use repetition or repeat things aloud to commit them to memory. They may ask multiple questions to understand the subject matter better and may need to hear something repeated more than once before they fully comprehend. They work well in group settings and appreciate team discussions. Auditory learners also often benefit from listening to recordings as a method of absorbing new concepts.

  1. Kinaesthetic

Kinaesthetic learners (also called tactile learners) process information through experience rather than by being shown or told. These types of learners prefer to do things that are more “hands-on.” They prefer to touch and feel items and can easily recall things they’ve done versus what they’ve heard or read.

People who are kinaesthetic learners like to make and create things using their hands, and remember information best when they are physically involved. They may stand up, move around or act out information to remember it. Kinaesthetic learners like to participate in the process by shadowing or assisting, and prefer to rehearse concepts as a way to absorb new information.

Take time to consider how you prefer to take in new information. Think about the last time you learned something new. How did you work to ensure you retained the information? What patterns, explanations or drawings made the concepts understandable? The answer to these questions will help you discover which learning styles work best for you.

Once you know which learning style is most effective for you, it might be helpful to communicate your preferred style of learning with your manager. This way, you can work together to ensure you’re able to efficiently grow your skill set. Additionally, your manager can help you find ways to incorporate your learning style into your role.

How To Make A Strategy Succeed

21 Sep 2020 | by admin


How To Make A Strategy Succeed

Scott Edinger Senior Contributor

Leadership Strategy

I write about strategy, leadership and revenue growth.

This is the season when many organizations are planning and preparing for the year ahead and the years beyond. Strategic planning sessions and Executive Team retreats are in full swing, with teams developing programs and implementation plans that will, with the right approach, help direct their organizations mindfully and productively.

I was reminded of the importance of this kind of enterprise and some of the tenets of making it effective during my work with the Cleveland HeartLab, a biomedical diagnostic lab that sprang from the Cleveland Clinic.

They are in high-growth mode, having just received a new round of funding because of their unique ability to identify the true risk of a heart attack or stroke. Our work together provided a rare opportunity for the Senior Team to take a moment to lift their heads from the daily and hourly management of the business, and stop to think about what was important for the coming year. Here are some keys we used to make strategic planning effective.

It begins with trust and candor. Designing strategies and making plans as a team doesn’t work if leaders can’t or won’t speak their mind. If leaders aren’t transparent with the information you are using to plan and make decisions, then you build a strategy on incomplete information and points of view. At the start of our session each leader privately gave the group a candor score from 1-10, with 1 being no candor at all and 10 being pure transparency, even if it is blunt. We looked at the aggregate score—which was quite high—and discussed the implications of being anything less than 10. That discussion raised the level of candor in the room even higher.

Getting alignment on clear definitions of success is paramount. It’s harder than it sounds, too, to get a group of leaders to share the same vision of success on a given topic. I’m not just talking about listing a topic like, “maintain a high-quality lab” or “expand the sales organization.” You need to get granular and answer questions like, “In a year from now we will be successful if_________ ,” or “What does success look like?” Your answers ought to be specific and observable if not measurable. This clarity will ensure everyone is looking in the same direction.

Accountability makes the strategy go. It is amazing to watch the level of engagement of leaders when they have accountability for formulating and executing strategy. Assigning roles and responsibility is critical for each element of your strategy. There is incredible power in putting someone’s name in ink next to a topic on the flipchart.

Get away. You don’t have to go to a resort. We used a conference room at a neighboring company. What was important was that we had no other distractions and the issues that came up could be dealt with during breaks as we had the key decision makers in one place. Getting away also allowed us to have some meals together and celebrate a few of the company successes. We were still having productive conversations well into the evening over dinner.

Identify the critical issues to achieving your strategy. Just because you write it on a flipchart or present it in PowerPoint does not make it so. You don’t achieve your strategic intent by declaration. Make sure you can list the critical issues that need to be addressed in order for the strategy to be effective. And of course, don’t forget the accountabilities.

Stay out of the weeds but don’t ignore the details. This is a hard balance to strike. You inevitably have digressions when all the key leaders are in one place because of the interdependence of so many functions. Those digressions can be healthy and useful, particularly when they involve topics and details that impact the main discussion. But sooner rather than later, your facilitator needs to be responsible for getting and staying on track or you won’t complete your objectives for the session.

It’s not over when it’s over. Just because your event is over does not mean that the strategy work can sit on a shelf until next year. If strategy is an “event,” then by its very nature it will fail. Strategy is organic in that it continues to evolve and guide the daily work and decisions of an organization. Implementing strategy is the pivotal role of the senior executive, and refining and working with your department and teams to create detailed action plans at the divisional level is what will ultimately bring that strategy to life.

The Cleveland HeartLab has many things going for them: strong funding, a new management team, and a great product. But they also realize that there are plenty of organizations with a lot going for them that don’t meet their objectives. It is a clear strategy, well executed, that makes the difference. Follow these tenets for making your strategic planning process fruitful, and you will reap the rewards of a strategy that guides effectively.

7 Essentials for Making Your Strategy Succeed-Entrepreneur

21 Sep 2020 | by admin


7 Essentials for Making Your Strategy Succeed

Jason Womack



According to Wikipedia, strategy is from the Greek word meaning “art of troop leader; office of general, command, generalship” and is defined as: a high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.

This concept of uncertainty will most certainly apply to both work AND life. For that reason, it’s important to understand the 7 keys to successful strategic thinking AND workflow management. If you’re going to get things done, you’ve got to know how to maximize this process.

