5 Check Lists on Personal Success and Productivity

  • By Bruce Lee
  • 17 Apr, 2017
1. Check List #1 - Directional Strategies:

1. Choose your destiny. What legacy do you want to leave at home or work or for the charity you support?
“We all seek our reason for being” - Anonymous

The theme for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta was: “The Best Ever” and they were so successful that it became what every Olympic organizing committee following them based theirs on. The theme for the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. was: “Own the Podium” - and they did. The most Gold Medals by a host country, 14, and third overall, placing behind the US at #1 and Germany at #2 – countries with ten times and three times the population respectively.

2. Focus on creating action steps. It is not what you think about that will create the reality of your goals, it is the actual steps you take. Get out your day planner or log into your computer and start putting in dates, times and activities.

Matthew McConaughey’s “Three Things”
In his acceptance speech at the 2014 Academy Awards, Matthew McConaughey told the world how he creates his success. “There are 3 things I need each day. - - -  One is something to look up to (faith / God),
  • One is something to look forward to (his family / mom’s self respect - and the family he created)
  • And one is something to chase (his better person in 10 years).” We should all do a future self-exercise – and call it goals. How do you visualize yourself so you can achieve it”? Where do you see yourself in ten years?

3. Momentum. Just start, build on small successes. Check the Time Management workshop for 5 options of how to do this. Think of the Movie” What About Bob?” and his little tiny baby steps to get to his big scary objectives every time.

4. Measure. The truth is, what gets measured, gets done. Start by setting realistic goals. Another way of looking at it, you can’t improve on what you don’t measure. Want to lose weight, weigh yourself every day, it works to track it.

5. The Law of Abundance. While this is not an actual “law”, it is a good attitude to adopt. You can create just as big a success as you set out. Think big and act on it.

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” - Oprah Winfrey

6. Key Questions: Ask and measure these three questions:
  • Morning - what will I do today to accomplish my O.N – optimistic numbers?
  • Afternoon – what did I actually do today to accomplish my optimistic numbers?          
  • Did I trade this day for what I want – am I closer to my goals?



2. Check List #2 - Question Your Results:

  1. What am I doing at work or home that really doesn’t need to be done – ever? Think of the time / benefit ratio. Would the time spent doing the task create value for you or can you hire someone for less fee to do it better and free you up to do what you do better? For example, should you cut the grass and clean the rugs or earn an income at twice what you would pay someone to do that for you? Children (yours of your neighbors) can be a good source of labor, and enjoy getting paid.
  2. What am I doing that could or should be done by someone else? Who can you delegate to? Who needs cross training to fill in when someone is away so I don’t have to do it? Understand the Situational Leadership Matrix.
  3. What am I doing that could be done more efficiently, more effectively and more quickly now? Literally every day new digital resources are being launched to process paper work and information compiled and processed faster, reducing time and costs. Check with experts and stay informed. Set up Google Alerts on that topic.
  4. What am I doing that wastes the time of others? So often we create activities for employees that take them away from our core business. As General Norman Swarzekopf says in his book: ‘It Doesn’t Take a Hero’ - “No repainting the flagpole”. Do what matters now and make it meaningful to the employee.
  5. How does my use of time match up with my priorities? This means what are you doing to become dispensable? That means being able to move up or out of the company to a better position. This is not being indispensible; meaning no one else knows how to do your job so you can’t move up or out.



3. Check List #3 - Prime Time Questions:

‘Prime Time’ is a well know time management concept that is an hour (or more if needed) when you have no interruptions in order to focus on big tasks and planning. The five questions that you need to ask and answer are:

  1. What three things this week should I be doing to further my career?
  2. What major activities / tasks should I be concerned about in my Department?
  3. What should I focus on next week in order to move toward my personal goals?
  4. What future problems can I avoid by taking action now?
  5. What are the tasks that are not assigned to me as of yet, but which I should get assigned as they really do matter?

Someone once said: Three Simple Rules in Life
  1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
  2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
  3. If you do not step forward, you’ll always be in the same place.

Peter Drucker, the management guru, said:

“The important and difficult job is never to find the right answer, it is to find the right question.”

This really means not accepting things as they are or appear to be, but what would it take to create the new reality. The right question can change the future. Try it: “What if….?”



4. Check List #4 - Making Today Work For You

1. Replace perfectionism with excellence. Perfectionists take too long to start the task. Excellence means starting and continuous improvement. For example, when you start to exercise, start by doing something and be sure to measure / time it. The next time, go for a little longer time or more reps, and each time after that, do more. To ensure you start and keep to it, write it down on your calendar.  

