We hear repeatedly about the speed of change, and about how the very nature of work is changing. So in this volatile landscape, what do we need to do to be ‘good at work’?

It’s not just about technical skills.  It is also about getting things done.  And it’s about leading and influencing others too.  Which brings a requirement for learning into the mix, as many of these skills are not innate.  And add the realisation that we don’t only need the new skills, but the personal confidence to use them effectively too.

So what exactly is this new skillset?

For a start, it is about being engaged.  Motivating yourself and those around you.  It is about getting the job done well for your own reasons, rather than because someone is wielding a stick.  It’s the cliché of ‘going the extra mile’.  Taking personal responsibility.  It’s the stuff of collaboration, communicating well, influencing, delivering on high priorities…consistently.  Setting goals effectively, so they are achieved.  Visualising and communicating success so you build positive momentum to reach your targets.  Confidence, passion, humility, focus, inspiration, trustworthiness.  They can be lumped together as: Performance Skills.  And they can be learned and developed.

At it’s core, performance is about self-leadership and personal effectiveness, irrespective of the title on the business card or the organisational rung.

High performance is not just about what you do (although action is critical).  To be sustainable it is also about what you think and who you are.  And this becomes more critical when you have leadership responsibility.

The McKinsey Quarterly paper “How centred leaders achieve extraordinary results” sets out 5 dimensions that the researchers found were strongly linked to business performance:

  • Meaning
  • Engaging
  • Connecting
  • Positive framing
  • Managing energy

Yes, at Vibrant Frog we also think they’re important, and they align with our focus on positive and mindful leadership as drivers of high performance.  Much of our work involves showing leaders how to build effective thinking and behaviour into their specific business context.  Because our action is driven by our thinking and our self-concept, learning effective strategies for both helps us take consistent action towards business success.  And towards our personal dreams.

How can this help you?

For a start, think about your current behaviour on a daily basis.  Is it taking you towards the vision of what you want most, or further away?  Is there anything you need to change?

This does presuppose knowing where you are going, too.

If you’re not crystal clear, it is definitely worth the investment to get there.  So sit quietly with a pad of paper and contemplate what it is that you really want.  What excites you about your business, your career, your life?  An inspirational setting is a great place to start.  Or a comfy armchair.  Somewhere you feel relaxed and have space to think.  Then start writing, or drawing, or both.  Coloured pens work well – have fun with it.  And remember that the clearer you are on what you want, the easier it is to move towards it.

Author: Nicola Deakin