Business and self-help books promise to fill talent gaps that increase productivity, decrease stress, and close more deals. Studies reveal, however, it is not a strong, single skill that propels people to peak performance; it is a strong process that is consistently followed.
I am intrigued and seduced by the idea of isolating a weakness and fixing it to change my life. It is enticing to believe I can organize my files and make more money; it is exciting to think I can purchase Contact Management software and get more clients; it is motivating to believe I can read Abraham Lincoln’s biography, and tomorrow be a better leader. This information adds to my repertoire of ideas for better performance, but if they are not consciously incorporated into a process, they remain randomly stored ideas that can even be misapplied.
What good are time management skills if you juggle unproductive activities? What good is an energetic leader who fails to engage his followership? What good is a new computer if you overlook necessary follow-up activities? Taking time to identify a repeatable process ensures you consider all the factors that synergize to create better outcomes, while eliminating unproductive pursuits.
The Ingredient or the Diet?
I was at dinner recently, and I watched a friend pour a hefty addition of olive oil on his salad. He commented that Italians and Greeks use a lot of olive oil, and they live forever. I decided not to point out the holes in his theory–but I rehearsed it in my mind: olive oil may be necessary-but-not-sufficient to longer life. What else is part of the Mediterranean lifestyle that adds to longevity? They eat fish and vegetables; they walk more; they work less; they nap; when seniors grow old, they move back home with their family; you do not see a McDonald’s on every street corner. It is convenient to believe we can isolate olive oil as the elixir while overlooking the other factors, but not productive. Similarly, it is our total composite skill set arranged sequentially, and followed religiously, that sustains our success and productivity, not a quick addition or shortcut.
Start at the Beginning
My theory in The Bamboo Principle endorses following a methodical process, not a trick or secret tweak to our routines. The biographies of great companies and high achievers reveal that each follow a system, with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Building on talents, engaging a coach, and considering your value system are the first of the 7 Roots Beneath Results™ that sets the initial foundation, and eliminates ready-fire-aim behaviors. It only takes a few moments to consider a game plan that ensures you put first things first. Taking time to “know thyself” is liberating and highly productive. Once “coaching conversations” take place about “what activities and when,” there is a renewed sense of clarity and focus that cannot be experienced after reading a good book on a single theme.
Take time to map your talents, activities, plans and goals, and consciously incorporate them into your daily routine. Start each day with focus and direction, and don’t tread water, swim to your destination. You can learn a lot from books offering skills and ideas, and you should add those fine points to your already-in-place process that sets a solid foundation for growth and development.
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About Ken Lodi
pitch meetings in the Financial Services Sector for companies such as Lehman Bros., Bank of Boston, Fidelity Investments, and Entertainment Companies such as Disney, MTV and Warner Bros., and speaking on a variety of business topics. His passion for “word-smithing” earned him the moniker, “The Communicator.”
He later authored Tapping Potential: Achieving what you want with the Abilities you Already Have; Front & Center: Presenting Ideas Clearly, Concisely and with Confidence; and The Bamboo Principle: The Roots Beneath Results—a book and training program that develops individual and collective talents, and enables people to make their greatest personal and professional contribution. Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to The Bamboo Principle as “an enlightening, inspiring book which details your path to achieve sustainable personal and professional growth.”
Ken has delivered over 2,500 career presentations in five countries, and is widely regarded as a content expert on the topics of Talent Development, Sales Training and Communication. He has spoken to scores of Fortune 100 companies, and has been featured on Fox and NBC news as a subject matter expert. He is in demand because be blends solid information in clever and memorable anecdotes that inspire listeners.
Organizations invite Ken to speak–and to deliver his training programs–to accomplish their Talent Development and Succession Planning initiatives, inspire audiences, and promote Social Responsibility projects. He works regularly as a behind‐the‐scenes coach to leaders in Business and Entertainment; he lives in Los Angeles and several airport terminals.