Tag Archives: Performance Improvement

Relationship

Algebraically, a relationship describe how one set of numerical facts can affect another set of numerical facts.  Furthermore, a changing set of numerical facts will impact a solution.  When relationships apply to math, logic, rules and order dictate the rules.  Expectations are set.  A function applied to one number will have a clear and predictable effect on another number.

On the other hand, when humans are involved with relationships the predictability vanishes. Human relationships result in demonstrations of power that involve random and reckless force.  A loving mother with a strong relationship with her child can perform superhuman feats.  In protecting her child, mothers have been known to attack ferocious animals or physically move automobiles when their child is in danger. Men have been known to throw themselves in front of armed, homicidal attackers to protect their loved ones.  But, the power of relationships extends beyond protection.  In the most intimate sense, relationships between couples can create human life itself.

Organizationally, relationships are the cornerstone of business.  For example, a captain of industry might secure financing for a new idea largely based on individual character.  The banker and the business person do business together because they have a relationship.  As a result of the relationship-based financing, jobs are created. The capital fuels business growth which leads to new revenue which subsequently yields new profits.  Taxes are paid, communities are built. Careers are enhanced.  Families prosper. New employees make major expenditures: cars, homes, boats.  Wealth is created and then, multiplied.

In the best of worlds, the power of relationships is used to build for the greater good.  Considering that a relationship can create value, wealth, and even life, relationships need to be nurtured and cherished.  Not solely for the sake of monetary gain, but relationships have to be sustained to help develop potential and opportunities.  Relationships lead to trust and trust leads to hope. And people hoping for a better existence unleash the power to launch marriages, corporations, even governments.  Build relationships and embrace the power.

-The Voice

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Upgrade

An ambitious young supervisor argues with her manager about a simple technological initiative to increase their unit’s productivity and profits.  The idea is the right thing and the smart thing to do.  The manager rejects the initiative for various strategic reasons that all honestly involve maintaining the status quo.  Frustrated by the bureaucratic traditions of an old company on the slow road to extinction, the supervisors decides to alert her network, circulate her resume and upgrade her career.

Often upgrades refer to new software versions.  Sometimes it involves a cost.  It nearly always involves adding improved features and functionality to an established tool.  Another connotation implies relationships.  In relationships, an upgrade can mean a new and improved significant other, job, or social environment.  Again, the upgrade probably requires an investment of some type.

However, upgrades should not be limited to simple, superficial improvements.  Changes on the surface may result in new technology that requires expensive maintenance issues.  The wealthier boyfriend may have a pre-meditated shelf life on his relationships.  The new high-flying job may sacrifice the family-friendly atmosphere that had saved a marriage.  The shiny, new circle of friends with incredible professional connections may require prohibitive financial costs to remain included.  A superficial upgrade may yield desirable results, but may have some uncomfortable side effects.

Preferably, an upgrade transcends trinkets and appearances.  Upon considering a balanced perspective on upgrades, genuine life improvements are achievable.  Fundamentally, an upgrade requires a desire for new functionality and new features.  Understand that an investment in time, resources and/ or money will be required.  Even downloading a free computer upgrade takes time and may occupy the computer for an unproductive period of time.

However, upon committing to a personal upgrade, demonstrate the will and resolve for full execution.  Target internal improvement.  Don’t simply buy a new luxury vehicle, develop better character.  Don’t just strive for a better education, acquire and apply additional learning.  Beyond improving social standing, hang around people who are serious about developing reciprocal and mutual accountability for ongoing self-improvement.  An upgrade performs best when it changes internal characteristics.

Create an expectation that personal improvements will yield a higher performing individual. Acquire new knowledge, accept the challenge of a new environment, improve personal character.  Most importantly, realize an upgrade is not a single act.  Continue to look for the latest productive inputs to continue the upgrade process.  It is not an immediate improvement from one level to the next.  But it is a repeated process resulting in ongoing, greater accomplishment.  Learn a new language, train for a new job skill, use better technology, enter healthier relationships, connect with a more progressive social group, just take the next incremental step in the journey toward a better self.

Upgrade Today!

-The Voice

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Optimism

The wise elder proclaimed that “ultimately the optimist and the pessimist are both correct.”  To understand how two opposite viewpoints can both be right requires a basic lesson in faith.  If according to Scripture, “Faith is the substance of thing hoped for and the evidence of things not seen“, then faith serves as a constant, invisible connection that connects an expectation to an outcome.  In this sense, faith can drive decisions.  And, decisions can drive reality.  With faith, the expectation of a positive or negative reality can result in that exact reality.  But to enjoy the desired reality, faith requires work.

So assuming an equivalent opportunity to dictate a positive or negative reality, optimism and its subsequent positive actions seems to be the more attractive choice.  Optimism is a state of mind that reveals itself as a positive outlook.  It reflects an attitude and inspires success.  The belief that positive rewards are coming gives optimism its ability to assume life-giving traits.  Optimism enables dreams to become reality.  Recognizing that optimism is potentially a self-fulfilling prophecy, its resultant positive outlook holds a lot of power.

