How to Achieve Extraordinary Results

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In extraordinary times, you need to do extraordinary things. Just following business-as-usual activities will not get you the results you need.

But after the crisis is over, many organizations and people just return to business-as-usual performance. The winners are going to be those organizations that train their people to do the extraordinary in crisis times --but then, importantly, also use the skills they have learnt to continue to achieve extraordinary things once the crisis is over.

Organizations and people who invest this way will achieve breakthrough results compared with their competitors.

The question then is: What are the skills an organization can give its people to achieve extraordinary results? The answer is best given as an analogy with military skills. In every country of the world, there is a business-as-usual military force of "ordinary soldiers." But then there are "special forces," who perform the extraordinary.

The difference between the two groups lies firstly in selection: but let us assume that you already have good people in your organization. Then the second difference becomes key: the special forces receive different training. The extra skills they are trained in may be relatively few, perhaps 6 -12: for example, how to survive with no rations in a desert; how to construct an explosive device from limited materials; various forms of stealth killing. But they put these few skills together and create a different personal capability that the ordinary soldier doesn't have. And it is "special forces" capability that organizations need in a crisis, and which will get them breakthrough results once the crisis is over.

So now the question becomes: what is the business equivalent of the stuff they teach the special forces? You may think of several answers, but what are the vital few, which, when put together form a breakthrough new capability?

The top skills are three: the tools and techniques of Iron Intentionality; Big Thinking; and Bold Action.

Intentionality is the word given to the sum of attributes like determination, resolve, strength of will, purposefulness, persistence, tenacity, and perseverance. We all know it when we see it. Intentionality is summed up by the phrase "The man on top of the mountain didn't fall there." Hannibal showed a famous example of intentionality when he said, "We will find a way or we will make one."

We know how important intentionality is in getting extraordinary results: many people have talent, but few show also the iron intentionality to get extraordinary results. Those that do, succeed: those that don't, end up as a "wasted talent."

The good news is that there are tools and techniques one can learn to build ones intentionality. It doesn't have to be an accident of fate.

Similarly, there are new tools and techniques to learn Big Thinking, and on how to generate Bold Action. In today's busy-busy world too many people and organizations are caught up in non-stop activities. But they do not realize the difference between action and activity. Let alone the difference between Bold Action and ordinary action.

To get extraordinary results, people need to learn the new techniques for all three elements; Iron Intentionality, Big thinking and Bold action. Any one on their own is insufficient, but together they form a potent mixture. They are like the triangle of fire: all over the world people are taught that for fire to exist it needs 3 things: fuel, heat and oxygen. If you starve the fire of any one, it puts it out.

So too with the 3 skills to get extraordinary results: There is a Japanese proverb; "Thinking without action is a daydream: Action without thinking is a nightmare." Similarly learning the techniques of thinking and action will not get you extraordinary results without also the tools of iron intentionality.

There is one final element needed in training people to get extraordinary results: a breakthrough in sustainability. Once someone has received "special forces" training, they don't lose that capability. It remains with them even in later civilian life. By contrast, in business, too many people go on a training course, or attend a seminar, but then go back to the office, are overwhelmed by the tasks waiting for them, and never put their newly learnt skills into practice. What are the latest techniques to overcome this problem?

I will be writing about each of these key elements over the next few weeks: the tools of Iron Intentionality, Big Thinking, and Bold Action; as well as the new breakthrough techniques to help people put them into actual practice.

Imagine the transformation if each person in your organization could gain the special capability of one of the special forces; how that would help you not only weather the crisis, but come out of it with a capability none of your competitors would have.