In my book, Tribal Alchemy: Turning What You Have Into What You Need, I note that collective ingenuity is, in a very deep sense, dependent on the the personal/professional development of individual tribe members. It’s unlikely you’ll find a highly ingenious tribe that is populated by individuals disinterested in their own personal development. I call this being “alchemy ready” for your tribe. Bottom line: Elite tribes are made up of individuals who are religious about their own self development.
So with that in mind, here are a three ways to increase the quality of your development.
1) Apply Your Learning
This may seem like a very basic idea, but after 2 decades of coaching individuals, I can say that application of learning is one of the characteristics that distinguishes the highly successful from the consistently average. High performers don’t amass knowledge, they apply it. Think of how many times you’ve thought to yourself, “I know that. I’m just not doing it.” Diet and exercise come to mind. Sure, high performers are readers and learners. But they don’t simply consume information, they act on it. What knowledge do you have that you are not acting on?
2) Religiously execute strategic routines
Habit and flexible but focused routines are essential to success. I have five earned degrees, including two doctorates. I have written four books and two doctoral level dissertations all while running a successful business—with little to zero administrative help, raising a family and dealing with the joys and pains of life.
I can tell you that the routines of my life have enabled me to get massive amounts of work done and achieve the BIG results that were/are important to me. If you’re not religious about your routines, you will not achieve big success. PERIOD.
3) Use data to enhance your action
If you are trying to increase effectiveness around any action, use data to create a baseline and a target you wish to hit. Let’s say you want to consistently awaken at a certain time to give you margin in your morning routines. The data to help you is right there for the taking–if you’ll use it. Document the time you are out of bed for thirty days, and you will have a wealth of data to help you increase effectiveness. That is, if you act on that data. Data that is not used to enhance effectiveness is worthless. Capturing data is only the first step. Using that data to drive your development and performance where the money is.
For instance, you could evaluate the days you overslept and see if there is any connection to what happened the night before. Did you have too many late night? Did you overeat late at night? Data will help you pinpoint where you need to act differently. And it’s usually some kind of action that leads to the change we seek. Data helps us to pinpoint the place where to focus our development.
Personal development is essential for individual success. But it also enables you to give your tribe the gift of your best actions and efforts. And when you have a tribe full of elite individuals–all working to increase their individual excellence, it readies them to create alchemy together.