When I was getting started in sales leadership, I learned one of the most important habits of winners: be strategic in how you use your results. We all know we need to pay attention to them, but we don’t often think about what we could do with them to drive even bigger and better results—in our careers and our personal lives.
In last week’s post, I wrote about how important it is to answer the question “How am I doing” if you want to achieve your goals. What you do with the answers is just as important.
Here are three things winners do with results that help them generate even bigger results and faster progress over time.
First, winners don’t hide from bad results.
No winner is afraid to admit that they’re behind or getting beaten in the race. Why? It tells them they need to put in more effort. Winners operate on a basic assumption—they have the ability to put in the effort necessary to win. If they don’t win, they didn’t put in enough or the right kind of effort. But a winner knows it’s not unusual to be behind the 8 ball at some point.
People who lose avoid or deny their bad results. They blame. They hide them. Sometimes they even lie or break laws to prevent people from finding out. It never works. In the end, they still lose, because they didn’t accept their bad results and adjust their effort and activity.
What bad result are you avoiding, denying, or excusing right now?
Second, winners use results to increase focus and accountability.
I’m a big believer in posting results. If you want to keep yourself focused and on track, you need a constant reminder of what you’re working toward and how you’re doing. It might be as simple as a sticky note on your computer or bathroom mirror.
Really successful people go one step further, though, and share their results publicly—even if it’s just with a small group. That’s what mastermind groups are all about. We’re social creatures, so we’re more comfortable letting ourselves down than we are letting other people down. And we want to be seen as capable and successful. Some people let themselves be limited by other people’s opinions. Serial winners flip it around. They’re self-aware enough to use those drives to build their personal accountability.
Whether you’re posting a weekly sales report for the sales team to see, getting a daily email to remind you of your bank balance, or using an app to tell people on Facebook how many miles you ran today or how many steps you took, posting or sharing your results is one of the best ways to improve them.
What one simple thing can you keep in front of you that would be more powerful than anything else in keeping you focused and on track?
Third, winners use results to drive competition.
Andrew Carnegie is famous for many things, but one of my favorite stories about him is how he used competition to improve results in a steel mill. Here’s the rough story*: His first day in the mill after he took over, he went to the entrance and shook hands with the day shift as they were finishing up and clocking out. He asked them how many units they produce each day. They told him 11.
When the night shift came in a little later, he was there to greet them. Just above the time clock, somebody had written a big 11 on the wall. When they asked him about it, Carnegie told them that was how many units the day shift produced. Then he explained that it seemed they had their better workers on the day shift and they were more efficient.
When the day shift came in the next morning, there was a 13 on the wall above the time clock.
Study after study has shown that we are happiest and that we excel when we have a way to judge our progress. The best runners want to be in the lane next to the toughest competition. They know they’ll be driven to run faster if they are. And, if they’re going to lose, they want to see how much they need to improve to beat the best runner next time. It’s one of the core habits of winners.
All of the best athletes compete with themselves to continuously improve. They know their results inside and out. They know exactly how much better they did in the last race than in the race before.
How could you be using your results to drive competition that drives even better results?
I’d love to hear stories of how you’ve used your results to build bigger results or greater momentum. Share them in the comments below so the whole community can learn.
*Please excuse any deviations from fact. I haven’t been able to put my finger on where I initially read this story.