Based on rigorous and extensive research on happiness in the workplace, Jessica Pryce-Jones and her associates at iOpener (an Oxford-based consultancy) identified what she characterizes as “Ten Top tips for work goals.” She discusses each of them in her book Happiness at Work: Maximizing Your Psychological Capital for Success, recently published by Wiley-Blackwell.
Here they are, supplemented by a few brief comments by me.
1. Make sure your goals are realistic and appropriate for you.
Comment: This presupposes you know who you are what you really want.
2. Ensure you have the right personal resources.
Comment: Fitness should be high on the list but seldom is.
3. Develop appropriate strategies for accessing other resources you also need.
Comment: For example, identify those who can provide the best (i.e. both knowledgeable and candid) advice, who have the best network of contacts, and who are both willing and able to be your “evangelists.”
4. Make your goals concrete rather than abstract.
Comment: Focus on specifically what you will do and set deadlines, rather on what you will think about, discuss with others, etc.
5. Eliminate distractions.
Comment: Distractions are most attractive when we must complete a difficult and/or unpleasant task. Much of what peak performers do involves what others would rather not do.
6. Make a consistent effort.
Comment: Be a Bunsen burner, not a sparkler.
7. Find the right environment in which to achieve your goals.
Comment: To paraphrase Teresa Amabile, know what you really enjoy doing and then locate where, with whom, and under what conditions you can do it.
8. Make certain that you do not have conflicting goals.
Comment: I highly recommend that career goals be thoroughly discussed with members of the immediate family so that (a) they understand what the goals are and (b) they are thus better prepared to support efforts to achieve them.
9. Keep in mind that time, energy, and effort must be invested to achieve the meaningful happiness you seek.
Comment: Also keep in mind advice from Tony Schwartz that effective management of energy is most important. Sufficient sleep, relaxation, and exercise are needed to renew it.
10. The journey toward each goal is often more important than achieving it.
Comment: I agree that the process is best viewed as a “journey” and for many “pilgrims,” its greatest value is derived from what they learn about themselves en route.
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I highly recommend Pryce-Jones’s book as well as Arlene Johnson’s Success Mapping: Achieve What You Want…Right Now!, Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, and The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations That Win, co-authored by Dave Ulrich and Wendy Ulrich.
As several of my previous commentaries correctly suggest, I think Arlene Johnson’s Success Mapping is one of the most valuable books published in recent years for those who are unemployed, under-employed or simply confused about how to manage their careers effectively.
In Do More Great Work published by Workman Publishing (2010), Michael Bungay Stanier explains how to “stop the busywork, and start [and complete] the work that [really] matters.” He cites Milton Glaser’s observation (in Art Is Work) that everything we do falls into one of three categories: Bad Work, Good Work, and Great Work. The first of what Stanier calls “maps” (i.e. exercises) is explained in his book. Download a free template by visiting http://www.domoregreatwork.com/downloads/.
As the directions explain:
1. Divide the circle on Page 17 into three pie slices representing how much Bad Work, Good, Work, and Great Work you are currently doing. “Trust your intuition on this – you don’t have to be overly precise. And by the way, the proportions are almost certainly not one third each.”
2. Write down two examples of each type of work in each segment. “This helps make it clear to yourself just what you’re talking about.
What will be revealed?
1. What does your current mix tell you? “How do you feel about how things are? What are you happy about? What are you disappointed about?”
2. What would your ideal mix be? (i.e. relative percentages of three types) How would you like the map to look? Most people want no Bad Work and more Great Work, but the percentage of Good and Great varies from person to person and from time to time. This ‘gap analysis’ – where you are now as compared to where you want to be – will help provide some of the impetus to make changes, and also give you clues as to what you might want to stop doing, continue doing, and start doing.”
My own take on all this is that terms such “bad,” “good,” and “great” are relative to factors such as context, relevance, impact, and value. Also, that at least some Bad Work must be completed to achieve Good Work, and, that at least some Good Work must be completed to achieve Great Work. Finally, that what Steve Jobs characterizes as “insanely great ideas” are the result of a collaborative process that often develops over an extended period of time, not of momentary revelations (Eureka!) or epiphanies.
1. Success of both demands exceptional determination, persistence, patience, and confidence. A think skin also helps. Rejection and disappointment are inevitable.
2. Most of the obstacles, barriers, and challenges encountered are either unfamiliar or more daunting than anticipated.
3. Both require little (if any) waste of time, energy, resources, introductions, follow-up and follow-through opportunities, etc.
However, the Lewis & Clark expedition also suggests a significant difference: They were selected by President Thomas Jefferson (like Washington before him and Lincoln after him, a surveyor) to explore territory for which there were no maps whereas jobseekers have an abundance of resources to formulate a map that will guide and inform their initiatives. In my opinion, the single most valuable of these resources is Arlene Johnson’s book, SuccessMapping.
If you have no need of the assistance Arlene Johnson offers, congratulations!
