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The Secret to Raising Your Game

December 09, 2011

A recent article with legendary runner, Utta Pippin, revealed her take on
what it takes to perform at an extremely high level.   Note she’s the first
woman to win the Boston Marathon three times in a row.  She adds an
interesting spin at the end that the interviewer doesn’t catch.  It’s huge. 

Utta Pippin video

For those of you who don’t have the time to load and watch the video,
Utta starts by underscoring using familiar SMART goal criteria for
getting in shape and accomplishing other goals.

She references the need for goals to be believeable, broken down into
concrete, acheivable, sub goals or milestones, and tied to specific
measurement points, e.g. translate “I’m going to get in shape” to “I’m
going to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.” 

All probably stuff you are familiar with, but here’s the sleeper.

When she talks about running she lights up, she’s talking about something
she enjoys and she let’s all of us in on a little, well big, secret.

What if that’s the key to every change moving forward.  Maybe the
word fun is to limiting, but we all need to find a way to make it pay-off,
to make it rewarding… but get this… along the way, not just at the end. 

Ah, so if you set out to accomplish something, and you don’t find a
way to make it anything but a grueling endurance process, your
likelihood of seeing it through to the end drops like a rock. 

Got it.  

Hey let me extend that concept just a bit more for you, especially as
it relates to the world of work.

I am convinced that for people to be high performers at work they
consistently need 4 things, just like every high performance athlete.
Watch what’s 4th on the list, it may surprise you.

1. We all need a game plan, what’s next, what works, what’s critical
2. We all need a scoreboard, some way to tell if we are getting ahead
     or falling behind
3. We all need a game clock, some way to tell how much time we have
     left to work with.

and then there’s number 4.

4. We all need recognition.   We’ll all need a pay-off.  You do, I do,
and that can include a number of things, but funny enough getting
recognized by someone you trust and value, often stays with us the

Bottom Line:
To achieve goals there are a pretty consistent set of criteria that work, called
SMART.  To play at a high level in the world of work, we need a similar
framework, including a game plan, a game scoreboard and a game clock…
but just as much as anything else we need a pay-off that ultimately hinges
on recognition.  Are you getting enough recognition?  Do you take
advantage of giving it to others and in so doing supporting them playing
at a high level?  Let me know.

Working Strategically and the 3 Legged Stool of Outcome, Game Clock & Value
Most of What You Have Read about Smart Goals is Wrong

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