5 Key Principles for High Performing Executives
Master Your Daily Performance by Using these Simple Techniques
Do you ever wonder how some executives just seem to have it all together and are going higher and higher up the ladder?
According to “The Huffington Post”, Shared Vision and Involvement is one of the main aspects of high performing leader.
Throughout my experience with executives, I discovered that there are certain things that set apart an ordinary executive from an extraordinary top executive.
These things are what we can call ”Principles of Execution”.
Ultimately what I aim to do with this article is to give you:
- practical tips which you can use to reach your goal;
- simple ways to be more productive, more involved, more in tune with your business;
- advice on managing your staff based on their strengths, and intrinsic values.
I hope that the following is useful.
1 . Set Goals to Increase Productivity
Having a goal in sight is so important to be as successful as you possibly can be. It keeps you motivated, it gives you a sense of achievement when you see your progress and it can stand you in good stead when it comes to moving up on the rungs of the corporate ladder. Now when we speak of goals, and especially in the business world, we can look at various types of goals which we can list and work towards. Below are three of these, what they mean and how you can start incorporating them into your daily life, both business and personal.
Wildly Important Goals
In this article by Franklin Covey he speaks about wildly important goals, a goal which is so important and in the forefront of your mind that you focus all your energy on that one goal. It also speaks about how in many businesses the employees do not even know what the goals of the business are as there either arent any or their are too many to comprehend and focus on. When you choose a wildly important goal, you identify the most important objective that won’t be achieved unless it gets special attention. In other words, your normal course of business won’t make it happen. You need to have a start line, a finish line and a deadline. Figure out what it is you want, how you are going to get it and by when you want it done.
It is almost certain that you would want to have goals which are achievable and significant. The best way to set goals in this way would be to look at SMART goals.
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
When we talk about SMART goals the above is how we would lay them out and classify them. Be specific and make the goal realistic and achievable.
When you have a clear picture in your mind of what it is you are wanting to achieve it will make it easier to actually get there and reach the goal which you have set for yourself. Timing when it comes to setting goals is equally important.
It is of no use to set a goal, have a clear view of what it is but not have an idea of when you actually want it to come into fruition. Therefore having an actual timer, as it were, for your goal to be reached will help keep you focused.
Put the date you would like to see your goal reached in your diary or on a calendar, ideally somewhere where you would get to see it daily so as to be a reminder.When the goal is measurable it assists when needing to be motivated to work for it and reach it at the time that you set out to. This video is also a great resource to watch and explains SMART goals really well.
We now come to the third type of goal, the one with intentions. Now when we look at the different goals we see the first two are rather specific and generally the goal that is set is the one which you will attain.
When we speak of a goal with intentions the best way to describe it would be with an example, I decide that I intend to meet with someone in a specific place, but when I get to said place my intentions change and I decide to go elsewhere and do something else. So I had an intention to do something but did not follow through with it and went in a different path altogether.
I discovered this article on www.blissfulmind.com which actually highlights intentional goals, but also looks at how to actually achieve the goal as you set it out. Knowing how to effectively manage time is also important.
As an executive this is where one starts, with time. In the book “The Effective Executive” by Peter F Drucker he speaks of this in the chapter “Know Thy Time”. In this part of the book he talks about how an effective executive will execute a three-step process of:
- Recording Time
- Managing Time
- Consolidating Time
Once you can put this into practice and plan and execute your goals with this in mind, you are one step closer to taking your intentional goals off of the paper and putting them into practice. You are also edging closer to being a effective executive.
2. Deep Work – What is it and How Does it Help?
Do you know what deep work is? Do you already incorporate this into your daily practice? Well read on to find out more about this and how it can take you from ordinary to extraordinary executive level.
Deep work is, as implied, when you are deeply focused on a specific task. You are cognitively engaged in this one thing completely and can therefore work more effectively and attain a better result thereof. Now you can choose to do deep work sessions on a daily basis or as in this article from Fastcompany.com, choose certain days where you know there will be fewer distractions and therefore the option to be fully engrossed in the task at hand.
I also read in a very interesting book called “Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” all about ways to actually achieve this level of focus in order to be successful.
It is no secret that we live in a world full of distraction, from family and home life to technology and all it brings with it, this article from Zapier lists 14 tools and tips to you avoid these distractions.
Something that Cal Newport mentions in his book about Deep Work is that there are a few strategies that you would need to put in place to do this effectively.
Things like deciding your depth philosophy, having a ritual in place and executing the task like a business are all discussed in this Medium.com article by James Le where he reviews the Deep Work book and gives you some excerpts of his favorite points within the book.
3. Measure The Number of Hours
As previously mentioned executives and time go hand in hand.
When we measure the number of hours we spend on a specific task we can determine whether the amount of time is too much or too little. Are the hours spent even producing quality work?
Measuring time, the number of hours put into something can also then be measured against the quality or even quantity of work produced. Once you can see this you can tweak it accordingly.
For an execution time is of the essence, there is never enough time and therefore spending it wastefully is not in your best interest, in fact it is not in anyone’s best interest.
So, when you sit down to start working on a specific task why not set up a timer? There are so many free online resources where you can track and time the number of hours spent on something. An example of this would be Toggl, you can find it at www.toggl.com. A brilliant little app which allows you to put tags, create projects and start and stop the clock whenever you need to.
You can also generate reports so you can see where your time is predominantly spent and where you may need to add more time.
There is also a video tutorial on how Toggl works
4. Focus on Strengths not Weaknesses
Do you have a strength? Do you even know what it is?
Most people tend to focus on what they can’t do, or if they fail things they say, “Oh I can’t do it, I give up!”. Imagine you took that thought and turned it into, “Oh I can’t do it, but….I can do…”, insert whatever you can do, especially if you can do it well.
An effective executive knows that the best way to get ahead is to build on strengths not weaknesses.
The queen of Pinterest, Melyssa Griffin, has written an article about StrengthsFinder and what makes it so effective and why you should give it a try.
These strengths pertain to staff, the superior and even the strength of oneself.
A good executive will look at what a person can do rather than what the job requires. When a person is utilizing their strengths within the business everything else can fall into place.
5. Make Values Your Focus
Values are those things which we hold in the highest regard. Focusing on them brings about more productive work because you will have been able to prioritize far better.
Organisations have values too and when you have the personal and the professional values clearly defined and aligned it is easy to keep on the path and reach the ultimate goal.
Ways to find the values is to think about the things that you feel are most important to you, the things which are foremost in your mind when you are asked a question like, “What are the top 3 things which you hold most dear to you?” When you can list those things you will have found your values. Mindtools.com has a very interesting and informative take on values and how knowing what they are can be beneficial to you.
In his book “Managing Oneself”, Peter F. Drucker he speaks of this, he lists five questions, one of which is, “What are my values?” This book is truly inspiring and has many interesting and useful points to take into consideration.
In conclusion, it would seem that to be a top-level executive has many factors to take into consideration.
It is definitely something which is possible and just taking some time to plan and focus more intently on things will only benefit you in the long run and on your journey to the top.
I hope that this has been helpful and that you find the resources and tips to be something you can take away from here and implement into your planning.
Thanks for reading!