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10 Things Unsuccessful People Keep Doing

10 Things Unsuccessful People Keep Doing

So many people grow up with what I like to call a “fairy-tale attitude”: They simply think that everything will end up working out for them, as if their life is so much more important than everyone else’s. While they may be the star of their own show, they’re certainly nothing special to the world without ever doing anything to prove their worth.

If you want to work hard to add something to the world, and increase your chances of success, make sure to avoid practicing any of the following habits.

1. Procrastinating

Time is a valuable asset that cannot be replenished. So why would you spend time putting off your obligations? The unsuccessful don’t realize that those obligations are only going to pile up higher and higher the more you sweep them into the corner. Avoiding responsibilities only makes it that much harder to face them when push comes to shove.

2. Placing blame

It’s easy for the unsuccessful to blame others for their mistakes, but it doesn’t get them anywhere.

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Owning up to your shortcomings allows you to grow as a person. Realize that it’s totally fine to make a mistake (as long as you only do it once), but it’s never okay to make someone else take the fall when you screw up.

3. Minimizing others’ achievements

I think everyone at one point has read about someone else’s accomplishments and thought “Psh, I could have done that if I tried hard enough.” But did they? No, they didn’t; otherwise it’d be their face on the cover of TIME magazine, not the other person’s.

Give credit where credit is due, and you’ll realize that it’s not only talent that gets you ahead; it’s what you do with that talent that really matters.

4. Consuming

Unfortunately, we live in a society that glorifies consumption. TV shows are on whenever you want, stores are open 24 hours a day, and credit cards make it easy to hop on Amazon and buy yet another gadget you’ll use for a few days then toss into your closet.

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Instead of constantly taking from society, do something to give back. Create something for other people to enjoy; you’ll realize it’s even more rewarding than consuming something created by others.

5. Talking too much

Again, our society seems to value those who talk a good game, regardless of whether or not they follow through with their words (just watch any political debate to verify this). Not only do the unsuccessful talk too much and act too seldom, but they also lack proper listening skills.

Take the time to actually hear the messages other people’s words are saying, rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. You might actually learn something.

6. Making assumptions

So many people let their prejudices place a veil over their world. It’s never healthy to assume you know what someone else is thinking or feeling, yet that is the default practice of the unsuccessful.

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Until you’ve walked in another person’s shoes and seen the world from their perspective, you have absolutely no right to assume that they are stupid or wrong just because their viewpoints clash with yours.

7. Acting negatively

Naysayers are the party-poopers of the real world. While others are busy searching for solutions to problems, negative people throw in the towel, thinking “Why bother?” or “That’ll never work.”

Such a defeatist attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you come up to the plate thinking you’re going to strike out, you almost certainly will.

8. Making excuses

We spoke before about placing blame, but it’s possible to make excuses while not pointing the finger at someone else specifically. Unsuccessful people always have some reason lined up for why they failed to complete a task: “I had too much else going on,” “It was impossible to do in that amount of time,” and so on.

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Making an excuse is only an admittance that you couldn’t overcome the difficulty placed upon you.

9. Being fearful

Many unsuccessful people are unsuccessful because they’ve simply never put themselves “out there” and tried to accomplish something. This goes along with their negative attitude: They’re scared of failing, so they don’t even try. Unfortunately, what they don’t realize is that failure can eventually lead to success if they learn from it. But they’ll never succeed if they’re too afraid to try.

10. Quitting

Some unsuccessful people try, then fail, then quit. I could go on ad nauseum about the many successful people of our time who failed over and over again, only to change the world when they finally got it right. Thomas Edison didn’t just one day invent the light bulb, and the Wright Brothers didn’t just one day create the airplane. They worked through trial and error, figuring out what worked and what didn’t, until they perfected their invention — and went from daydreaming hopefuls to successful inventors.

Featured photo credit: Failure Scrabble / Jeff Djevdet via http

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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