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10 Hard Things You Need To Do For Success (While Many People Are Unaware)

10 Hard Things You Need To Do For Success (While Many People Are Unaware)

The road to success is a long and winding one, with plenty of obstacles just waiting to trip up a careless traveler. Apart from the privileged few who are given everything on a silver platter, most of the people who make their dreams come true put in a lot of hard work and make sacrifices behind the scenes, constantly improving themselves. Shaping yourself into a smarter, faster, stronger and better version takes time, and there are a number of things that you need to do for success, even though you may not realize it yet.

1. Stay calm and composed during conflict situations

One of the first things to look for in a good leader is the ability to keep his or her composure during a high pressure situation. We can look at lions for a good example of effective leadership – the male lion is the leader of the group, even though the females do most of the hunting while he just lies around, but as soon as a large animal threatens the group the lion remains calm and deals with the threat, even if it means sacrificing his life to keep everyone safe.

Now, you shouldn’t just sit there and wait for an opportunity to show off your conflict management skills, but you have learn to stay calm during arguments and crisis situations.

2. Practice good manners and always be polite

You never know when a great opportunity will present itself – you might be at a party, at a parking lot or buying groceries when you meet someone who may have a job opportunity or an interesting business proposition for you. Practicing good manners will significantly improve the way other people perceive you, and by constantly reinforcing a polite and composed demeanor in your daily life, you will actually prepare yourself for professional and courteous behavior during business meetings and negotiations.

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It’s easy to allow yourself to explode at every little thing that irks you or resort to sarcasm and rudeness, but the true greats will never let their frustration or insecurities show. If everyone sees you as a reasonable, trustworthy and polite individual, many doors will open for you.

3. Be incredibly punctual and consistently productive

The main thing that separates successful people from the rest of the crowd is their ability to organize their life down to the last second and always be on time, clocking in a number of highly productive hours each day. Unfortunately, consistency is not something many people are good at.

This is why companies go to great lengths to ensure that their employees stay punctual, but if you want to build a successful career, you’ll have to find a way to develop these positive habits on your own. Even if the company has a strict attendance policy and the right software in place, you still need to go to bed on time, wake up early and stay focused throughout the day. Learning to motivate yourself to get things done when you really don’t feel like it and have a number of obstacles in your way is the most important career lesson you can learn.

4. Acknowledge your mistakes

Refusing to accept that you’ve made a mistake is not only counter-productive, but quite childish. A grown man or woman should have a firm grasp of reality and be aware of their own imperfections. Even though we can never be completely objective, we can at least admit that we have made a mistake and try not make similar mistakes next time. Accepting that you are flawed and trying to improve things about yourself that have become major character traits over time is incredibly difficult, which is why most people keep shifting blame and never grow.

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5. Work hard on improving yourself in all aspects of life

While focusing on a single aspect of your life and even a single skill can help you master it faster before moving on to the next issue that needs improvement, being good at a couple of things is not going to be enough to attain true success. Communication and negotiation skills are important in practically any line of work, while dressing with style and confident body language can help you take your career to the next level regardless of skill and experience.

Taking care of your body and getting all the nutrients you need, as well as exercising, is going to boost focus, give you more energy and make you feel very confident. As you can see, reading, exercising, dieting, people skills and many other good habits all come together to create a winning mentality, and successful people strive to improve in different ways.

6. Push through failure with supreme confidence

A lot of people mistakenly assume that those rare few who achieve excellence simply have a unique combination of incredible talent and luck, which helps them get to the top without ever making any mistakes. However, while talent plays a big role, it’s actually the courage to try new things, tons of hard work and supreme confidence in yourself that are going to catapult you out of mediocrity. You have to believe that what you are doing is the best possible option if you want to be able to shrug off failures and keep moving forward.

A smart man once said: “We either win or we learn” – there is no “fail” in the vocabulary of a winner, all those minor setbacks are just lessons in the school of hard knocks. This confidence doesn’t come easy – it must be nurtured daily, by positive phrases repeated in front of the mirror and by truly believing that all the goals you have set can and will be accomplished sooner or later.

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7. Come up with your own answers through tons of research and practice

Information is often served to us on a silver platter, but practical experience has shown that the easier it is to attain information, the more you should question its validity. There are tons of myths and misinformation out there, and a quick 3 minute Google search is not going to help you master any topic. You can never just take someone’s word for it, it’s important to read, read, and read some more.

Read from several different sources, find experts who most people in the field respect, and always try and see if the theory works in practice – your unique set of circumstances may require a slightly modified approach, and some tips might not apply to you.

8. Force yourself to take on as much work as you can handle, and then some

Making it big is not something you can do from your couch. Well, I guess you can if you spend countless hours working on your laptop on a cozy couch, but it’s still work. Entrepreneurs have it worst, but even if you work for a company, climbing the corporate ladder is no easy task.

You have to bring in lots of money or improve the efficiency at the office, become a brand ambassador on social media, work on impressing the bosses, navigate the murky waters of office politics, convince the higher-ups that promoting you will benefit them personally in some way, and find any way you can to stand out. This takes a lot of work, and a good chunk of it is not directly related to your field of expertise, so most people either crumble under the pressure or just give up and stay in the same place for years.

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9. Cover all the minute details when making a plan

A regular Joe will ask a few questions about a project and create a plan of action in a few broad strokes, but a smart businessman will want to cover all the bases. Jumping head first into the deep end isn’t going to yield the greatest of results, and even if you manage to handle a situation, chances are there was a better way of doing things that you’ve missed because you failed to prepare.

10. Invest your time, effort and money into a great opportunity, even if there is no guarantee it will pay off

This is the ultimate test of willpower and passion – the willingness to go with your gut feeling and jump on opportunities, even if there is no guarantee that you will succeed. There will be plenty of high-risk, high-reward opportunities along the way, and you need to learn how to distinguish diamonds in the rough from plain old rubble, so to speak. In the beginning you’ll be playing the numbers game, and for every 2-4 misses you’ll hit one big project, but as you become wiser and more successful you’ll be able to make calculated risks. Believing in yourself and taking chances is what will help you advance in your career.

We admire powerful and successful people, but we often fail to realize just how much work goes into making it big. All of the things in this article need to come together to pave the road to success, and it’s hard to manage it all, but no one said that it was going to be easy.

Featured photo credit: rangizzz via shutterstock.com

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Aleksandar Ilic

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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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