2. Love what you do. Enthusiasm is contagious, get excited about the job and it will go faster.

3. Make a commitment. A personal initiative to continually do what you say you are going to do. This becomes your reputation – and if it is good makes so many things easier for you.    

"Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows." Michael Landon, 1936-1991, Actor

4. Expect the best. Create your vision for the future. Expect the best, you get the best - expect the worst, you get to be right.

The Pygmalion Effect. When we expect better or great behaviour from people, we get it. This principal of action and behaviour says that as we communicate our high level of expectations of people to them, they will respond to it by changing their behaviour. We can see that the other way around by how we communicate with young children by adapting our communication style, words, volume, to get their attention to do something we want them to do. They will start mimicking the behaviour that works for them better too.

5. Commit to Continuous Learning. Keep learning how to better your career.

6. Adopt a mentor. Figure out who you admire, that is successful in the area you want more advice on, then ask them if you can take them for lunch or dinner and ask them some questions. If they say yes, great. Then ask them to mentor you. Successful people like to be asked to help and if they can, they will. Choose well.

7. Create a pocket of excellence. Regardless of what is going on around you at work, be the best you can be.       “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships         we are afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

8. Control. Don’t let the things you can’t control, interfere with the things that you can control. Keep working on the goals that matter to you, your career and family.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain / Samuel Clements

9. Daily Summary. Ask yourself at the end of every day: “What ideas, skills, improvements or systems did I learn today that will make me more effective in serving others tomorrow”?

10. Just Do It. Go for it.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford



5. Check List #5 - How to Empower People

1. Ask yourself: “What do I see when I look my people in the eyes? Do you see caring, committed, engaged and empowered people who know what to do, or people who need to be told what to do all the time, and be checked up on?

2. Treat your people as your greatest asset. They are. And they are an increasing asset as they learn more and take on more responsibility.

3. Understand that people are motivated for their reasons, not yours. Your job is to figure out what motivates people and keep those motivators in front of them – and it may surprise you what actually does. How do you find out? Ask them.

4. Communicate well. Communication is 100% sending (questions) / 100% listening. Lack of communication is the #1 cause of workplace conflict, low morale and mistakes. “From listening comes wisdom.”

5. Replace rules with judgment. Let people use their common sense in dealing with people – like you expect to.

6. Pay attention to the small signs of respect. That is simple things like please and thank you, all the way up to recognition on special days such as birthdays or anniversaries. It is paying attention when someone walks in your office. It is not checking messages on your phone in front of people.   “People don’t care about how much you know, Until they know about how much you care”                        

7. Pick an ideal that takes the imagination by storm. Be significant. What gets you excited may just be what gets others excited. What is new and needed?        

“Significance means service, doing things that impact people in a beneficial way. It is not just going out there and bragging about a certain   thing you have done, but showing people how they can apply it to their lives and improve something. That to me is what significance is all about.” Dr. Mehmet Oz, ‘Dr. Oz’ on TV

8. Set bold goals. What bold goal would you set if you knew you would not fail? As Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” and you will pretty well succeed in any goal you set. Make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal, otherwise it is just a wish.

S – Specific. Means a number attached to it: By Jan. 30th. 2017 I want $100,000.00 in my investment account. It is clear of the who/what/where/when and sometimes even why?
M – Measurable – you can see the number. At 50,000 you know you are half way to that success. Progress or not, on track or not or you need to pick up the pace?
A – Attainable – realistic/achievable - based on what to do and will do – action. The time / benefit ratio and progress.
R – Realistic / Relevant – believable, better than your previous best and something you really want.
T – Time Related – there’s a deadline attached to it, sense of urgency.

9. Light a fire of intense burning desire.

Conceive the idea – what would you like to do? A burning desire to accomplish? Maybe it’s your newly discovered life purpose.
Believe in yourself and abilities – have the self-confidence in yourself to get started. Think ‘little tiny baby steps’ from the “What About Bob” movie – and just start.
Achieve the results – create it, keep at it. Set a deadline, plan it out, set the milestones to measure the success. If necessary, hire a coach. Take a time management course to prove to you what your priorities are.

10. Practice “The Greatest Management Principe in the World”                 

‘Things that get recognized and rewarded, get repeated.”

When you recognize or acknowledge good behavior, you get more of it. When you don’t recognize bad behavior, and you allow that to be the culture of the office.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others, belong to us as well.” Voltaire, 1694-1778, Philosopher & Writer

Articles / Self Tests

By Bruce Lee 09 May, 2017
To view or print off this Confidential Leadership Empowerment Satisfaction/Retention Survey please click here to view the PDF .
By Bruce Lee 18 Apr, 2017
The Time Management Templates can be printed off or viewed in PDF format. Please click here to view the templates.
By Bruce Lee 18 Apr, 2017
To view or print off the Coaching Skills Self Assessment, please click here to view the PDF .
By Bruce Lee 18 Apr, 2017
Just as you have attitudes about customers, they also have attitudes about you. Each of the following characteristics play an integral part in determining the response you get from others. Evaluate yourself from several perceptions how you see yourself, how your manager sees you, how your customer sees you, and how your co-workers see you.

