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The Harsh Truth About Why You Aren’t More Successful

The Harsh Truth About Why You Aren’t More Successful

The road to success isn’t always as easy as it sometimes appears when judging from the success stories of people living their dreams. Most successful people don’t have the luxury of getting ‘lucky’ and actually have to work hard and put a lot of effort into their goals. So what sets the goal achievers apart from the rest? The answer to this question may not be what you want to hear…

If you’re wondering why you just can’t seem to make it big, the harsh truth is that YOU may be  standing in the way of your own success! Most people want success but don’t actually do anything to make it happen. Everyone has the opportunity to be successful (we’ve all heard hundreds of rags-to-riches stories), it’s what you make of your opportunities that really matters.

Here are the top five ways in which you may be hindering your own success.

1. You don’t do what it takes

It’s one thing wanting to achieve a goal and quite another doing what it takes to achieve it. Many people start out with very real intentions of becoming more successful but don’t actually have the commitment to do what it takes. You may start strongly and then give up at the first hurdle and make up convenient excuses for either postponing or quitting the task all together.

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Successful people don’t make excuses, they stick to their word and commit themselves wholly to their tasks – if something needs to be done, it gets done. If you’re not willing to take massive action and work for your goals, how do you expect to ever achieve them?

Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. – Jeff Olson

2. You procrastinate and don’t challenge yourself

If you spend more time thinking about tasks than actually doing them, it’s time to make some changes. Instead of making things complicated, put theory into practice and bring your plans to life – you know what needs to be done, so go out there and do it!

What’s stopping you? Don’t let yourself succumb to fears of resistance, failure and challenges. It takes real strength and courage to do what we know we need to do in order to have what we want. If it’s any comfort, we often paint things out to be a lot more difficult than they actually are, but you’ll never know what you’re really capable of unless you give the task an honest try!

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Courage is looking fear right in the eye and saying, “Get the hell out of my way, I’ve got things to do.”- Author Unknown.

3. You’re in self-denial

Denial is a coping strategy that allows us to maintain a preferable image of ourselves. While this may initially keep us emotionally safe from painful truths, in the end it does us no favors – it prevents us from dealing with the real issues. It takes guts to look at yourself and to honestly identify why you haven’t been able to get the results that you want.

Having a bit of self-awareness can go a long way – instead of blaming external forces around you (a convenient cop-out), identify your strengths, as well as your weaknesses (and work to improve them). If you’re unable to achieve a task, don’t just quit. Think about what aspects of your attitude and approach held you back.

Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got one flat. – Unknown

4. You don’t have the right attitude

No one is completely negative or positive about everything. Because most of us have a mixture of attitudes towards different things, we become so used to our own way of thinking that we’re prone to developing blind spots – it becomes difficult to pin-point our self-destructive attitudes. This is why having a coach as an unbiased, external observer, can help to shed some light on areas you may not have thought of before, as well as to guide you towards making the changes that will help you achieve better results.

It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome. -William James

5. You don’t take the right actions

You may have the best attitude in the world, but if you’re not taking the right steps towards your goals, you’re not likely to achieve them – the wrong actions with the right attitude won’t get you very far!

Becoming more familiar with the trial-and-error method can help you to use your failures as stepping stones to take you further toward success; one wrong stepping stone towards the wrong direction isn’t the end of the world, it’s just one step less to think about!

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When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. -Confucius

Unfortunately, the truth does sometimes hurt, but if you’re unable to handle it, are you really cut out for the field you’re hoping to succeed in? Instead of letting the above truths hurt your feelings, use them to empower you! While it may sting a little to think about yourself not being as successful as you want to be, you have the power to change things, as long as you can just be honest with yourself! So think about how bad you really want success and whether you’re really willing to do what other successful people have done to be in the positions they’re in.

Remember, no one is going to achieve your dreams for you – you only have one life to make things happen, so get to it!

More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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