However, if you know someone who has that need or if you yourself are underemployed, unemployed, or have only recently entered the job market, obtain a copy of her book ASAP.
I strongly recommend that SuccessMapping be read carefully, then read again at least once with the most relevant passages highlighted or underlined. I also suggest that the exercises be completed only after the second reading.
Seeking career objectives in today’s job market without a map is like walking 20 miles from your home while being blindfolded.
Is that an exaggeration? Yes, but only slightly.
Given the current unemployment rate, additional lay-offs that are imminent, and competition is ferocious for the few positions that are being filled, the careers of individuals need the same “building blocks.”
I know of no one else who possesses more and better business wisdom than does Jason Jennings. Be sure to read his various books, especially Think Big Act Small: How America’s Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive and Hit the Ground Running: A Manual for New Leaders, both published by Portfolio/The Penguin Group.
1. Down to Earth: Modesty and humility in word and manner are most appropriate. Outstanding performance attracts attention (not self-promotion) and speaks volumes, silently but effectively. Those with the
healthiest egos have emotional intelligence (e.g. they consider it a privilege to serve others).
2. Keep Your Hands Dirty: Volunteer for the most unpleasant tasks, offer assistance to colleagues in need of it, share credit with others. Occupy the “trenches” and you control the “battlefield.”
3. Make Short-Term Goals and Long-Term Horizons: Often, progress consists of a series of “baby steps” to achieve an especially ambitious goal. The same is true of barrier removal during change initiatives. Generate momentum with incremental success.
4. Let Go: As Jennings suggests, “If it’s DOA, bury it.” Learn from the past but don’t let your mind dwell there. Grow, reach, stretch, stumble, get up, but keep moving in the right direction.
5. Think and Act Like an Owner: Take a proprietary interest in your organization. Eliminate waste (especially wasting time), focus on what’s most important rather than on what’s urgent, and be a builder rather than a spectator.
6. Invent New Businesses: Be constantly alert to what can be improved, what can be used in new ways, what can succeed in new markets with different customers. The #1 competitor? Who you are today and what your organization is today? Constantly improve or deteriorate and eventually….
7. Create Win-Win Situations: This strategy is especially important during negotiations and also applies to relations with competitors as well as with customers. Respect others’ rights; indeed, when necessary, protect and defend them.
8. Choose Your Competitors: Both organizations and individuals should know who they are…and who they aren’t. Leverage strengths. Know “when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.” And also know when to be bold, to be aggressive. Keep in mind that competitors are not enemies and these days, some competitors may soon become strategic allies.
9. Build Communities: Establish and nourish relationships with others by earning their respect for your expertise, then their respect for your character, and finally their appreciation of being associated with you.
10. Grow Future Leaders: Be unconditionally generous with the information, knowledge, and wisdom you possess as well as skills and techniques that will help others to success. Measure your own success in terms of the nature and extent of how well you collaborate with others on their success.
In addition to Think Big Act Small and Hit the Ground Running: A Manual for New Leaders, I also highly recommend Arlene Johnson’s Success Mapping: Achieve What You Want…Right Now!
Be sure to check out the following resources:
In Arlene Johnson’s most recent book, SuccessMapping®, she identifies “eight success blockers” and then devotes a separate chapter to each of the eight steps that will avoid or overcome those barriers. It is helpful to think of the process of personal development as a journey of discovery as well as a sequence of specific achievements. I agree with Johnson that many (if not most) of the mot valuable lessons will be learned from delays, mistakes, and even failures. Indulging my passion for metaphors, I also suggest that there will be dead-ends, dry wells, detours, and an occasional train wreck before achieving success, however it may be defined.
Johnson does a brilliant job of organizing her material and then presenting it within a sequence and framework that enable her to establish and then sustain a personal rapport with her reader. In certain respects, she functions as a travel agent. In other respects, she functions as a mentor. To me, she seems to be a pragmatic idealist: she combines a passion to understand and then explain what works, what doesn’t, and why with a rock-solid faith in what is possible if (huge “if”) an individual is willing and able to make and then sustain a commitment to her or his personal development. Johnson is to be commended for her skillful use of a number of reader-friendly devices in each chapter that include a brief list of purposes or objectives, the relevant “Success Blocker,” “Important” reminders that serve as heads-up, self-audits that actively involve the reader in the process, and a “Checkpoint” at the chapter’s conclusion.
During the current economy, most of us are cutting back on what we spend on the holidays. However, this is also an excellent time to make a modest investment in ourselves and in our future. For example:
1. Purchase a copy of SuccessMapping and read it with great care.
2. Then re-read it, this time highlighting key passages, recording notes, and completing all of the exercises (pages 1-168).
3. Now proceed through the first two appendices and complete the exercises and worksheets. Pay special attention to the “Personal Strengths Inventory” on Page 182. Don’t rush. Proceed at our own pace.
Note: Before beginning to work on our Success Map in Appendix Three, we should re-read the completed exercises and worksheets in the first two appendices.