You can view the PDF to print out or view by clicking here.

Instructions:
Make copies and:
  • Complete one for yourself
  • Ask your Manager to evaluate you
  • Ask 2-3 fellow workers to evaluate you
  • Ask 3-6 patients/customers to evaluate you
  • Then compile the results on one form, and based upon an analysis of the results, focus on improving on 3 attributes of success.
By Bruce Lee 17 Apr, 2017
1. Check List #1 - Directional Strategies:

1. Choose your destiny. What legacy do you want to leave at home or work or for the charity you support?
“We all seek our reason for being” - Anonymous

The theme for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta was: “The Best Ever” and they were so successful that it became what every Olympic organizing committee following them based theirs on. The theme for the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. was: “Own the Podium” - and they did. The most Gold Medals by a host country, 14, and third overall, placing behind the US at #1 and Germany at #2 – countries with ten times and three times the population respectively.

2. Focus on creating action steps. It is not what you think about that will create the reality of your goals, it is the actual steps you take. Get out your day planner or log into your computer and start putting in dates, times and activities.

Matthew McConaughey’s “Three Things”
In his acceptance speech at the 2014 Academy Awards, Matthew McConaughey told the world how he creates his success. “There are 3 things I need each day. - - -  One is something to look up to (faith / God),
  • One is something to look forward to (his family / mom’s self respect - and the family he created)
  • And one is something to chase (his better person in 10 years).” We should all do a future self-exercise – and call it goals. How do you visualize yourself so you can achieve it”? Where do you see yourself in ten years?

3. Momentum. Just start, build on small successes. Check the Time Management workshop for 5 options of how to do this. Think of the Movie” What About Bob?” and his little tiny baby steps to get to his big scary objectives every time.

4. Measure. The truth is, what gets measured, gets done. Start by setting realistic goals. Another way of looking at it, you can’t improve on what you don’t measure. Want to lose weight, weigh yourself every day, it works to track it.

5. The Law of Abundance. While this is not an actual “law”, it is a good attitude to adopt. You can create just as big a success as you set out. Think big and act on it.

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” - Oprah Winfrey

6. Key Questions: Ask and measure these three questions:
  • Morning - what will I do today to accomplish my O.N – optimistic numbers?
  • Afternoon – what did I actually do today to accomplish my optimistic numbers?          
  • Did I trade this day for what I want – am I closer to my goals?



2. Check List #2 - Question Your Results:

  1. What am I doing at work or home that really doesn’t need to be done – ever? Think of the time / benefit ratio. Would the time spent doing the task create value for you or can you hire someone for less fee to do it better and free you up to do what you do better? For example, should you cut the grass and clean the rugs or earn an income at twice what you would pay someone to do that for you? Children (yours of your neighbors) can be a good source of labor, and enjoy getting paid.
  2. What am I doing that could or should be done by someone else? Who can you delegate to? Who needs cross training to fill in when someone is away so I don’t have to do it? Understand the Situational Leadership Matrix.
  3. What am I doing that could be done more efficiently, more effectively and more quickly now? Literally every day new digital resources are being launched to process paper work and information compiled and processed faster, reducing time and costs. Check with experts and stay informed. Set up Google Alerts on that topic.
  4. What am I doing that wastes the time of others? So often we create activities for employees that take them away from our core business. As General Norman Swarzekopf says in his book: ‘It Doesn’t Take a Hero’ - “No repainting the flagpole”. Do what matters now and make it meaningful to the employee.
  5. How does my use of time match up with my priorities? This means what are you doing to become dispensable? That means being able to move up or out of the company to a better position. This is not being indispensible; meaning no one else knows how to do your job so you can’t move up or out.



3. Check List #3 - Prime Time Questions:

‘Prime Time’ is a well know time management concept that is an hour (or more if needed) when you have no interruptions in order to focus on big tasks and planning. The five questions that you need to ask and answer are:

  1. What three things this week should I be doing to further my career?
  2. What major activities / tasks should I be concerned about in my Department?
  3. What should I focus on next week in order to move toward my personal goals?
  4. What future problems can I avoid by taking action now?
  5. What are the tasks that are not assigned to me as of yet, but which I should get assigned as they really do matter?

