Focus on your personal impact - Business Works
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Focus on your personal impact

by Tim Robson, leadership coach and author Three billion of us across the planet will show up for work today ... but which version will arrive at our workplace? Is it one our friends would recognise, with a performance we can be proud of? Will our impact match our job description or what we sold the company at our interview? Tim Robson, leadership coach and author, discusses our impact and why we should focus on it.

We all spend too much time at our jobs to bring anything other than our best selves to the jobs we do ... and work can be amazing once our heads are in the right place. With roughly 250 working days in a year, a 40-year career looks like 10,000 days doing work of some description ... and before we all know it, another 250 will soon have ticked over. When we show up at our best in the work we do, our impact is greater and it doesn't feel like work anymore. A few steps will help us operate like this more often, in more places and with more people and customers.

Leave school

maintain grown-up ways of reacting and operating

Some jobs can feel like school, except we now get a paycheck. When our working environment resembles School with Pay, our boss becomes Teacher and we head back to the playground in the ways we think and respond to the situations around us. We all left school at some point to take our place in the world as adults, so leave school in your own workplace thinking and maintain grown-up ways of reacting and operating. Head out of the classroom and you'll make a greater mark in the work you're involved in.

Think outcomes

Where is your work taking you and how will you know when you get there? The most effective plans are those that focus on the future, where you can initiate without needing permission and have a sense of what life will be like once you've achieved them. It's then much easier to know what support you might need, the specific aspects you need to focus on right now and a first couple of steps to create momentum for getting there. We're all heading in one direction or another - make sure yours is one you've thought through effectively.

Develop your strengths

the world's best performers are anything except well-balanced

Our gifts, talents and abilities are like muscles that need stretching and development. We often assume that our strengths are fully formed and so focus on the aspects of our jobs we find challenging. Problem is, the concept of a high-performing individual being 'well-balanced' in every area is a myth (and complete nonsense!). Imagine a world-class long distance runner being advised to take up the javelin or pole vault in order to be classed as a 'fully-formed' athlete ...?!? The world's best performers are anything except well-balanced and they focus most of their efforts on becoming one or two per cent better at things they already excel in. Your strengths are the things you sold us at interview, so train them like the muscles in the rest of your body - your extra two per cent today will work better for all of us ...

Get your head in the game

What we give attention to determines our overall direction (in both paid work and the broader lives we create), so what occupies our minds while we're working has a massive bearing on the results we get at the end of it. Take time out regularly to re-calibrate your thinking and re-focus on the purpose and possibilities of the work you're doing; zero-in on the partnerships, conversations, activities and decisions that take your plans forward and will help you progress towards the goals that you've set yourself. Minimise your distractions, maximise your focus.

by Tim Robson

Boss your schedule

Busy is easy, effective takes more effort, so get a grip on your schedule and manage it, rather than the other way round. Focus on your outcomes, stop doing things that add no value and make the most of every one of the 10,000 days at your disposal. And the next time someone asks you how you are, try not saying 'busy' and replace that for a more effective word - what would it look like for you to say 'fulfilled', 'developing' or 'happy' in the job you do?

Now Show Up!

Show up for work today ... this week ...


Because life's moving quickly and 10,000 isn't really a big number ...

Tim Robson is the author of Showing Up: How to Make a Greater Impact at Work published by Capstone (2014)

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