One thing I’ve learned from working with successful professionals is that they get results the right way. One practice I’ve observed is the way they reflect on past failings to determine what they could have done better. Rather than just chalking up their failure to circumstances, fate or other people’s failings, they think about it more deeply. It goes like this.
Think back to last week. What didn’t go well for you? Think of something you said or how you said it that it was taken wrong. Think about something you did or didn’t do that didn’t help the cause. Think of a result that didn’t measure up to expectations—yours or anyone else’s. Then ask yourself, “If I could have done something differently that would have helped, what could I have done?”
By asking the question this way, you assume responsibility for the outcome and it forces you to do something that high performers do routinely: they use their failures to learn how to be more effective. They know they can’t continue to do the same thing again and expect a different result. Instead, they are determined to do something else to get the results they want.
• How about that condescending tone?
• Or that delay in communicating to your team?
• Or minimizing someone’s concern because you think it isn’t important?
• Or assuming the worst from someone and taking it personally?
• Or insinuating it’s someone else’s fault?
These are all little things that you can easily put on others as their problem. That’s EXACTLY what high performers DON’T do. Instead, they pay attention to the little things that make the big difference and make changes in themselves.
From last week’s underperformance, what can you learn? What should you do differently next time? Don’t be like average professionals. Assume the responsibility for results and make the personal changes that not only get results, but make you better as well. Welcome to the tribe of high performers.