What do business and sports have in common?

Orientation on results = HAVING

Sustained high performance  =  DOING

Person = BEING

They share many more similarities but I’ve chosen these three to reflect on the order in which they are typically discussed.

One of the most sought-after competencies when recruiting both executives and elite athletes is “results-driven”. I agree with its importance since without it, we wouldn’t be in the realm of high performance.

Where does the PERSON appear on this list?

I suggest maintaining these three factors but inverting their order of importance:

BEING = Person
DOING = Sustained high performance
HAVING = Orientation on results

When I listen to executives and athletes describe this highly valued professional competency in their own words (their orientation on results), I can immediately distinguish between two groups:

On one hand, those who are “FOCUSED” on RESULTS. The focus is only on what they hope to achieve, in “having”:

  • increase sales
  • reach the top 5 in rankings
  • buy a better car… …

Laser-focused on what they hope to accomplish, they become “doing machines” capable of doing anything to reach their objective, which they normally do. It’s a perfectly acceptable approach, but this type of client is precisely where I most often see symptoms of anxiety, stress and burnout.

On the other hand, there are those who are “ORIENTATED” on RESULTS.

They are also very clear on what they aim to achieve: they are equally interested in increasing sales, reaching the top 5 in rankings and even buying that new car. But once they have defined the objective, they stop worrying about it.

Then what do they focus on? What’s the difference between them?

Those orientated on results know how to align actions with their reference VALUES, which is different than simply taking action. They each formulate their own sense of purpose, their unique “why” for each action. They never focus on what I HAVE to…; the paradigm of I WANT is what moves them. They’re intense and passionate in everything they do, relying on their strengths. Far from complaining and falling into victimhood, they are proactive. They actively work to build a broader and deeper sense of self-awareness. They focus on their BEING.

Grounded on this self-knowledge, the results-orientated place their FOCUS on the TASK (never on the result) in their day-to-day, on “doing with a sense of purpose”. Never overlooking the beauty of individual moments, they take actions on a quest for both excellence and enjoyment. They achieve the highest levels of performance, but as a natural consequence of their focus.

They also work long and hard, enjoying the journey. Being aware that we can choose our actions offers us a unique opportunity in our professional context.

What about you?… Are you orientated or focused on results?