Are you settling for a sub-optimal outcome?

Alison Smith
16 January 2014

16 January 2014 | Alison Smith

Alison SmithIn my last blog I suggested it’s our unconscious routines - when we're on automatic pilot - that can stop us achieving our goals and succeeding.

Today I'd like to explore the motivation we might have for examining our behaviour, because otherwise why would we bother? This is true for any change. If you’re happy with the current outcome, why would you want to change what you’re doing? The premise behind any change is a desire for a different outcome. But I wonder how often we settle for the current outcome, not realising we’re settling for something sub-optimal.

First I'd like to start with an assumption that to achieve your goals at work you, or those who work for you, need the following skills:

• Motivation and enthusiasm

• Mental clarity

• Analytical ability

• Problem solving

• Interpersonal awareness

• Team working

• Concentration

• Access to long and short-term memory

• Comprehension

• Effective listening

• Confidence when speaking

• Organisational skills

• Ability to handle stressful situations and conflict

• Critical judgement and decision-making

• Effective communication and expression

• Creative writing

• Speed-reading

• Stamina and energy

Feel free to add any others you can think of.

Without these skills things can start to go wrong – for example negotiating sub-optimal pricing, choosing the wrong suppliers, failing to satisfy stakeholders, making mistakes, escalating risks, compromising production, fractious teams, deteriorating customer quality, missing out on innovation and much more.

Do you have access to these skills every day? Or does your ability in them wax and wane? Do you have access to each of these skills when you need them? Are you aware of times when you couldn't access them when that might have had a negative impact on your performance?

If you're like most people then yes - your abilities will wax and wane, and no - these skills are not always available when you need them. That's normal. What I've found is we're not always aware of what we're doing that could be negatively impacting our ability to access these skills.

My upcoming blogs will explore the unconscious routines that can prohibit optimal performance of these skills. Please think about what positive difference having access to these skills would have in your life.

☛ Alison Smith is a consultant, facilitator and coach

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