12 Steps to Raise Your Game – 1 to 3

15th July 2010


Employee Engagement & Motivation


I have had the great privilege of working with many high performers and have spent over two decades studying the traits of high performers and how to create performance improvement.
A phrase I often use is “success leaves behind it a trail of clues” and my journey along that trail has showed a consistent pattern of things that the high achievers do on a consistent basis.

A word of caution – if you passively read through the list below you will get some benefit. If you really want to raise your game then work through the steps below (an effective improvement process) and putting them into practise in your life. Better than that; commit to making them a part of your daily habits just like brushing your teeth.

1.Set Higher Standards

The other points in the list are in no particular order, however I have placed this as number one because in my experience it is the most important difference between people who achieve occasional success and those who achieve sustained success.

Set yourself high standards. Demand of yourself more than anyone else would expect of you. This is a continual process, striving to be the very best that you can be.

This is more than a success strategy. It is a fundamental human need. Abraham Maslow explains why with his hierarchy of needs: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs). His model suggests that we, at the most fundamental level (level 1), have an innate need of Survival. At Level 2 a need for Safety, at level 3 the need for Love and Belonging, level 4 the need for Esteem and at level 5 Self Actualisation.

Maslow describes Self Actualisation as “the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” Maslow’s research showed that if there was a deficiency in one of these levels the individual would feel anxious and tense. There of course would be physical symptoms with a lack at Level 1.
When you continually set yourself higher standards, you are setting yourself targets for growth: the route to becoming everything that you are capable of.

You find that when you hold yourself to higher standards you will literally be a Rising Star who continually ups their own game.

2.Get Clear on where you are going

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” 
 Abraham Lincoln

Yes, I know, you have heard the need to set goals so many times before in Leadership Training and Management Training. However, what we know about and what we do are two very different things.

There are two important components to this:

a. Set Goals

b. Ensure that they are clear

Throughout the thousands of people I have personally worked with you would be surprised how many know about the importance of setting goals but don’t actually consistently set goals for themselves.

I am not going to go into detail on goal setting in this point. My message is simple: Set yourself clear goals and focus on achieving them.

3.Get Big Enough Reasons

Clients often ask me how to motivate their employees, how to improve performance: their own and their employees. They complain that even though they have set their employees (and sometimes themselves) objectives to be achieved by a certain time, those objectives are often not achieved. No matter how many times they ask, the behaviour of the employee does not change in a lasting way.

As human beings, in order for us to change we have to want to change. In order for us to want to change our behaviour there has to be something in it for us – a benefit. More than that: there have to be enough reasons, each of sufficient personal significance / benefit to us in order for us to consistently follow through and deliver.

When setting yourself a target / goal / objective look for the reasons why you are doing it. Ensure that you get enough reasons that grab you so that you feel compelled to follow through and do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.

You will find more detailed steps on how you can create compelling change in yourself and others in my Free Video Series www.gavinpreston.com.

Look out for the next post with Step 4 – 6

3 Responses to 12 Steps to Raise Your Game – 1 to 3

  • Tim Perry says:


    I stumbled upon your blog and I have to say I love this series.

    It’s great having a list of clear goals and enough explanation behind them to execute them. Not many blogs do this these days.

    Please continue the great posts.


    • Gavin Preston says:

      Tim, Thank you for the feedback. It is much appreciated and good to know that the posts are adding value. Keep an eye open for further posts. You will also appreciate the content in the free video series (see home page http://www.gavinpreston.com).
      To your Success. Gavin

  • Blackjack says:

    This website online is mostly a walk-via for all the info you wished about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely uncover it.

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