4 Steps to Optimal Performance

In London, Games fever is upon us. In the spirit of the Olympics, I offer a simple method to optimise your performance. Many of you are likely to have had a mid-year performance review so you know where you stand - what is working well, what you need to pay attention to and what remains to be done.

It is my hope that the GOLD™ method will come just at the right time to both inspire you and provide you with pragmatic tips so you add value to your employer and you too get a gold medal for your performance in 2012!

So let's kick off with GOLD™, a four-pronged approach to optimising your performance at work.

Step #1: be clear about your Goal!

The 'G' of GOLD™ stands for 'Goal' because having a clear objective is fundamental to performance. If you are unclear about what your goal is, you may both start late and then procrastinate along the way. A clear objective sustains your motivation, ensuring you cross the finishing line. And if you aim for a position on the podium, being clear about what drives you, about what compels you will mean that you are able to make whatever effort will be required to secure that prize will be essential in case your spirits flag.

One basic principle of mine which I offer you in order to get clear about that goal of yours: think of your goal as a gap you are trying to close. What's the difference between now and the moment when you achieve your goal? Does it involve more or less of something? Might it mean starting something? Or stopping something? When you identify a goal, you find the focus for your motivation to perform, the 'what' of your performance is like a beacon you stay honed on.

With this step, you understand fully the 'what' of your performance and you have a clear target.

Step #2: why does this Objective matter?

The 'O' of GOLD™ stands for 'Objective' as it now important to flesh out your aim. This will provide you with the level of motivation, to complement the focus of your motivation which comes from identifying an objective in the first place. This is an important step which is too often overlooked. Several people can share a goal but their reasons to pursue it could vary greatly. It is the folks with the deepest motivation who will stand the greater chance of being able to achieve their goal.

To really connect to your objective and thus avail yourself of the energy and succour which a clear goal provide, let me point you to the SMARTEY© method which will enable you to make your goal specific, measurable, achievable, recorded, time-bound, energizing and, last but by no means least, your own. Let me emphasize how important it is that you pursue a goal which you personally believe in because it will really increase your motivation and therefore your performance potential. So, even if your objective is work-related and you didn't come up with it yourself, let me encourage you to make sure you buy strongly into it.

When you have a fully fleshed-out goal, you discover the 'why' of your performance: it will be like a never-ending source of fuel to drive you forward, to sustain you and nourish you on your way. The 'why' allows you to start believing and then to continue believing that you can achieve your goal.

Step #3: what's your taLent?

This one was a tough one: the 'L' of GOLD™ does not easily correspond to words which centre around ability - words like competencies, skills and capabilities. So 'talent' it is with the 'l' capitalised! Now that you have a target you can stay focused on, now that you are fully engaged with and invested in your goal, it is time to look at the ingredients which will help you succeed, as well as take a cold look at any possible obstacles. On the plus side of this equation, your capabilities - what you can do, like your ability to run fast - but also your inner resources - what you are, such as resilient in the face of adversity. If you're unsure about your assets, ask someone who you think knows you well and understand how you will have to leverage your attributes during your performance. If you identify a deficiency, look for outside help whether it's undergoing training yourself or finding a colleague with whom to collaborate whose skill set will complement yours.

On the minus side of the equation, it's the same analysis of what's going on both on the inside and the outside. What can you not do so well - for instance, you run fast but not for very long - and what holds you back - such as the view that training for eight hours a day is simply too much? You can work to overcome both your skill shortages and your limiting beliefs but first you must know what they are. Similarly, are there obstacles in the outside world, such as a lack of opportunity or a scarcity of funds? And if so, what strategies can you devise to overcome these challenges?

With Step 3, you have the 'how' of your performance, which allows you to play to your strengths, address those skills which need polishing and enlist the help you need to achieve your goal.

Step #4: have a grand Design!

Finally, the 'D' of GOLD™ stands for 'grand Design', by which I refer to your action plan for goal success. You see, at the third step, you found out how you can make it happen but, with Step 4, you answer the question "What needs to happen for it to happen?" The 'D' stage is the last piece, the organisational element, where you bring together the what, why and how of your performance: you harness the power of all the previous steps in the GOLD™ sequence to come up with an actionable and unbeatable strategy.

There you have it: how to go for GOLD™! So, go on, try it out! I'm cheering you on!

Author of the "5 Gear Shifts to Accelerate your Career!" report, Alexandra helps ambitious and high-performing professionals tackle their frustration at work so that they resolve a complex problem, find a way out of a difficult situation or achieve a personally-meaningful objective. As a Career Accelerator, Alexandra works with gifted individuals to obtain the promotion they deserve, orchestrate an in-house move to a different group, succeed fast in a new role as well as get clear about their next job and how to find it.

Alexandra's clients get to do more interesting work which they enjoy, avoid becoming stuck in one job when in fact they want variety, and learn to lead and work through others if they wish to. That way, they make a greater difference to their firm and, of course, grow their income! Alexandra will share with you stories and insights from her gratifying but eventful 23-year career in global finance, from Paris to the City of London via New York's Wall Street which you can use to accelerate your career faster than on your own!

Alexandra is the author of the career management e-book "5 Gear Shifts to Accelerate your Career!" Get your copy by going to Alexandra's website at http://coachingforinspiration.com.

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