The Newberry Leadership System for High Performing Women helps leaders build critical skills to the point where they become second nature (i.e., to the point of unconscious competence) – to help them get results they couldn’t before. So, today I want to share one simple technique I use in this System to accelerate this process. No matter what your gender, this can help you clarify specific behaviors and skills that drive your success.
1. Notice your results
This may sound basic but I cannot tell you how many of my high performing clients just don’t notice their accomplishments. They often move from one thing to the next with little to no acknowledgement or celebration in between.
Let me give you an example. One of my new clients recently received a prestigious award that truly distinguishes her from other executives. In my first meeting with her, she shared how she just couldn’t understand why she got the award and felt very uncomfortable with the recognition. It wasn’t until a close friend rattled off the evidence (a LONG list of her successes and contributions) to her that she realized how much she had really done to deserve it.
So, if this sounds even remotely familiar, you too may have to force yourself to notice. You can do this by taking 5-10 minutes a week to make a list of what you accomplished that week and the “so what.” For some of you, it may take having an external mechanism to force you to track your accomplishments. For example, another one of my clients begins each of her staff meetings by asking each person to share an individual or team success. This practice also forces her to think about what she has accomplished because she has to share it with her staff. These are just two ideas to stimulate some thought. You need to develop an approach that will work for you.
2. Identify the 2-3 key practices you used to achieve those results
For each of your more notable accomplishments, think about what made the biggest difference in achieving them. I went through this exercise with a client last week. She lit up as she realized how much she has consciously focused on adapting her communication style and approach with each of her team members based on what she knows about them (e.g., what motivates them, what they care about, their goals, etc.). As a result, she has seen big shifts in how her team engages with her and how they view her as a leader.
With senior management, she has worked hard to consistently provide “strategic snapshots” of her performance (see my article on this topic if you missed it), and they view her as a much stronger leader today than they did a few months ago.
By talking through what helped her achieve the results, my client got much clearer about what she needed to keep doing. She also realized that she was more purposefully using strengths she already had and implementing some new practices.
3. Maintain consistent focus on your successful practices
Once you realize what works for you, you need to keep doing it. Remember that he ultimate goal is to consistently achieve strong results over time. So, your skills or practices need to become habits (i.e., reach a level of unconscious competence). But before this occurs, you may need some targeted strategies to keep your practices front and center.
For example, one of my clients blocks 30 minutes each week to review her upcoming meetings and identify at least one specific outcome or goal for each of them. This forces her to notice opportunities to implement the practices that work for her and be more intentional. This small change has helped her get results much faster because she is making the most of each opportunity in front of her.
Finally, in this step, keep in mind that you may need to adapt your practices for the specific situation at hand. When you recognize what’s at the heart of your practice, that’s much easier to do.
Let me leave you with one last thought. I see high performers achieve great results time and again, but the ones who have the most success over time realize what led to their success. Remember that it doesn’t take a huge investment of your time to go through the three steps above. So, get started today. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself.