The way you think, evaluate, and make your decisions drives your options for action.  These are inextricably linked together. The perspectives and mindset that you approach a situation with constrains the set of choices for decision-making, and ultimately your options for what actions you can take.

Considering that the greatest impediment to change is our habits, being able to shift your thinking is critical to being able to shift your options, choices, and actions.

Are you looking for any of these results:  to be your best, lead your team better, get the most from your people, communicate with greater impact, or build outstanding client relationships?  Using the set of universally effective principles that follows drives better perspectives and practices, provides better choices, expands your decision-making, and expands the results you can expect.

Below is an introduction to 7 principles and practices that expand your perspective and open more options for making the most of every opportunity.  In many situations, just using one or two of these can produce profound possibilities – and results. Just imagine what mastering more of these could produce….

1. The Optimize First Law of Success™

    • Distinguish what you do that works – and do more of that.
    • Distinguish what you do that does not work – and do less of that.
    • The ultimate key to success is being able to make these distinctions .

2. Better Results With Improved Mindset and Perspectives

There are two high-impact keys to successfully improving your results in every situation: change what you do, or change how you are thinking.  The obvious challenge in changing actions is the universal major impediment to change: your habits.

This means that changing the way you are thinking about a situation holds greater promise, opportunity, and likelihood for shifting your choice of action.  Awareness of biases, limited options, stuck rules, and other major obstacles in your thinking opens the door to more and better choices.

Here is a great practice:  In every important decision, have at least 3 options to choose from whenever you consider the best way to achieve a meaningful result, produce a superior relationship, or decide an important direction.  This ensures you are not stuck in a narrow range of limited thinking. 

3. Knowing What Your Real Job Is

This insight and understanding is important for every top professional and leader – regardless of your title.  What would you say, in the simplest and most comprehensive way, is your job? Would everyone you deal with agree with you?

At the most fundamental level, you have to recognize 2 critical axioms about dealing with people, whether they be clients, colleagues or collaborators:

  1. Delivering value is your most important result with your clients, colleagues and collaborators – yet it requires them and you to know what is most important to them.
  2. Having asked thousands of people from all around the world:  “What percentage of time is the initial request received from clients exactly what they need and would value most?”   The answer to that question averages to 10 to 20%.
    a) That means if you do exactly what clients ask you to do, 80 to 90% of the time you are missing the opportunity to deliver maximum value – your most important result.
    b) That means that helping and facilitating them to get clarity about what is really most important and valuable is a critical key to ultimate success.

Understanding these key points, the answer to the question has to be:  Your most fundamental job is facilitating what is most important to the people you are dealing with.  Only then are you in a great position to deliver that value to them.

4. Always get clarity on what and why before ever addressing how

The three most important questions for effective action and results are:

  • What is most important?
  • Why is that the best choice of what is most important?
  • And only then ask:  How can we best achieve what is most important

The reality is that too many people are doing too many things that really don’t matter or have value.  The ability to define the most important priorities clearly, and be able to explain why these are the best choices positions you for greater impact, better prioritization – and greater engagement, performance, and results from your people.

If you are clear about what is most important, and it is well understood by those around you, it is easy to figure out how you and your team will accomplish that.  Conversely, the greatest cause of overwhelm is doing too many things that really don’t matter or have value.

5. The “50 Choices” Paradox

For more than 20 years I have asked thousands of people from more than 40 countries:  “Can you do everything on your to-do list?” There has not been a single person who answered in the affirmative.

However, almost everyone fails to consider the next logical and valuable question:  How do you choose what you will actually do?

Here is a way to understand this dilemma it seems like everyone has, and which I ask every top executive and professional I work with to consider and choose:

  • You have 50 things on your to-do list (for many people that is a good day…).  You now have to make a choice from among 2 options:
    1. You can choose to act on priorities 1, 2, and 3 – and never touch the other 47, or
    2. You can choose to act on priorities 4 to 50 – and never touch 1, 2, and 3.

You can choose one of these options, but never touch the other – what is your choice?

You know that the common sense, smart answer is to work on priorities 1, 2, and 3.

However, that is not common practice.

When common sense becomes common practice, the most remarkable results show up

6. Knowing What Is Most Important is the Key to Decision-Making

Poor decision making comes from focusing on issues other than what really matters.  It leads to enormous effort and very little value, and is one of the leading causes of the overwhelm that afflicts so many people today.

Highly effective decision-making always starts with and is centered around first defining what is most important.

Only after getting clear about what is most important do you have the basis for high quality decision-making,which is your key to high impact results.  Whether in a personal or professional setting, answering the question “What is most important?” well is essential for effectively moving forward. It is worth always being sure you have this clear and focused before you make any critical decisions.

7. Results are always worth more than activities or processes

So many people are hyper-actively jumping into action, assuming that doing something will always be useful.  However, if you know the high value result that would serve you, your team, and/or your organization – the value of the results will always be worth multiples of any action or process.

Professionals and even leaders who are good at doing certain things often lose sight of the fact that doing anything should be in service of achieving an important result.

Furthermore, it is far more effective to start with the high value result in mind before deciding to do anything.  Otherwise, acting prematurely – or before the important results are clear – is another major contributor to the overwork and overwhelm so many talented people and organizations struggle with.

All of these principles, practices, and skills are explored more in depth in the award-winning book, The Ultimate Sales Revolution.  You will dramatically increase your insights, accelerate your thinking and decision-making, and expand your ability to produce exceptional success with every client and colleague you deal with.

If you enjoyed this article, you will likely find these posts valuable:

Why Your Clients Aren’t Thrilled to See You
The Power of Rapport
The Greatest Sources of Miscommunication in Client Relationships

To learn more about attaining the ultimate in inter-personal and client effectiveness – becoming an Indispensable Partner™, click here.

To accelerating and elevating your success,

Steve