Additionally, encouragement is a cornerstone of optimism.  To help someone else believe that they can achieve, a positive outlook is essential.  Furthermore, witnessing another’s success is empowering.  The winning attitude bred of optimism is contagious and life-producing.  People, organizations, and nations are created from ideas for something better that catch a spark.  Optimism enables confident and bold decisions.  Those types of decisions ultimately deliver fulfilling results.

Optimism is a lot like hope. Hope is not a strategy, but optimism can be.  In business, an optimistic forecast can positively influence a company’s stock price.  Results eventually have to fulfill the optimistic forecast, but value is created while that result unfolds.  It is not the optimism that creates the value, it is the expected activity that creates the value.  Then upon execution, the belief continues that subsequent success will fuel more achievement and additional value.

Similarly, optimism is a common part of financial projections.  In creating a business plan, an optimistic case and a pessimistic case may both be part of the final product.  The pessimistic case warns of risk, but the optimistic case provides a sense of hope, of amazing possibilities.  It is very difficult to achieve without a firm belief in a positive desired outcome.  In addition to optimism – planning, hope, expectation and desire all come together to inspire an expected gain.  That inspiration provides a vision for achievement that in turn activates endurance which is necessary for success. Optimism is the force that drives decisions and then activity.  Pessimism leads to caution, and eventually stops progress.  Deploy optimism on purpose.  It is the main ingredient in creating satisfying benefits and living successful dreams.

-The Voice

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Passion

“Follow your passion!” echoes throughout auditoriums and meeting halls full of speakers advocating entrepreneurial pursuits, career changes, and plain-old personal improvement.  Commonly, passion is associated with physical desire and emotional intimacy.  However, passion requires persistence.  Lust can be for the moment, but passion is enduring.  It demands an ongoing emotional investment.  Passion emerges when an individual realizes that an activity, a cause or a pursuit is worth pouring in their innate gifting such that their impact on their world will  be unmistakable.

Without getting bogged down in the mechanics, physical passion can result in life and consequently a family legacy.  Likewise, professional passion can create wealth and in essence, a financial legacy.  In both cases, passion reflects enduring behaviors that provides a reason for living, a purpose.  Behind any significant outcome lies the passions of an individual, a group, a people.  And, these passions must be active.  Passions that are passive, are merely wishes.  Passions are not a byproduct of an objective that someone else said to do.  Passions are a direct result of what burns in one’s heart to do.

Being a doctor, serial entrepreneur, or professional athlete because parents said to work toward that goal, may yield achieving high-profile careers.  But, a truly legendary performer in any field is the individual that is passionate about their work.  It’s not just a job, it represents their essence.  It’s an activity where an individual loves the practice, the preparation, the execution, and the innovation.  Passion drives an individual beyond an activity that will define them, but toward an activity that the individual wants to define!  Passion is the gateway to greatness.

So first, find your passion!  Then, pursue your passion!  Intimately connecting with each component of the activity is the first level of reward.  But, the enduring reward is in performing the passion.  That is how excellence is achieved and value is realized.  That is where life is created!  Before the accolades, glory and rewards, realize that passion demands sacrifice.  In religion, passion requires giving of oneself completely to attain fullness beyond measure.  Passion is not easy and it is not a singular act. It requires endurance.  But, talk to a winner who has identified their heartfelt purpose, embraced the sacrifice to perform with uncommon excellence and established a legacy.  Then, absorb the tale of unmitigated joy that resulted from following their passion!

-The Voice

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Training

A young father brings home a bicycle with training wheels for his daughter.  He is ready to teach his daughter to ride a bike.  His daughter is happy and eager. Dad better be ready to work! Before the bike riding training turns into a child riding a bike, Dad will walk with the child while she pedals. He will run and hold the back of the seat while she struggles to balance.  Even after the training wheels are removed, he will run faster and hold on to support her.  When he finally lets go to execute successful bike riding, he will pick her up when she falls.  He will clean and bandage scraped knees.  He will offer encouragement to continue her efforts.  And, when dad is successful, he will let go and chase his daughter.  Then, she will race off faster than he can run.  He may have to pick her up a few more times.  But, very soon she is riding without his help, and dad is exhausted emotionally and physically from the completed process.

This is exactly how personal improvement works.  Training starts with an idea to improve someone.  Regarding formal education, it starts in kindergarten teaching children to learn simple rules like raising your hand to talk, taking turns, earning rewards through good behavior.  In executive training, the learning process turns to thinking strategically, demonstrating leadership so that others execute your vision, creating results in areas beyond your individual expertise.  Fundamentally, training involves changing behaviors that may have been individually working just fine to behaviors that will elevate overall performance.  That step requires an investment that will result in empowering people for greater achievement.

“What if we train our people and they leave?” is a classic question for decision-makers who are reluctant to invest in training their staff.  The logical response is, “What if you don’t train them and they stay?”  The clear outcome to the response is to endure poor performance.  Personal growth is stunted.  The child never learns to ride her bike because dad never wants her to leave his sight.

