Whenever we come across some of often-successful people and organisations, we always wonder how they are able to reap enduring success.
My own guess is that they are driven by the ‘perform or perish’ mantra. However, we will be left clueless when asked how does one perform consistently?
The first and foremost aspect is that it's not an accident or mere luck; performance by design is enduring while performance by default is not.
Strategise to ensure the momentum of your performance. This requires constant introspection, innovation and a creative probing of the area of your operation. Always remember that it is always critical to have the right kind of attitude to stay at the top.
Sustained improvement in the capabilities is vital for sustained performance particularly because the present day world is characterised by unprecedented competition. With each passing day, your competitors would be that much smarter than you.
Although, the destination is seemingly far, every little progress you achieve is the key to your career advancement.
Often we tend to ignore these little steps towards the progress. Quite often students ignore their weekly tests. The argument they often make is that these tests do not matter for the final exam, meaning in terms of marks.
But, then it’s not possible for a cricketer to be successful in Tests without playing a first-class match.
Every stage in the journey is equally important. Imagine that you are travelling in a train. You have a long distance to cover. As you reach every station, you get increasingly impatient.
When will my station come? This question always lingers. We even feel jealous of those whose destination has arrived. But passing through each of these stations is essential to ultimately reach your destination.
We are now living in a competitive economy and society. Our performance is not judged by what we achieve.
It's relative. Our performance is judged against those of our peers. Therefore, the urge to perform should be accompanied by a competitive spirit to score over the others.
This requires proper assessment of your own competitive advantage. When I first became the editor, I realised that I am pitched against some of the oldest and mighty competitors in the market.
Yet, I did not get disillusioned. My task was not just to improve the newspaper. I started thinking on the competitive advantages I could have.
By and large, we tend to harp on our inadequacies. This could be demoralising. Instead, the best approach is to build on your innate strengths in order to capitalise on the competitive advantage you have.
I did the same in my newspaper. The results are quite impressive. We not only withstood the competitive market, but evolved as a trendsetter, at least in some aspects.
My media organisation has a vast network of newspersons spread across the hinterland. I personally have vast contacts, thanks to my stint in public life.
This helped me to localise the news content and bring in crowd-sourcing of news. Here is where my newspaper scored over others who have huge resources at their disposal.
The story of Mahabharata tells us that even Saindhava could brave the mighty Pandavas, who tried to enter Padmavyuha. Of course, we are not Saindhava.
All of us are endowed with commitment, determination, capability, insight, energy et al. Often they dissipate in different directions.
All of them are key ingredients for success. But, the problem lies in putting them together in oneself or the entity, especially at a consistent level for enduring high performance.
This requires channelising all the key traits towards a goal. Management science calls it powerhouse approach. In institutions, this approach is much more important as people's talents work at cross purposes.
I have seen some of the best talented colleagues, whose performance is appreciable as individuals. But, they fail to work as a team, which could kill productivity.
Thus, it is important to bring in a synergy in you and your organisation so that the key attributes to performance complement with each other rather than contradict.
It’s wrong to assume that sustained and enduring levels of high performance and success need not be the exclusive talent of few gifted individuals. It's not a factor of chance or choice.
This is precisely why some of the highly talented individuals do not perform for a longer period of time while the relatively mediocre do so.
The difference lies in how best talent and determination are channelised. A high capacity water pipe cannot fill the bucket if there are multiple leaks in it. Identify the leakages in you and your approach and fill them before aiming for enduring accomplishments.
The American Opportunity Expert Glenn Llopis in his article ‘6 Unique Ways to Sustain a High-Performance Mentality’ (Forbes, Jan 17, 2012) suggests simple ways to sustain a high-performance attitude.
Know your direct competitors. Challenge yourself to exceed your competitors’ standards; constantly upgrade yourself as in a high-performance world, mediocrity is unacceptable; Achieve opportunity mastery in your work.
Glenn Llopis, in his book, ‘Earning Serendipity; 4 Skills for Creating and Sustaining Good Fortune in Your Work’, says, "See opportunity by looking beyond the obvious; combine vision with consistent execution".