December 22, 2010 Leave a comment
I just watched an excellent interview on Harvard Business Review’s site. In this IdeaCase segment, Dr. Edward (Ned) Hallowell explains his vision of “The cycle of excellence” – a way to think about improving your own personal performance and getting to the point where you “shine” at work. It was part of a plug for his new book, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People. He also wrote an article available on HBR (subscribers only, unfortunately). A few of his points on the theory, and some of his tips for implementing this into your own career:
- There’s an illusion that with regards to personal performance improvement, the solution is to “work harder.” It doesn’t really work that way. It’s about starting with the right job, finding engagement in the workplace, and creating a state of emotional buy-in. Emotional buy-in is the on-off switch for peak performance.
- To be at your best you have to feel excited when you walk in the door.
- The cycle of excellence:
- It begins with selection –the right person for the right job.
- Then, you must create a connected atmosphere in the workplace. Make sure your day to day work environment is infused with the right energy.
- Play – engage your imagination. Don’t leave the most important parts of your brain in the glovebox.
- When you’ve selected, connected and started to play, then – you want to grapple. A line that struck home for me, from his article: “The notion that some people have a better work ethic than others, owing to moral superiority or a stronger character, is misguided.”
- Shine – Acknowledge your achievements as you progress.
- When you are living in a state of fear, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, this shuts off connection and imagination. Even, and especially when times are hard, you have to be able to grapple. Removing the prerequisite steps takes away your ability to grapple and winds up making you miserable.
- Q) Why do so many people end up in the wrong jobs? A) Because they don’t think about it – they take the first job they are offered, they try to please somebody else.
- Ask yourself “What am I good at, what do I like to do, and what is somebody willing to pay me to do?”
- You don’t need IQ, connections, or luck. One of the best ways to make your own luck is by choosing the right job.
- Q) How can you know you’re in the wrong job? A)You just know. You walk into your office and think “Now I have to try to do what I’m bad at, now I’ve got to do what I don’t want to do. “
- The idea of “Following your dream” can be totally destructive. Not everybody can or should be a model, or a professional athlete. Have a dream, yes – but ask yourself critically, does this dream make sense for me? Does it make sense for me to be a CEO when I’m a terrible manager of people?
- Q) How do you bring up the issue that you’re not being used effectively with your manager? A) It’s a lot easier when your manager brings it up. Make sure you frame it in the right way – don’t convey it as complaining, but point out that if you were used in the right way, the organization would benefit.