Someone once said: Three Simple Rules in Life
  1. If you do not go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
  2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.
  3. If you do not step forward, you’ll always be in the same place.

Peter Drucker, the management guru, said:

“The important and difficult job is never to find the right answer, it is to find the right question.”

This really means not accepting things as they are or appear to be, but what would it take to create the new reality. The right question can change the future. Try it: “What if….?”



4. Check List #4 - Making Today Work For You

1. Replace perfectionism with excellence. Perfectionists take too long to start the task. Excellence means starting and continuous improvement. For example, when you start to exercise, start by doing something and be sure to measure / time it. The next time, go for a little longer time or more reps, and each time after that, do more. To ensure you start and keep to it, write it down on your calendar.  

2. Love what you do. Enthusiasm is contagious, get excited about the job and it will go faster.

3. Make a commitment. A personal initiative to continually do what you say you are going to do. This becomes your reputation – and if it is good makes so many things easier for you.    

"Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows." Michael Landon, 1936-1991, Actor

4. Expect the best. Create your vision for the future. Expect the best, you get the best - expect the worst, you get to be right.

The Pygmalion Effect. When we expect better or great behaviour from people, we get it. This principal of action and behaviour says that as we communicate our high level of expectations of people to them, they will respond to it by changing their behaviour. We can see that the other way around by how we communicate with young children by adapting our communication style, words, volume, to get their attention to do something we want them to do. They will start mimicking the behaviour that works for them better too.

5. Commit to Continuous Learning. Keep learning how to better your career.

6. Adopt a mentor. Figure out who you admire, that is successful in the area you want more advice on, then ask them if you can take them for lunch or dinner and ask them some questions. If they say yes, great. Then ask them to mentor you. Successful people like to be asked to help and if they can, they will. Choose well.

7. Create a pocket of excellence. Regardless of what is going on around you at work, be the best you can be.       “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships         we are afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

8. Control. Don’t let the things you can’t control, interfere with the things that you can control. Keep working on the goals that matter to you, your career and family.

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” Mark Twain / Samuel Clements

9. Daily Summary. Ask yourself at the end of every day: “What ideas, skills, improvements or systems did I learn today that will make me more effective in serving others tomorrow”?

10. Just Do It. Go for it.

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford



5. Check List #5 - How to Empower People

1. Ask yourself: “What do I see when I look my people in the eyes? Do you see caring, committed, engaged and empowered people who know what to do, or people who need to be told what to do all the time, and be checked up on?

2. Treat your people as your greatest asset. They are. And they are an increasing asset as they learn more and take on more responsibility.

3. Understand that people are motivated for their reasons, not yours. Your job is to figure out what motivates people and keep those motivators in front of them – and it may surprise you what actually does. How do you find out? Ask them.

4. Communicate well. Communication is 100% sending (questions) / 100% listening. Lack of communication is the #1 cause of workplace conflict, low morale and mistakes. “From listening comes wisdom.”

5. Replace rules with judgment. Let people use their common sense in dealing with people – like you expect to.

6. Pay attention to the small signs of respect. That is simple things like please and thank you, all the way up to recognition on special days such as birthdays or anniversaries. It is paying attention when someone walks in your office. It is not checking messages on your phone in front of people.   “People don’t care about how much you know, Until they know about how much you care”                        

7. Pick an ideal that takes the imagination by storm. Be significant. What gets you excited may just be what gets others excited. What is new and needed?        

“Significance means service, doing things that impact people in a beneficial way. It is not just going out there and bragging about a certain   thing you have done, but showing people how they can apply it to their lives and improve something. That to me is what significance is all about.” Dr. Mehmet Oz, ‘Dr. Oz’ on TV

8. Set bold goals. What bold goal would you set if you knew you would not fail? As Covey says, “Begin with the end in mind.” and you will pretty well succeed in any goal you set. Make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal, otherwise it is just a wish.

S – Specific. Means a number attached to it: By Jan. 30th. 2017 I want $100,000.00 in my investment account. It is clear of the who/what/where/when and sometimes even why?
M – Measurable – you can see the number. At 50,000 you know you are half way to that success. Progress or not, on track or not or you need to pick up the pace?
A – Attainable – realistic/achievable - based on what to do and will do – action. The time / benefit ratio and progress.
R – Realistic / Relevant – believable, better than your previous best and something you really want.
T – Time Related – there’s a deadline attached to it, sense of urgency.

