5 Steps Get Low Pay-Off Out of Your Life

by Linda Feinholz · 0 comments

By Linda Feinholz, “Your Success Catalyst”We each face the same issue when we’re immersed in a topic or a challenge: We get lost in a forest of low pay-off ideas that show up and lose sight of the High Pay-Off choices right in front of us. And the more lost we feel, the less certain we become of what path we should be taking, what activities should get our attention.Successful leaders and managers don’t escape from running into low pay-off opportunities, they’re just very effective at keeping their attention on the High Pay-Off activities that will get them to the results they’re set on. Highly responsive management teams may look like they’re racing to their success, but don’t mistake this speed for reaction on the fly.

The reason they can act with such velocity is the clarity of their goals and their ongoing system of step-by-step techniques is keeping them on track and avoiding distractions.

Here are a set of steps that will boost your own effectiveness and accelerate your getting those results you’re seeking.
Step 1 – Set your goal

High Pay-Off results depend on having clear goals to use as you plan your day, week, project and so on. 
Make sure your goal is written down and keep it where you can see it. Put it in your electronic day-timer as the first thing that comes up on your screen every day or tape it on the front of your phone. Memory can be fleeting and attention is easily distracted. Use that specific goal to start every day with a fresh look at how each planned activity will serve to get you to that destination.

Step 2 -Set your ‘alarms’

Highly effective people get their results because they track when they are drifting off course. AND they do it rapidly. They set up mechanisms that signal when they are being pulled away from their destination, distracted by new information and ideas. You’ll observe them get meetings on topic and stay there with ‘ease’ and watch them continuously carve distractions out of complex projects. You can adopt the tools they use and have them become your own skills too.

Create ‘alarms’ so that you can quickly check where you are in your own work. One technique is to use the last 5 minutes of each hour to ask if what you’ve been paying attention to is keeping you heading toward your goal or not. Then reset how you’re using the next 45 minutes. Do this at the beginning and end of every meeting and  to pre-set the start of your agenda for follow-up meetings and over time you’ll be the one others model themselves on as well.
Step 3 – Assess The Situation

At times new information being presented really is worth the attention and evaluation to see if you should be resetting your efforts in ways you didn’t expect. The High Pay-Off approach is to gather all the available information and carefully assess whether any of your activities, and even your goals, ought to change. But even this action should be done in a focused way.

Be sure that you have gathered all the information that needs to be considered. Then, calendar uninterrupted time to go through that information in a systematic fashion, reviewing all the information, discussing it with everyone who might have insights on the value and impact of the potential change in action and direction so that all the relevant ideas make it onto the table at the same time.

Step 4 – Simplify, Sort & Select

Once you have the information out on the table, it’s time to evaluate it all from the top, starting with the goal. If there is no compelling reason for the goal itself to change, then the goal becomes the first element of your assessment tools. Every next idea and opinion needs to be judged against the question “Will this increase how effectively we reach our goal?”

Every idea can then be listed, prioritized and assigned the energy it warrants for getting you to that goal!

Step 5 – Take Leveraged Action

Highly successful entrepreneurs, executive and professionals know they cannot do it all themselves. They practice Do-Delegate-Discard sorting rapidly so that they are focused on their own High Pay-Off list, and so are the folks they’ve delegated to. They understand that it’s impossible to accomplish every single thing that could be listed as a To Do. Not only do they discard the low pay-off from their own list. They also encourage and reward others on their team for doing the same.

Make these steps techniques that you use and that you set for your entire team. You’ll create the systematic process for keeping everyone focused on “High Pay-Off.”

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