But change will prevail.  This is a fact of human and organizational development.  Experts argue that changing a habit requires an average of 21 consecutive days of changed behavior.  This applies to learning a new skill, overcoming an addiction, or changing a work procedure.  The process is established: educate, empower, measure, repeat…

Believe in the process. Invest in the process.  The proverb says “to train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”  It is the process that drives ongoing improvement.  Once improved performance is achieved, repeating the process for additional rewards is a natural progression.  Don’t stray from what works if  it successfully reaches goals  And, at every accomplishment enjoy the rewards. The real benefit is helping someone else whose success is important to the helper. This fact illustrates the mutual benefit to training. To do it right, a leader must launch the process, then be ready to work.  The ultimate reward is a trainee who now rides faster than the leader can run!
-The Voice

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Mutual

Mutual implies separate parties jointly sharing in progress.  Mutual describes assorted groupings where multiple entities combine to create more value.  In finance, mutual funds are groups of individual stocks that are brought together to deliver maximized returns for investors while minimizing the investment’s risk.  In relationships, mutual satisfaction is the goal of two people coming together trying to please themselves individually.  Together, each individual has an expectation of more fulfillment.  Additionally, a mutual goal is the purpose behind the collaboration of the group members.  The mutual goal is the win-win reflecting the reason behind the collaboration in the first place.

Whether combining stocks or engaging personal relationships, collaborative interactions are expected to deliver superior value.  A basket of equities have been shown to outperform the typical individual stockholding.  Couples, working together for a better life, illustrate a common expectation among marriages and romantic relationships. For another example, consider the business value of entering a transaction through a mutual friend.  A business referral is simply a coordinated introduction between two friends that have a mutual contact, but do not know each other.  The trust and value from the established relationships are transferred to include the third party, consequently creating a new relationship.  People doing business with people through mutual contacts is fundamental to the inner workings of capitalism.

But, what about the individual?  Profits are satisfying.  Loving relationships are satisfying.  But, how does the individual maximize their personal value?  Mutual satisfaction  requires at least two parties and they need to work together so that both parties are pleased.  The individual does not reign supreme, but individual needs do matter.  So, what about those that love money, or love achievement, or love power?  In those cases, mutual satisfaction still requires investing your time and resources toward the desired object.  Ultimately, the reciprocal satisfaction of money, achievement, or power may fail to fulfill, but the essence of “mutual” remains the same.  Deliberately contribute your energy and resources toward these goals with a collaborative partner and the expectation to recognize additional value.  This results in the win-win scenario and an outcome pointing straight to mutual benefit!

The ultimate prize in collaboration is mutual benefit.  In reality, teamwork via mutual collaboration creates far more value.  But, the right partners must be involved.  A mutual fund filled with stocks of bad companies will provide poor returns.  No magic exists in having multiple holdings.  The benefit comes from having a carefully, intelligently coordinated effort.  It’s not more partners, it’s the right partners.  Each party needs to know what characteristics and traits they require before collaborating.  An honorable trading partner, an attractive companion, a trustworthy supplier are all eligible for collaboration. In each case, a satisfying relationship creates more than the sum of the parts when the parties truly and intentionally work toward a win-win.  The outcome of a well-executed purpose provides mutual benefit.  And, mutual benefit satisfies!

-The Voice

Inspired by A.S.W.

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Today

Tomorrow is not promised.  All we have is today.  People tend to spend too much time planning for tomorrow instead of living for now.  Worse yet, worrying about tomorrow takes attention away from the task at hand.  Planning is a today activity with a focus on tomorrow.  Worrying is similarly a today activity with a focus on tomorrow. Both activities are opposite sides of the same coin. One has an expectation of accomplishment.  The other has an expectation of disappointment.  Regardless, these activities feature expectations and neither results in execution.  They do nothing today.

But what is it that happens today which is so special?  Simply put, everything!  All activity happens today.  Only the present is a timeframe for activity.  For activity to be meaningful it has to lead to results.  Results are not a byproduct of  a static state.  Positive results are acts that reflect improvement.  And, improvement means change.  In following this logical thread, focusing on today is a prerequisite to individuals making changes for the better.

Unfortunately, people often wait to make a change, that is to improve themselves.  They wait for the weekend, they wait for the New Year, or they wait to grow up.  They wait to get better before making a change toward improvement.  The majority approaches change like the man who says that he will visit the doctor as soon as he starts feeling better.  Essentially, this belief promotes the idea that change will come tomorrow.  However, the exceptional individual takes control today to make a change.  Change requires activity and activity only matters today.  Value today!

In business a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.  Finance students learn this concept at the beginning of their studies.  Because of the risk involved waiting for tomorrow, the possibility exists that an expected dollar tomorrow may never arrive.  Any value that is not recognized today is merely expectation or speculation.  Of course, forecasts and speculative investments have some value.  Nevertheless, all capital must be monetized at today’s prices before it can be deployed.  Currently priced capital can be used to buy goods, acquire businesses, and secure opportunities.  Until these assets are realized in today’s dollars, they are only hopes, or even dreams.

Dreams are for tomorrow.  Maximum value can only be recognized today.  All activity has to be done in the current moment. Execution happens in the present.  Living in the moment is a cliché, but it captures the power of today.  Today is activity.  What does not happen today, does not happen.  Target what you are ready to see realized today.  Make it happen!

-The Voice

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