9. Light a fire of intense burning desire.

Conceive the idea – what would you like to do? A burning desire to accomplish? Maybe it’s your newly discovered life purpose.
Believe in yourself and abilities – have the self-confidence in yourself to get started. Think ‘little tiny baby steps’ from the “What About Bob” movie – and just start.
Achieve the results – create it, keep at it. Set a deadline, plan it out, set the milestones to measure the success. If necessary, hire a coach. Take a time management course to prove to you what your priorities are.

10. Practice “The Greatest Management Principe in the World”                 

‘Things that get recognized and rewarded, get repeated.”

When you recognize or acknowledge good behavior, you get more of it. When you don’t recognize bad behavior, and you allow that to be the culture of the office.

"Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others, belong to us as well.” Voltaire, 1694-1778, Philosopher & Writer
By Bruce Lee 17 Apr, 2017
Employment recruitment tactics are changing. New younger, professional employees no longer automatically take what companies offer without question. They are more assertive and demanding about having life balance. When it comes to compensation benefits, organizations have to think outside the box in order to attract new employees.

The Situation : The ongoing and increasing skilled labor shortage will continue to drag company productivity and profitability down. Most engineering and oil and gas companies have a backlog of work and not enough employees to complete the projects. Overtime is needed, delays are the norm, budget overruns are common. What do successful companies offer in order to stand out from the competition in order to attract new employees and retain more of the ones you currently have? With overseas mega projects recruiting Canadian talent to build their projects, the stakes are high.

The Solution : The starting point is a competitive salary which continues to escalate upward. In many cases bonuses of up to 35% of the salary are necessary to attract employees to locate to remote locations. To be really successful, you need to offer a competitive benefits package that is valued by the recipients – without creating an attitude of entitlement, otherwise loyalty decreases.

The Trends : Lets review some of the trends in the oil patch today. The key new one is Health Care Spending Accounts instead of cash bonuses. This gives employees the opportunity to be consulted in picking and choosing from a flexible package range the benefits specific to their needs today and alter them as their career path changes. For example, early in the career, orthodontics might be a higher percentage of the dollars allocated and then later in life, a switch to vision, massage and chiropractic care. With some companies you can take in cash what you don’t use of the allotted amount or transfer to pension plans.

Vacation pay is being increased. What was the industry standard of two weeks for new hires is now almost universally three weeks and after being employed two years you get four vacation weeks. One company is recognizing previous industry experience to be counted toward your years of experience. Another has a formula of your age less 20 to determine vacation weeks based on two weeks for every ten years. For example, a person aged 50, less 20, equals 30, so with two weeks for every 10, gets you six vacation weeks.

Days Off : An industry leading company in Canada recently started giving every employee two Fridays a month off, 24 in total. To earn this, you take either a shorter lunch hour or work an extra 30 minutes the rest of the week. Other companies offer new employees a range of from five up to 17 paid personal days off every year.

RRSP’s : Matching of from 3 1/2 % up to 6% of annual salary and some match up to an additional 5% in savings plans. Profit sharing for everybody in some companies linked to company profitability.

Maternity Top Up Benefits : Increasingly seen is maternity top-up benefits of up to 100% for 36 weeks for new parents and adoptive parents.

Other industry specifics are :
  • 10 discretionary flex days – no questions asked
  • Adding a paid day to long weekends
  • Work extra hours to get every summer Friday off
  • Corporate offices shut down for up to 10 days over Christmas
  • Company car and parking lot allowance
  • Health club membership and scheduled time in work day to attend
  • On site fitness facilities and a professional fitness trainer provided
  • Phased in retirement leave programs
  • $200.00 a month health spending account to spend how you want
  • On site day care and on site room to house students during teacher Professional Development days. One sources senior care facilities
  • Scholarships for children entering University
  • On site dinning room with subsidized prices
  • Birthday - one paid day off, even if it falls on a weekend or holiday.
  • Compassion leave – 3 – 8 paid days, more if travel required
  • Finders fees – up to $3,000.00 for referring new employees who stay
  • Parental leave – men can take more time off for newborns
  • Happy Staff – lots of recognition events such as new babies and birthdays
  • Education – more in house training and off site courses with tuition fully paid to drive up competencies and productivity

Performance Contracts : To ensure employees appreciate the above average industry benefits and at the same time improve personal productivity and ownership, one company has each employee sign a ‘High Performance Contract’. This sets goals and objectives for them that are in sync with their supervisors and it is reviewed quarterly up to four times a year, depending on their experience level.


This article was created by Bruce Lee who is an event speaker, author, productivity coach and MC. His passion is working with individuals and organizations to enhance their leadership results and individual productivity through strategic planning sessions and hands on workshops in business acceleration that will improve the bottom line, increase market share and employee and customer loyalty and retention. Each keynote or workshop he presents includes a variety of additional resources and tools after to support the training and measure new skill levels.
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