Making the Highest Possible Contribution, part 2

Executives often define their highest possible contribution as a function of their role or position, for example as a business owner or CEO. Of course, one’s roles over a career are transitory. I help execs take their contribution to the next level by identifying their best possible contribution as something that is uniquely theirs as an individual, rather than a feature of their role. The result is the discovery of something that they can bring with them to any organization or role.

Contributing at the highest and best level possible is the basis of breakthrough effectiveness.

I define effectiveness as the ability to achieve high-quality results within an optimal timeframe. Effectiveness is commonly equated with speed, but if rushing leads to shoddy results, issues have to be addressed repeatedly, often in an increasingly painful and time-consuming way. We achieve better outcomes when our focus is on contributing enthusiastically at the best of our capacity.

Help your people make the distinction between what they do well, or even better than others, in order to help them contribute at their highest level possible. By effectively employing their unique talents, skills, interests and relationships you will help them find fulfillment, which makes all the difference. When we’re passionate about our engagement, our curiosity and creativity are taken to entirely new heights. When these are applied to an outlet for our unique abilities, the result is a potent combination that leads to amazing results.

One possibility is that you may find that your employees’ highest possible contribution can be best achieved in a different role. Instead of avoiding these realities, embrace them and pursue any potential realignments that will allow your organization to retain and develop outstanding contributors.

As a result, you will improve your leadership, grow your organization and enjoy the incredible fulfillment of helping others develop. The point is to be genuinely effective with your unique abilities in your lifetime. Being truly remarkable is the foundation of your legacy; it is the gift you give to yourself and to the world that you engage with.

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” – John Ruskin


Making the Highest Possible Contribution, part 1

Do you ever feel you have so much potential in yourself that you can’t sit still?

Do you ever feel you have so much potential that you can’t sit still? All high performers feel this potential boiling up within them. It’s what they look for in turn when making key hires. But even with the most promising new employee, something can happen and, next thing you know, they’re stuck playing catch up with their inbox or putting out fires. Enthusiasm turns into frustration and if this continues over the long-term, even the best burn out or give up.

Although the weak economy has people clinging to their jobs, recent studies show that 6 out of 10 employees are looking to change jobs. That’s a costly amount of disengagement, even if employees are currently staying where they are. The heart of the matter is that many employees are not making their highest possible contribution to their organizations. I’ve worked with scores of executives to achieve breakthrough effectiveness and the key to success is always found in their level of contribution. Once we shift the focus of their engagement to making the highest level of contribution possible, the improvement in results is remarkable. The same can be done with direct reports.

Here’s how you can put this into effect.

There are things you can do better than anyone else, and there are contributions only you can make, by virtue of your unique talents, skills, interests and relationships. This is what I mean when I talk about your highest possible contribution.

I’ll be continuing this discussion next week in the post Making the Highest Possible Contribution, part 2.


Charming Chinglish

A charming aspect of China is Chinglish, the literal translation of Chinese into English. It is often the result of Google translate or like tool. There are thousands of examples to be seen in places that want an international flair or to genuinely communicate with non-Chinese speakers.
Sadly, Chinglish is considered by some to be an embarrassment and efforts have been made to eradicate it. For me it offers an insight into Chinese language and mentality that I would otherwise be without.
Here are a couple I’ve stumbled across in the past week that tickled me. Enjoy!


Feeling the (Economic) Heat

This is my fourth trip to China since first coming here two years ago. While cab fares have remained flat, precious little else costs the same as I remember it previously.

Over lunch with a business professor in Shanghai, he told me that the cost of living for his family had doubled in the past three years. His salary hadn’t.

I’m not an expert in Chinese monetary policy, and I don’t believe that the Chinese economy is overheating. Nonetheless, this certainly feels like some excess heat.

The question is, how will people deal with this kind of inflation squeezing their wallets?


Is China’s Economic Potential Oversold?

Construction opportunities abound

Two days ago we travelled from Beijing to Xiangtan, the second largest city in Hunan province. We flew into the airport in Changha, and took a 90-minute bus ride past rice fields glinting in the last rays of light at sunset.

As we arrived in Xiangtan at 8pm on Sunday evening, there was active construction everywhere. We drove past several large, contemporary apartment complexes and into our own enormous and beautiful hotel. Xiangtan is being transformed into a welcoming, modern city.

Ever heard of Xiangtan before?

I hadn’t before arriving. This minor city in China is a palpable economic engine. What’s striking is that there are hundreds of cities like this here.

As I write this I’m on another bus driving through Hunan Province. Every city is full of cranes. Between them land is cultivated and towns are being built up.

The domestic demand for construction and all related development is phenomenal and lasting.


Halftime 2011

Happy second half of 2011!

It’s July 1st – the start of the second half of the year, and an opportunity to take stock, pat yourself on the back and make any mid-course corrections. Some food for thought…

*What in your business and life looks different on July 1st than on January 1st?

*What do you want to acknowledge yourself for in the first half of this year? How have you been showing up beautifully, and what have you created? How about your team?

*What learning have you received that you didn’t expect on January 1st?

*What’s a stretch goal that you want to give your all toward achieving by the end of the year?

*What can you create in the remaining half of the year that would have the champagne taste a bit sweeter on New Year’s Eve?

*What are you doing that you would like to stop, slow down or change? By when?