Americans spend more than $12 billion a year on the nation’s most pervasive addiction. Like other compulsions, we can’t get enough to satisfy our longing. It’s self-help and the seemingly insatiable desire to be more successful.
Every couple of weeks, there’s a new self-help book, video or seminar. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest addition to his shelf of self-help books is totally enticing – “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” How can anyone resist the appeal of getting to the next rung on the job ladder, of making the numbers every quarter and of going from the bottom to the top?
If self-help were so effective, then tens of millions more of us should be the most engaged and highly motivated people in the world, smashing every performance record where we work.
That’s not the case, to say the least.
The problem isn’t how we think or feel, but what we do. It’s the doing that makes the difference. Here are business ideas that get the right results:
• Stop talking to ourselves. As individuals, it’s so easy for us to think we’re right. And it’s the same with companies, too. A recent cars.com TV commercial makes the point. When the “team” hears the new plan, everyone cheers – all except one guy, who says, “It’s a stupid plan.” In the next shot, he’s standing at the curb holding a box with his personal stuff.
Many companies, like individuals, become so enamored with their own ideas (read brilliance) that they shut out other views. Amid the cheering, no one dares say, “That’s stupid.”
Ideas, plans, initiatives, campaigns and just about everything else benefit from diverse input.
• Never stop improving. Many get to a certain point – a plateau – and stop, as if they’ve gone far enough, while a few keep on improving.
A never-stop-improving attitude puts the focus on what matters: performance.