7 Keys to Success

Success is what you attract by the person you become

Success

(Source: Flickr)

THE late Jim Rohn once said, “success is what you attract by the person you become”.

A pithy saying, but how do you become a person who attracts success?

Here are seven thoughts to get you going:

  1. Skill development – It is natural to learn from experience and improve at an activity through repeated effort. You can do this by yourself or, for accelerated progress, you can work with a skilled mentor.
  2. Reputation – In the corporate world this is known as a “brand” and in the religious world they call it a “spirit”, but the effect is the same. How many people know you? Is the number growing? What are they saying about you when you’re not in the room?
  3. Network – Your reputation is “who knows you” while your network is “who you know”. Who do you know? Have you been in touch with them lately?
  4. Lifestyle design – You can maximise the use of your time by automating activities that can be automated, turning helpful behaviours like exercise into a habit, de-cluttering your house, and reducing expenditure on consumables and luxury items that are likely to eat up your time.
  5. Leverage – This appears fifth but is probably the biggest one. Do you have leverage? That is, do you have the benefit of a large amount of human effort which you can bring to bear at a single point in time?  Financial leverage is the most obvious one, but there are many others. Government officials benefit from the efforts of tax payers, partners in a professional services firm benefit from the efforts of employees, manufacturers benefit from advanced production machinery, an author benefits from her book, an academic benefits from prior years studying the same topic and from large class sizes, and Google benefits from anyone with a website or who has ever uploaded an image online.
  6. Unique style – Young people are typically made to conform to norms of behaviour, which are enforced by parents and schools. Ironically though, in the real world, unless your goal is to be the low cost producer in your industry, being the same as everyone else is a strategic mistake. As people mature they often gain the confidence to express their unique personal style, and this can help them be more authentic and memorable in the marketplace.
  7. Communication skills – Learning to communicate in a clear and compelling way can multiply your success in two ways. Firstly, writing well can help you be more persuasive and influential. Secondly, learning to speak in public can open up opportunities to be seen and bring people together.

Do you agree with our 7 success factors? We would love to hear your personal experience. Please share your thoughts in the forum.

Your Presentation: setting it up

Good presentations are clear, relevant, structured and provide the audience with a takeaway message

Presentation

YOU have probably seen a presentation at school, university or at work that you would describe as “less than successful”.

The presentation was probably unsuccessful because it failed to meet your expectations.

You may have found yourself asking one of the following questions:

  1. What is this presentation about?
  2. How is this presentation relevant to me, my organisation or my industry?
  3. I can’t follow, where is this presentation going? What are the main points?
  4. I’m giving an hour of my time, how does this presentation benefit me? Why do I care?

Setting up your presentation is important because it will help you take control of the presentation right from the start by managing the expectations of your audience and answering their unspoken questions.

The presentation set up has four main parts:

1. What

What are you talking about?  You should make it clear for the audience what subject or topic area the presentation will cover.

2. Why

Why is the presentation relevant to your audience? Put the presentation in the context of recent events or impending events. For example: “you will be able to use the skills you learn in this presentation on the MECE Framework in your next presentation, client meeting or research report.”

3. How

How will the presentation be structured?  Provide a structure for your talk.  Do you have three main points – what are they?  Will you allow questions during the presentation or should people wait until the end?

4. Outcome

What will your audience take away with them at the end of the presentation that they didn’t have at the beginning? Outline what your audience will get out of the presentation. What will they know? How will they feel? What will they do?  For example: “when you walk away from this room, you will be able to structure your thoughts more logically.  Structured thinking will help you give clients clear explanations so that they can easily understand and engage in the consulting process. Being easy to understand is client friendly and will make you a more valuable consultant.”

[For more information on consulting concepts and frameworks, please download “The Little Blue Consulting Handbook“.]

What skills do you need to be a consultant?

FORMER McKinsey consultant Victor Cheng provides us with an interesting insight. The skills that get you hired as a consultant are not the same skills that get you promoted, and the skills that get you promoted are not the same skills that take you to the top.

You get hired for your analytical skills, you get promoted based on management skills and client skills, and you go all the way to the top based on sales skills.