Seven Questions to Keep You Tracking Towards Success
By Sherry Buffington, PhD
Whether you are seeking personal success, success with your clients or success in growing your business, there are seven things you should regularly ask yourself if you want to consistently perform at your very best and regularly achieve your goals. These questions keep you tracking toward the outcomes you desire and tell you where you are at any given time. Knowing where you are on your journey to an intended goal and whether the path you are on is the best one to get you there, lets you make in-time adjustments that can prevent losses and greatly accelerate your success.
The first question: What am I trying to accomplish?
Clearly define what it is you are trying to do. Your goal needs to be crystal clear to you and to everybody else that will be involved in making the dream a reality. Ideally, you will be clear about the desired result before anyone starts working toward the goal, but it’s never too late to back up and clarify. To perform at your very best and be as productive as you can be, you must be absolutely clear about what it is you want to accomplish.
Second: Is the method I am considering the best way to do it?
Once you are clear about what you want, you must identify the very best way to go about achieving it. If you don’t you can waste a lot of money and lose a great deal of time. Learning as you go is not the best way to manage a business. More often than not, it is a formula for disaster. You may or may not know the answer to this question, but asking it opens your mind and the minds of those who will be helping you to other possibilities and greatly improves your odds for getting it right the first time.
Third: What assumptions are being made?
Consider any assumptions you or others might have made with regard to your business model, your ideal client, your niche, market conditions and potential, the underlying motives of the key players, your performance and that of other people, and the outcomes you expect. Nothing can derail you faster than investing time and money in an endeavor based on erroneous assumptions.
Fourth: What if the assumptions are wrong?
Stay open to the possibility that what you or others believe could be wrong. Analyze your plans and your approach to reaching goals to be sure that the actions you are taking or anticipating are the very best way one to get you to your goal or objective. Consider that something you believe might not be true at all. What if your personal filters are preventing you from seeing a critical truth? What if someone you are depending on has different plans? What if your “ideal” client isn’t so ideal after all? Always be willing to question your most cherished assumptions. Do enough research to be sure that the way you intend to do things is the best way. Always be willing to ask and explore whether there could be a better way.
Fifth: What would I have to alter if my key assumptions were wrong?
What if the approach you are taking or considering failed completely? Do you have a contingency plan? Do you know what your options or alternatives are? Is there another way you could get the results you are after? Think this through. Even if you never need the contingency plan, having it will give you peace of mind. Designing a contingency plane can even have the effect of leading to a greater conviction that the current path is the best one.
Sixth: How can I be sure my assumptions are right?
We all make biased assumptions because we all have filters that allow us to see only what validates our beliefs. The best way to ensure that your assumptions are correct is to seek out people who have succeeded at an endeavor such as you are considering, ask good questions, listen very carefully to their answers, take good notes and then make good use of them. The more people you can consult with, the better. When seeking business advice, find someone in a different geographical region with a business, customer base and marketplace as much like yours as possible. Those serving the same customer base as you will not likely be open to sharing their secrets to success with you, but those in regions that your success would not impact are usually very happy to share their expertise. Never take advantage of the generosity of those who are willing to sharing their expertise. Offer something in return and don’t overdo your questions. It’s better to get a little feedback from several people. As a coach, you can get a treasure trove of great advice and guidance by joining and being active in coaching organizations and online coach communities. Check out the Coaches Edge resource section for links to these resources.
Seventh: How can I PLUS this?
Walt Disney originated this question. He and his people would brainstorm to come up with the very best ideas and methods they could imagine. They would collectively decide on the best of the best ideas and then he would ask, “How can we plus this?” In other words, how can we make the best of the best even better? Disney leaders use that question to this day and the Disney people have created some unbelievably ingenious things as a result of searching for that PLUS. Make it a habit to ask yourself, your team, your subcontractors and even your clients that question. As a coach, asking a client that has come up with a great idea “How can you PLUS that?” can produce some amazing results and, as every coach knows, amazing results for clients, mean a thriving business for a coach.
2009 NaviCore International, Inc.
Dr. Sherry Buffington is the originator and co-developer of the CORE Multidimensional Awareness Profile (CORE MAP), a powerfully effective coaching tool for establishing an authentic coaching baseline that gets results fast! It is unrivaled in the coaching industry for helping coaches get exceptional results with their clients. Learn more at www.coremap.com.
Sherry is also the developer of the block busting Rapidly Accelerated Mind Patterning process (RAMP) that is revolutionizing coaching results.