Pro Tip: Stop Trying to Fix What’s Wrong and Start Doing More of What’s Right
“Living your best life”
“Being the best version of yourself”
“Finding true happiness”
These are all familiar phrases of the consciousness movement that’s gaining mainstream awareness in our culture. One of the key tenets or philosophies of this way of thinking is: “What you focus on, you get more of,” or to put it another way, “energy flows where attention goes.” Simply said, this means we control, to a very large degree, the way we experience life. If we choose to focus on negative things that zap our energy and make us feel “less than,” that’s pretty much what we’ll get. And, conversely, if we can find ways to focus on the positive, what we’re grateful for, and things that elicit feelings of joy and happiness, then that’s pretty much what we’ll get.
So what does that mean for leaders at work? It means stop focusing on the negative and dedicate more time to the positive! It’s time to focus on and then replicate the many successes of your business.
Consider this: every business is founded with the goal of being the best. No one invests time, money, and heart into being mediocre, right? So, with the intent of producing the best product or service and delighting customers, leaders spend much of their time analyzing results to fix the issues keeping them up at night – like how to tweak a business model to maximize ROI; how to do things faster, better, and cheaper; and how to fix the things that are broken in the organization. As leaders, we mostly focus on what’s not right. Sure, that’s partly human nature, but when we do this, we neglect to focus on what actually is working and how to celebrate and replicate those successes. And that’s where the real opportunity lies.
It’s Time to Make the Most of the Successes at Work
Every organization has high performers – a blueprint for success – and many things function really, really well. Most leaders don’t know what their everyday successes are, or who is driving them, because they’re so consumed with the squeaky wheels. And the ones who are aware of the successes hardly leverage them. Why? Leaders assume their best performers have natural talents and skills that can’t possibly be adopted by the masses, or they have the impression that best performers are already sharing their best practices. But our work with many leading organizations tells us this usually isn’t the case.
In most instances, the best performers don’t realize they’re doing anything great or different from the rest. Or they’re simply too close to the work to identify what sets them apart. This means leaders and high performers actually don’t know what’s different and needs to be replicated. Yet if their “secret sauce” could be uncovered, simplified, and shared, you could create an organization full of things that are going right.
Ways to Leverage Your Organization’s Successes
We’ve learned over the years that a second set of eyes is helpful for leaders and companies to uncover the gems in their midst. That’s why we created Root Insights – to study organizational teams on every level, figure out what makes them tick, highlight the high-performance habits, and scale them across the business. We aim to help the many adopt the success routines of the few.
But you can start the process today by asking some questions from a different perspective than you typically would:
- What if I stopped looking for the things that aren’t working and started looking for the things that are?
- What if I spent time discovering and replicating those activities and teaching others how to model those behaviors?
- What if the business was full of “what’s working” examples and had a lot less of “what’s not?”
- What if I focused on what I want more of?
While it’s easy to identify your high performers (just look at the most successful aspects of your business), finding out what makes them successful might take a bit more sleuthing. Your high performers think they’re just doing their jobs, unaware that they have practices, habits, knowledge, and skills that should be shared with and taught to others.
High performers also do something unique: they intuitively figure out what to stop doing in order to achieve extraordinary results. Here’s how to decode the mystery of the high performer and turn the biggest leadership mistake into the biggest potential win.
3 Steps to Decoding the Mystery of the High Performer
1. Gain insight into what’s working.
Define the characteristics of high performance that really matter to you. Is one customer satisfaction? Is another sales growth? Productivity? Then look at those specific areas of your business. Is there a group of people doing similar activities? Can you rank or chart their performance? This is how you can see trends that will reveal the behaviors and habits you want to replicate.
2. Stop rewarding only new ideas.
We tend to believe that bigger triumphs will come from newer or grander ideas. We forget that the cost and time to come up with a new market, business model, product, or service are usually significant, while the cost and risk to replicate something proven are little to none. Instead of encouraging your people to reinvent the wheel or create a new way of doing things, consider rewarding people who replicate the actions already in practice that achieve the best results. After all, if something is working well, you know it should yield even greater outcomes if scaled.
3. Use your high performers as teachers.
Enlist your high performers as partners in scaling their best practices among their peers. Most people love to learn from each other in a collaborative fashion. It’s much more effective to have successful people act as mentors than it is for you to just tell employees what needs to happen.
When you feel compelled to spend all your time fixing problems, you miss the enormous opportunity right under your nose. So leverage your organization’s successes! It’s much better to make a FUSS about what does work:
- Focus on the high performers.
- Uncover the drivers of high performance.
- Simplify for mass rollout so it’s applicable to everyone.
- Scale the secret sauce throughout the organization.
Start Focusing on the Success at Work
Leaders, this is your call to action. Make this your year to stop focusing on the negative and give up on fixing the broken. Instead, highlight the best stuff, the successes at work, and the people who make it happen. Then help them bring their knowledge, nuance, and practices to everyone in the organization.
What’s one thing your organization does really well?