4. The Success Map worksheet asks us to record an “intention statement of what we want to accomplish.” I suggest that the goal be
• Exciting, preferably inspiring
• Consistent with your passions
• Appropriate to your strengths
Dorothy Gale and her companions were fortunate: They were given a yellow brick road to follow and a destination to seek.
It remains for each of us to decide on a destination, devise a map by which to locate it, and then pave the “road” that will take us there. That extent of self-reliance and self-direction is the genius of what Arlene Johnson offers in SuccessMapping®: She explains How to Do That.
Why wait for Santa Claus? Purchase a copy as a special gift to yourself. Purchase copies of it as a special gift for family members and friends. You and they can then welcome the New Year with more than resolutions. Bon voyage!
Here is a brief excerpt from my interview of Johnson. The complete interview is also available.
Morris: Opinions are divided as to whether or not it is possible to balance what is most important in one’s career with what’s most important in one’s personal life. What do you think?
Johnson: It’s my opinion that we need to get over it. The notion that one person, male or female, has to achieve all things in all areas to be considered a success is a set-up for frustration and failed expectations. The key is to evaluate all of your business and personal objectives and decide what is most important for you achieve at this time. Then declare your intention to achieve that important business or personal objective(s) by focusing your thoughts, behaviors and actions on those specifically. You now have a laser focus on what most matters with less energy scattered with non goal-relevant activities. Then evaluate and leverage your goal-relevant strengths and resources to engage others to help you achieve those other not as critical but still important life priorities. And yes, with this assessment strategy you can seek and experience better balance in your career and personal life.
Morris: Based on your extensive experience, what have you found to be the best process by which to measure performance fairly, accurately, and consistently?
Johnson: I consider that to be a million dollar question. (Unfortunately that statement doesn’t have quite the bang for the buck it used to have!)
A consistent process to fairly, accurately and consistently measure performance may not require a static business environment, but it would definitely benefit from it. That would mean no changes to costs of doing business, no changes in market demands, government regulations, key customer accounts or competition. Alas, needing to quickly align to rapid and complex change issues continues to be the operating mantra of most organizations.
As these changes shift an organization’s go-to-market costs it can alter how sales get measured and compensated. What is fair and should be consistent regarding compensation? Is to motivate and retain top producers and coach others to desired performance levels by clearly defined compensation plans that reward performance rather than activity or just showing up. In today’s environment, you see less “showing up” behaviors. Those behaviors have become more evident and less tolerant by team members and management.
Here’s what helps: Create a learning organization by culturally adopting strategies and processes for success to help individuals (again, at all levels) to move from default thoughts and resulting behaviors to being engaged in what will help individual employability and organization marketability.
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If you wish to read the complete interview, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As noted previously, Arlene Johnson is founder and president of Sinequanon Group, Inc., a global consultancy specializing in executive leadership, change and sales performance. Johnson is the author of the new book SuccessMapping®: Achieve What You Want . . .Right Now! Learn more about how to create your own Success Map at www.successmapping.com or email Johnson at email@example.com.
SuccessMapping: Achieve What You Want…Right Now!
Emerald Book Company (2009)
In this volume, Arlene Johnson offers an eight-step process by which to create a map for individual achievement. “In other words, SuccessMapping…the processes we can use to realize more of our personal potential.” After identifying the “eight success blockers,” she devotes a separate chapter to each of the eight steps. It is helpful to think of the process of personal development as a journey of discovery as well as a sequence of achievements. I agree with Johnson that many (if not most) of the most valuable lessons will be learned from mistakes and even failures. Johnson does a brilliant job of organizing her material and then presenting it within a sequence and framework that enable her to establish and then sustain a personal rapport with her reader. In certain respects, she functions as a travel agent. In other respects, she functions as a mentor. To me, she seems to be a pragmatic idealist: she combines a passion to understand and then explain what works, what doesn’t, and why with an rock-solid faith in what is possible if (huge “if”) an individual is willing and able to make and then sustain a commitment to her or his personal development. Johnson is to be commended for her skillful use of a number of reader-friendly devices in each chapter that include a brief list of purposes or objectives, the relevant “Success Blocker,” “Important” reminders that serve as heads-up, self-audits that actively involve the reader in the process, and a “Checkpoint” at the chapter’s conclusion.
This book includes four uncommonly informative appendices. My guess (only a guess) is that Appendix Three: Success Map will be of greatest interest and value but after a careful reading of the first appendix, “At a Glance – SuccessMapping® Step Checkpoints,” and then completion of exercises in the second, “SuccessMapping Worksheets.” I also presume to suggest that those embark upon the eight-step process keep a journal near-at-hand and record their daily initiatives, what they learned from them, their thoughts and feelings, and anything else that will expand and enrich the learning process. The process that Arlene Johnson recommends requires commitment, patience, determination, and focus. That is the challenge and, yes, that is also the opportunity. Those who read this book are urged to check out the wealth of resources at www.SuccessMapping.com.