Most strategic thinking and planning sessions are an attempt to improve or increase certain activities. If you’re planning a new product launch ago work, or talking about an upcoming vacation with your partner, you’re “creating” a strategy. However, without careful planning and consideration, strategic thinking sessions can often up having very little effect on individuals’ performance; or worse, they can de-motivate certain people who now think there is even MORE to do, when they didn’t have enough time before.

Here are seven keys to a successful strategic planning implementation:

  1. It has to be ambitious but possible.

Ensure the outcome is achievable – and reasonable. The overall mission should be aggressive; it should mean something significant to everyone involved. However, those stakeholders need also to believe with their heads AND their hearts that the strategic vision, the experience you’re going after, is achievable.

Related: A Navy SEAL’s Advice: 3 Strategies to Boost Your Chances of a Business/Battlefield Win

  1. Examine all options.

Consider ALL the paths to get there. The moment you identify a “place/way you want to be” and share that with your team/group/family, human nature demands that everyone start working to close the gap between where they are now, and where you want to be. Schedule regular sessions where individuals get to share their ideas, as off-the-wall as they may be, of ways to achieve your goals.

  1. Alignment.

Align the strategic vision with the business (or personal) goals. A strategic plan must complement the goals that have been identified and agreed upon specific to individual and group performance. Every strategic thinking session should include a review of the “When we get there…” mission of the group.

  1. No surprises.

Don’t surprise people, be transparent. Each person involved must understand how their performance and production impacts the overall strategic plan. Everyone needs to know how their progress will be measured, and (more importantly) how to get back on track if/when they find themselves distracted and off-mission.

Related: How Strategic Planning Transforms Chaos Into Confidence

  1. Engage.

Engage executive sponsorship and engagement. If you’re planning a family vacation, who needs to “buy in” to the overall idea of that trip? If you’re planning the release of a new product, who are all the sponsors (and stakeholders) involved in creating a successful launch? The more engaged everyone involved is in the process and the outcome, the more successfully you’ll implement that strategy.

  1. Keep everyone posted.

Publicize the programs and the progress along the way. Contrary to popular believe, most leaders (and parents too!) don’t like surprises. As an entrepreneur, I don’t want to know at the last minute that our accounts-receivable is out of control. As a husband, I don’t want to come home from a business trip to find that our kitchen sink is clogged. Likewise, I want to know about the progress that is being made AS it’s happening. Make it easy for people involved to check in on the status of the strategic vision.

  1. Adjust and keep moving.

Celebrate the wins, learn from the losses and move on smarter than before. In business, and in life, there is a tendency to finish something and quickly move on to the next thing. Before you do that, click “pause” and gather everyone involved in the decision making and action process. Acknowledge the effort, the attention to detail, and the success of achieving that strategy. Also, pay special attention to those who bring up “issues” of what went wrong, or what they’d do differently next time.

Strategic thinking at work and in life should be carefully designed to encourage, recognize and reward effort. They should also make it easy for people involved to find where they could (should they want) apply extra effort that might stand out through the entire process. Do not pretend that talking about goals, or handing out tasks is enough to get everyone involved to buy into the overall strategic direction.

Use the seven factors above to analyze and design your next strategic thinking session before you start spending extra time on tasks and projects that might have an overall negative net impact on your goals.

5 easy ways to boost your professional development

21 Sep 2020 | by admin


5 easy ways to boost your professional development

For many, the term ‘Tweet me! Professional development is all about learning and building on the skills and knowledge you have so that you can keep pushing the boundaries of what you can achieve. It should be continuous and ongoing so that you are always growing as a professional.

Professional development is all about learning and building on the skills and knowledge you have so that you can keep pushing the boundaries of what you can achieve.

To help you with this, we have developed these 5 easy ways to start boosting your professional development today:

  1. Use the power of social media to forge new connections and share learnings.

Never have we been so connected – never has it been so easy to communicate with a broad range of people. I mean, you can tweet Mark Zuckerberg! Sure, he probably won’t respond, but that gives you an idea of the unprecedented access we have today.

Cultivate a strong online community of people you respect and admire – listen to what they have to say and engage with them. There are hardly any limits on how wide you can cast your net, so don’t restrict yourself to people who work exclusively in your industry.

  1. Mentor someone or be mentored.

“Mentoring is priceless,” says Kristine Tuazon, Principal Consultant at Good People HR. It allows you to learn directly from people who’ve experienced many of the same challenges you might be facing. “A good mentor will help you avoid the pitfalls and mistakes they may have made,” says Tuazon.

Also, don’t underestimate how beneficial it can be to mentor someone else. You never know what you might learn from an up and comer if you approach the relationship with an open mind and a willingness to learn.

  1. Read, read, read. Schedule time each week to dedicate to reading, not just news relating to your industry but a diverse reading list. Make this part of your weekly routine and never miss it.

Tuazon suggests starting a book club with like-minded people. This is a great way to keep yourself accountable, but it also allows you to discuss texts with others, which can often deepen your understanding and enrich the whole experience.

Here are a few Tuazon’s favourite reads:

– Good to Great by Jim Collins

– Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

– 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

  1. Podcasts can entertain, teach and broaden your horizons. ‘Podcasts are an inexpensive, up-to-the-minute way of consuming news and information,’ says Tuazon. ‘Subscribe to relevant and well-known people that have a great reputation in your field.’

Here are a couple of suggestions to help get you started:

– How I built this by NPR

– The school of greatness by Lewis Howes

  1. Never let a good training opportunity go to waste. If you or someone in your team has recently attended some training make sure that you share those learnings and explore how you can implement some of them back into the business through team workshops.

Workshops can also be opportunity to meet like-minded people and network. Often you can learn just as much from the people you meet there as you can from the person running it.

At the end of the day, you’ll get the best results and have the most rewarding experiences if you approach professional development with an open mind and a willingness to engage and learn from others.