High Performance Leadership requires a High Performance Life (via High Performance Self-leadership). Because you can’t outperform anyone (including yourself) if you’ve driven yourself into the ground, trying.
I’ve coached scores of high performers over many hundreds of hours, and we keep coming-back to the same lists of essentials that make the material difference.
And it’s definitely lists plural.
Because a first response gives us List #1: the leadership-focused initiatives we know all about (and that I’ve written plenty about) that might include: Clarity of Vision; Deeper Purpose; Well-formed Outcomes; Strategy; Execution. And so on.
Consistent, sustainable, career-long success
But that’s only half the story – and the poorer half, at that. Because these considerations are mostly tactical. And the type of success High Performers are interested in is consistent, sustainable and career-long.
I wouldn’t think it my place to tell you what success is. So know that my comments come from experience. Because I always have my clients define their own brand of success. (Success as “self-defined” is a deep-seated belief for me – and a cornerstone of my coaching practice.) And I don’t think I’ve ever had a client talk about the types of success that would be fleeting or superficial.
And so we press-on with enquiry to generate List #2: an after-thought – but nevertheless, a crucial ingredient for the brand of success we’re all interested in.
Here are some elements common to “List #2” that you might find useful to introduce to your own daily practices.
#1. Extended Self-awareness
High Performing Leaders are acutely self-aware. And they put that awareness to extended use by not just checking-in on how they themselves are, in response to events; but how their being is impacting those around them.
The further difference with High Performing Leaders is they are consciously intentional with this self-awareness, using it to navigate their way through the day and continually inform their approach, ongoing.
#2. Effortless Energy Shifting
High Performing Leaders recognise that their day is a series of transitions between contexts, each requiring a different energy. And that those transitions are opportunities to regenerate energy.
It is the High Performing Leaders habit, instinctively, to allow themselves to let go of what’s gone before; and to set a conscious energy intention for what’s about to come. To make this a practice of your own: take a moment inside your transitions; be mindful of the word “release”; and then set a positive energy intention for the next meeting.
#3. Environment by Design
High Performing Leaders are clear on what they need from their environment to be at their best. They then do 2 things:
They architect an environment design to ensure it gives them what they need to consistently show-up with the qualities they know they need to bring.
They make it their habit to continually check-in on how and where their environment is supporting them – and how and where it’s holding them back. Where an environmental element s preventing them from hitting the mark – they make adjustments.
#4. Operating Rhythm
High Performing Leaders know exactly the operating rhythm that best balances their effectiveness and productivity with the demands placed upon them. To others, it might seem effortless. But there’s design there: best times of day and week; requirements of certain types of work; clarity on priorities and delegation; tempo alongside cadence (speed of working alongside breaks).
That operating rhythm then decides the day/week/quarter. And it’s the High Performing Leader’s habit to use their diary to make it happen. Discipline as systems – not discipline as willpower.
#5. Continuous Learning
High Performing Leaders never stop learning. A cliché for sure. But let’s extend that and acknowledge high performance in this area includes being open to not knowing and comfortable asking for help.
It’s the High Performing Leader’s habit to look for the learning. In everything. To challenge assumptions. Ask the uncomfortable question. To continually seek fresh sources of information – and putting that data into action (transformation, not information).
#6. Self-leadership, Self-care
High Performing Leaders love thinking, feeling, doing and being at their best. And they know, inside-out, that that only happens when they take care of their health and wellbeing. Self-leadership.
Nothing special here: it’s all the (universal) fundamentals. Sleep. Diet. Nutrition. Exercise. But High Performers then increment this in 2 ways: they add their personal fundamentals; and they do them all (including the universal fundamentals) daily.
Whilst you’re building your practices, try this: choose just one fundamental. Build a daily practice around it. And then do just that: Every. Single. Day.
Building High Performance Life Practices
So, a simple question for you. What do you need to do consistently and over time to achieve your brand of success?