- A peak is very small, so you can't stay there long. Would you be satisfied if you had one good day of work and three poor ones, or closed one deal, but lost out on several others within your reach?
- Once the peak is reached, there's only one way to go--down!--and the drop is usually precipitous. Have you experienced those big swings in performance, where one week you're totally "on your game" and the next you're completely off it?
- You may arrive at the peak too early or too late, missing a chance for success. Have you felt the frustration of lost opportunity because you weren't as on your game as you were the week before?
- Essential information. Gathering the necessary information is the initial and most obvious contributor to Prime Business. Without this foundation of data, none of the other contributors will be of use in achieving your goals.
- Task-specific knowledge and skills. Gaining the requisite knowledge and skills is the next influence on Prime Business. At every level of your education, training, and immersion in the business world, most of your time is devoted to identifying and developing those areas that will enable you to maximally fulfill your responsibilities.
- Crucial resources and tools. In most parts of the business world, success doesn't occur in isolation. Rather, success involves a gathering of resources and tools (e.g., people and equipment) that is necessary to accomplish your goals. The ability to take advantage of these often separates great producers and outstanding leaders from those who are merely good at what they do.
- Physical health. Maintaining your physical health is an often-disregarded, yet fundamental, contributor to the enduring success associated with Prime Business. If you're working your way up the corporate ladder, being healthy and fit--all else being equal--will help you outperform those who are also climbing up the increasingly crowded ladder of success. If you are a business leader, living a healthy life and encouraging your team to do the same pays performance dividends in terms of consistent productivity, performance under pressure, and long-term team retention. Though, admittedly, if you look at many successful people in the business world, you will find many who are unfit, overweight, and lead unhealthy lifestyles. In fact, pursuit of corporate success often creates a lifestyle that leads to an unhealthy life. I would argue, however, that the inability to master the ever-present physical demands of business life will ultimately take its toll on health, performance, and life in general.
- Psychological and emotional capabilities. The hallmarks of Prime Business, consistency and the ability to overcome challenges, are grounded in your ability to respond positively to the psychological and emotional demands that are a daily companion to those in the business world. Skills such as staying motivated and confident, mastering stress and emotions, and maintaining focus are necessary to achieve Prime Business.
- Interpersonal skills. Anyone who aspires to a leadership role must possess the interpersonal skills to work effectively with and direct others. True leadership takes empathy, assertiveness, communication, inspiration, decisiveness, and the ability to build a team, among other essential qualities.
Just like an athlete, you can achieve some success by maximizing a few of these areas or by being pretty good at all of them. But, just like world-class and professional athletes, the best in your business have developed each of these six areas deliberately and completely. The first three contributors are an accepted part of the education and training of those in the business world. Physical health is another factor that is gaining recognition as a key component to the success of a company (note the widespread presence of corporate wellness programs and in-house exercise facilities).
Interestingly, whenever I ask businesspeople if the psychological and interpersonal aspects of corporate performance are less than, as, or more important than the other four factors, the majority say as or more important (as the baseball legend and noted misanthrope, Yogi Berra, once said, "90% of sports is mental, the other half is in your head"). But, to be honest, with a Ph.D. in Psychology, I don't even believe that. All of the mental skills in the world won't help you succeed if you don't also have the necessary information, knowledge, skills, resources, and tools to get the job done. But the mental side of business is an essential piece of the puzzle. Yet, despite its professed and real importance. Attention paid to the psychological, emotional, and interpersonal skills ranges from complete neglect to periodic exposure; certainly not the investment that should be made given their importance. Prime Business Alert! begins your journey into this often overlooked, yet all-important, area.
What Lies Ahead in Prime Business Alert!
Prime Business Alert! will show how you and your team can achieve Prime Business. The focus of this series of blog posts is on offering you deep insights, clear information, and practical tools you and your team can use to perform at your highest level consistently under the most challenging conditions. The ultimate goal of Prime Business Alert! is to show you how to maximize your performance, productivity, and profitability, and to achieve your goals.
If you have questions or comments about this issue of Prime Business Alert!, feel free to email me at email@example.com.