There are many models for pursuing the road to success. One of the most common is to focus on the ‘What, Why, How, Who and When’. Using this properly can give somebody a tool for life. Let’s explore how the model can work in practice.
1) You can focus on the ‘What’ and ‘Why’.
Imagine that you are aiming to reach a particular goal. The first step is to establish clarity – the ‘what’. It is to clarify the real results to achieve. This is the most vital and yet overlooked step.
Great decision makers spend a lot of time on this stage. Why? They make sure they are ‘climbing the right mountain’. Otherwise it is easy to confuse activity with results and rush into climbing the wrong mountain.
Going into the situation, such decision makers quickly gather information and look beneath the surface. They ask:
“What are the real results to achieve? What are all the short, medium and long-term goals? What are these in order of priority? What is the picture of success?”
They start from the destination and work backwards. They are crystal-clear on the real goal before clarifying how to reach this destination. Let’s look at how this works in practice.
Imagine that you are having an argument with your partner. Do you want: a) To win the argument, or: b) To have a long-lasting relationship in which both of you grow?
Imagine that you are charged with turning around a troubled company. Do you want: a) To spend lots of time trying to motivate people who don’t want to be there, or: b) To implement the right strategy with the right people in the right way?
Imagine that you are shaping the future education system. Do you want schools: a) To cram students with information and measure if they can repeat this in examinations, or: b) To enable students to learn the skills required to make a positive contribution to the future society?
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. First, describe a specific goal you – or your team – want to achieve. Second, looking at this aim, describe the real results to achieve. If you want to achieve many goals, list these in order of priority. Try completing the following sentences.
Let’s move onto the ‘Why’. What will be the benefits of achieving the goal? Maybe you want to work towards your personal life goals. Many people aim, for example, to be healthy, loved, happy, successful and find peace. Pursuing these aims may also provide you with a daily sense of purpose.
Great leaders show their people the benefits of achieving a specific goal. They describe the pluses for various stakeholders – such the organisation, customers and employees. They are also honest about the potential downsides.
Peak performers see both the pluses and minuses involved in reaching the goal. Looking at the whole package, they ask themselves:
“Am I serious? Do I really want to go for the goal? How can I build on the pluses and minimise the minuses? On a scale 0 – 10, to what extent do I really want to go for the goal?”
Making sure their motivation is at least 8+/10, they then commit to achieving the picture of success.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. Describe what you see as both the pluses and potential minuses involved in reaching the goal. Try completing the following sentences.
2) You can focus on the ‘How’.
Move on to the strategy for achieving the goals. This often involves taking three steps. Let’s explore these stages.
* Clarify how you can ‘control the controllables’.
You can focus on: a) The things you can control – such as your attitude, professionalism and ability to find creative solutions; b) The things you can’t control; c) The things you can do to build on what you can control and manage what you can’t.
* Clarify the key strategies you can follow to give yourself the greatest chance of success.
Bearing in mind the goal you want to achieve, ask yourself: “What are the three key things I can do to give myself the greatest chance of success?” Identify and follow these principles to achieve the goals.
* Clarify the tactics under each of the strategies.
Describe the specific things that must be done to implement each of the strategies to achieve the goals. Make sure that you build in some early successes.
This sounds a lot of work and it is. But the aim is to describe the key strategies you – or your team – can follow to reach the goal. You can then keep focusing on these principles during the journey. Try summarising your findings under the following heading.
3) You can focus on the ‘Who’ and ‘When’.
You may be doing the work by yourself. In which case, you may or may not need to involve other people.
Imagine for a moment, however, that you are leading a team or need help from colleagues. Who are the people you need to involve? What should be the characteristics of these people?
For example, should they be positive, professional or demonstrate other qualities? What are the specific roles each of these people should play in working towards reaching the goals? Try completing the following sentences.
Time to move onto the ‘When’. Starting from the destination and working backwards, create a road map for achieving the goals. This can include:
* The Dates.
* The Achievements: the specific things that should be delivered by these dates.
* The Quotes: the actual words that you want to hear people saying along the road.
These quotes can be from colleagues, customers and other people. Such quotes help to bring the road map to life.
Bearing this in mind, try completing the following exercise.
Great decision-makers focus on the real results to achieve, especially during times of crises.
They keep focusing on the ‘what, why, how, who and when’. You will follow this path in your own way on the route towards achieving your goals.