11/09/2014 07:24 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Stay on Track Under Pressure (Principle #7)

This blog is about the seventh and final principle on your way to better personal effectiveness, 'Stay on Track Under Pressure', originally introduced in the blog 'The 7 Principles of Personal Effectiveness'. It is important that you are working through each of the 7 Principles, and highlighting any point that represents a gap for you, or challenges your current beliefs or practices.

While the six previous principles will set you up for much greater effectiveness, the points below will help you stay on track amid the daily pressures and uncertainties of leading in a volatile and chaotic world.

I. Learn how to say no - with a smile. This is easily done once you understand that saying yes to something you shouldn't, means saying no to something you should. Rather than long explanations, simply say "thank you for the opportunity, but I'm unable to prioritize your request/project/etc."
II. Despite rhetoric about multi-tasking, we can only truly immerse in one task at a time. No matter how busy your day is, you can use the 'drawers' metaphor to stay present in each and every moment. Each time you're with someone or about to start a task, metaphorically open that draw. At the end of the interaction/task, close the draw by deciding the very next action(s) and due date(s), then move that task/enter that meeting in your system. This approach will help you to be truly present in every interaction.
III. If you are interrupted 'mid-drawer', push back on the interruption. If it's genuinely more important than what you're doing at that moment, then take 30 seconds to close the drawer before you engage.
IV. Be a perceiver not a 'judger'. We waste enormous amounts of time in debates about right and wrong, which is usually driven by ego. A better way is to focus on what's helpful or unhelpful.
V. Do not allow upward delegation. If you are doing the work of your subordinates, then who is doing your work? Have a clear expectation that BEFORE subordinates come to you for help, they have thought about the respective issue thoroughly. They will evidence this by being able to; clearly and succinctly describe the situation to you, articulate why the issue is so important (meaning, consequences, risks, opportunities), have some initial thoughts about next actions, and be clear on the question(s) they have for you at that moment.
VI. Regardless of where you find yourself in any given moment, on any given day, no matter how much you dislike it, accept it as reality. Then ask; "what's the best outcome from here?"

The seven A-D-D-R-E-S-S principles represent a proven pathway to increased personal effectiveness. The more of these principles you implement in your daily life, the more value you will create for your organization, and the more you will personally acquire the most precious asset of all: discretionary time.

You can read the other blogs associated with personal effectiveness here;
'The 7 Principles of Personal Effectiveness'
'Accept Responsibility (Principle #1)'
'Define Success (Principle #2)'
'Develop a System You Trust (Principle #3)'
'Recruit Your Stakeholders (Principle #4)'
'Embed Routines and Rituals (Principle #5)'
'Steer Meetings & Interactions (Principle #6)'

For those of you who are interested in some further reading in this field of personal effectiveness, here are the key books and authors that have inspired me;

  • First Things First by Stephen R. Covey

  • Getting Things Done by David Allen

  • Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

  • Man's Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl

  • The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey
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