Wednesday, 03 July 2019 07:49

From the Sponsor’s Desk – Leverage Passion to Power Performance

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“The pursuit of excellence with unrestrained passion can lead to the accomplishment of wonders with unsurpassed joy.”

― Aberjhani, American-born multi-genre author

It’s tough to spend time on introspection and self-development with all the other demands on our time. Our job, family, friends and extra-curricular activities all demand attention. And before that, our bodies require a third of every day for rest and fuel. But, without reflection, selection and pursuit of personal development opportunities and goals, we will stagnate. How can we avoid that outcome? Leverage passion to power performance.

Passion is the force multiplier. We know that from experience. When we’re passionate about something, we tend to spend the time we need to pursue it to fruition. When we’re passionate about our priorities, they get attention.

However, our priorities change. The urgent tends to squeeze out the important unless we keep up our guard. How can we keep up our guard? Adopting a program or process that integrates our priority activities into our daily regimen is one approach. For example, if our passion is getting and staying in shape, joining a gym to improve fitness can help. Unfortunately, according to one study, 80 percent who joined a gym in January quit within five months.

Something else is required to keep us focused. And that’s what Keith Abraham, a performance consultant, offers – programs that help individuals, teams and organizations focus and sustain their passion on their top priorities. His programs anchor that commitment by helping build an in depth understanding of the competing challenges and priorities and mobilizing the passion needed for success.

As managers, wouldn’t it be amazing to have staff with in-depth understanding of the challenges and priorities in their lives, who had plans to pursue their passions and managed their plans to successful completion? Wouldn’t it be great if our teams had the same insight? And our organizations? Read on and see how Keith’s approach helped one organization and the involved individuals achieve stellar performance gains while adding lasting value.

Situation

Keith Abraham has engaged with over 1.6 million people in 29 countries over his 23 years in this business. He has a 95% client repeat rate. In fact 57% of his clients have made use of his services at least 6 times, 34% more than 10 times.
According to Keith, he “has researched how top performing people harness their PASSION, achieve their GOALS and FOCUS on what’s most important to bring the best out of themselves and their businesses.”

He has discovered the link between best performance, and people who are passionate about their life: “Establishing true goal alignment enables an individual to live their personal and professional lives energised, and with direction.”

Keith has a client base of over 300 companies and has won numerous awards including the highest honour for professional speaking, the Nevin Award, and Keynote Speaker of the Year by the Australian National Speakers Association.

Keith develops and tailors a wide variety of programs for individuals, teams and companies. How does he do it? He starts out with a comprehensive model that captures his years of experience and research.

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The model incorporates Keith’s accumulated knowledge and provides the foundation for building a multitude of offerings to address a wide diversity of client needs. It also provides a framework for incorporating new learnings as they arise. Take a look at the factors included in the model from the Passion center on out. How many have you addressed in your life, your career, your family, your organization? Intimidating isn’t it. That’s one reason why Keith’s offerings have such impact. Most of us are uninformed and unprepared on these fronts.

One company in particular was interested in Keith’s services to improve their operational performance. The people in this large Bank had experienced a huge amount of change in a very tough marketplace. They had managed to retain their market share but the people had lost their energy and enthusiasm for the business and its future goals. They had lost their passion and purpose.

The head of the Business Banking unit knew that unless they re-energised their Sales, Service and Admin teams the next year's goals would not be met. He was chatting with a colleague about the challenges he was facing and his colleague suggested he engage Keith and his organization to help tackle the problem. And so he did.


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The Goal

To revitalize the staff in the Business Banking unit so they could meet the challenges in the coming year with new enthusiasm and commitment to achieve the year’s targets.

The Project

Keith and his team met with the VP Business Banking and his senior leaders to develop a comprehensive plan. Over a four month period, they would engage with 1100 people including Senior Executives, Regional Managers, Senior Leaders, Administration Team Members, Call Centre Staff, Business Banking Managers and Mobile Lenders to revitalize and repurpose the organization.

In that four month period, Keith and his team conducted a series of 1 day workshops for all 1100 staff. Follow up sessions were held after 90 days to measure change, transformation, progress and success. 24 online video modules and a weekly inspirational blog were offered over the following 12 months. As well, Regional Managers were reskilled to conduct 45 minute reinforcement sessions each quarter over the same period. It was a massive undertaking affecting every corner of the organization. And it worked!

The Results

With re-energized and re-committed staff, the Business Banking unit generated a 12% increase in sales results in a very tough market. As well, they increased staff retention by 7% and lifted their staff engagement score by 9.5%. They managed to leverage passion to power performance.

How a Great Leader Succeeds

There is no question Keith’s offerings are successful. The repeat rate alone shows the value individuals and organizations realize from Keith’s programs. How does he do it? Here are a few of the secrets to his success:

  • Lifelong learning – Keith is always learning. He considers himself an apprentice on many fronts. He uses mentors regularly and has five today. That learning frame of reference supports his ability to create custom offerings for his clients and recognize and incorporate new learnings as they arise.
  • Best practices – Formulating best practices and structuring them in his model allows infinite flexibility and variability in his programs and his relationships with clients. The reuse enabled by his best practice mindset also enables rapid response at low cost.
  • Use it or lose it – Keith delivers roughly 100 presentations a year and engages with seven people a day on average. The more he does, the better he gets and the greater the return for his clients.
  • Build and sustain business on referrals – Keith doesn’t do much direct marketing because most of his business comes from people who have been on his courses or who have heard great things from people who have attended his courses or benefited from his services. That’s a wonderful confirmation of the value he delivers.
  • Know your strengths – Keith’s primary focus and talent is on assisting leaders. The folks he deals with are invariably successful in their jobs, but they’re stuck. They are facing new challenges and have a fear of failure. Keith teaches them to fall in love with the difficult, to be living examples – at work, for clients and families.
  • Follow your passion - The work Keith does changes people’s lives. They discover vital insights about themselves, their teams and their organizations. They discover that activity kills uncertainty. It’s about progress, not perfection. That in itself is a sustaining realization.

Keith Abraham practices what he preaches. He encourages his staff to do the same. His achievements and broad reach, the practices he employs to sustain his performance and that of his organization and the value he delivers to his clients should be an inspiration for all of us. Let’s all commit to pursuing our passions, for our betterment, for our families, our teams and the organizations we contribute to and work for.

So, as you proceed through your life and career journey, consider these points as you pursue your own passions. Also remember, use Project Pre-Check’s three best practice based building blocks covering the key stakeholder group, the decision management process and the Decision Framework right up front so you don’t overlook these key success factors for managing change.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has willingly shared their experiences for presentation in this blog. Everyone benefits. First time contributors get a copy of one of my books. Readers get insights they can apply to their own unique circumstances. So, if you have a project experience, a favorite best practice, or an interesting insight that can make a project or change manager’s life a little easier, send me the details and we’ll chat. I’ll write it up and, when you’re happy with the results, Project Times will post it so others can learn from your insights. 

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Drew Davison

Drew Davison is the owner and principal consultant at Davison Consulting and a former system development executive. He is the developer of Project Pre-Check, an innovative framework for launching projects and guiding successful project delivery, the author of Project Pre-Check - The Stakeholder Practice for Successful Business and Technology Change and Project Pre-Check FastPath - The Project Manager’s Guide to Stakeholder Management. He works with organizations that are undergoing major business and technology change to implement the empowered stakeholder groups critical to project success. Drew can be reached at drew.davison@projectprecheck.com

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