For my final in speech class, I have my students prepare and deliver a two minute speech. It is an easy, short assignment. I’m just checking to see if they’ve learned the basics – how to introduce a speech, how to have a clear thesis, how to have clear, main points in parallel form. I give them a list of topics to choose from, and they all finish this sentence: “I encourage you to____.”
Frequently, I take one of the left-over topics, and present a two minute speech of my own. My favorite is: “I encourage you to develop a life-long travel plan,” closely followed by “I encourage you to be a life-long reader.” Today, I presented a speech on” “I encourage you to always aim at self-improvement.” I boiled it down to three life choices:
Choice one: You can succumb to self-stagnation (you stay the same, and go nowhere)
Choice Two: You can be overcome by self-destruction (you actually go backward, and get worse)
Choose Three: You can aim for self-improvement (you can actually get better, in a multitude of ways, over and over again)
I think these are three pretty clear choices. And the best one, to constantly and consistently aim at self-improvement, is a tough assignment.
Conduct your own Performance Review — An incomplete Blog Post related to Daniel Pink and his new book Drive
First, my apology. This is an incomplete blog post, prompted by too brief a listen to an excellent interview. (It’s a matter of when I was in my car). Krys Boyd, KERA interviewer extraordinaire/host of Think, interviewed Daniel Pink today. I only heard a few of the moments, and I have not had time to listen to the full broadcast from the web site
But, here is a nugget worth adopting. Pink said that most performance reviews are not all that helpful – too seldom, too stressed. Instead, he recommends conducting your own performance review, every week. He said that you should “call yourself into the office,” and conduct the review, asking yourself questions such as:
• did you reach your goals for the week?
• did you set challenging new goals for the next week?
• did you work on developing new skills this week?
It sounds like a terrific idea, and goes along with the deliberate practice/10,000 hour concept quite nicely.
Anyway, check out the interview at the Think website. (You can listen to the interview after they post it. I don’t know exactly how long it takes, but yesterday’s interview with Paul Nicklin is now up, so it is certainly up the day after the interview).
And, Pink’s new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, is in our “probably will present” list for the First Friday Book Synopsis for later this year.
My favorite animals include polar bears.
Here are some lovely photos of them:
Maybe the most-known and most influential business understanding of the last few years is Jim Collins’ “Hedgehog principle.” You know the three circles:
In the book I am presenting tomorrow morning at the First Friday Book Synopsis, Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t by Kevin Maney, Jim Collins writes the foreword and is quoted again near the end. Here is a key excerpt:
“There are two ways to get to the top. One is to climb an existing ladder, which can be a bit crowded. The other is to make your own ladder, and put yourself at the top.”
So, aim at a clear sense of what distinguishes you from those around you… This is counsel not just for a company or organization, but for an individual. In other words, work on your own personal hedgehog concept, your own hedgehog differentiation.
And, it is not just “what can you be “best in the world at,” but simply, what do you do best personally, and how can you cultivate that, nurture that, improve on that, and then leverage that to build your success? “Figure out what you can be best at, and create a category that fits.”
The book argues that you have to choose to make a key trade-of: between high-fidelity and high-convenience. Fidelity is the total experience of something. Convenience is how easy (or hard) it is to get what you want. For example, if you are not the “best” real estate agent, then make yourself readily accessible/convenient – return every call, always answer your phone, make it very, very easy to get to you – excel at convenience!
So, what is in your personal hedgehog circles? What can you do best? Figure that out, cultivate that, and build on it constantly on your own road to success.