Alpha Performance What it is and why it’s important
- Author Stephen Champion
- Published August 24, 2022
- Word count 1,864
What it is and why it’s important
It takes something more durable than the optimism of youth or stoic resolve to establish and then advance one’s career. And in today’s fast-paced and demanding workplaces, even a hard-won competitive advantage is soon spent. So, something more long-lasting is needed: and this is Alpha Performance.
What it is
Alpha Performance is the apex of the hierarchy of competence; a higher and more continuous competitive advantage. And this personal power is achieved through a practical philosophy involving the whole person, head (logic), heart (emotions), and hands (action). And being holistic strengthens willpower.
are solution-orientated, and have a can-do constructive mindset
get things done, being action orientated
inspire themselves being emotionally involved in what they do
improve their expertise to deliver high standard results, consistently
The principles, Attitude, Action, Inspire and Improve will be expanded later.
Why it’s important
Highly competent individuals build a professional reputation, command the best pay and conditions, and have a passport to a rewarding career. Being among the best in your field is also the best protection against inflation. It secures your position as companies retain their most competent and productive staff. At the same time, it improves your earning power and promotion prospects since you are essential to the organization.
And the good news; is it’s achievable.
The pendulum continues to swing away from formal power (making the office and its status redundant) and towards reliance on those with personal power; Alpha Performers. However, it doesn’t happen overnight or by itself.
But before learning how to become an Alpha Performer, first, we need to understand the barriers to advancement, in other words, why people fail to achieve their full potential and succeed in their careers.
Why many fail
As adults, we work out what was put in by others during our formative years, a mixture of good and bad, positive and negative. Too much of the wrong stuff distorts and damages our perceptions; emotional and psychological damage done in childhood has deep roots and bears bitter fruit. In other words, garbage in garbage out, such as fear and prejudice, and other weaknesses become barriers to success, such as low self-esteem a major obstacle.
It’s poignant and possibly painful to ponder having one’s default set for failure nurtured by family, society, and culture. And this helps explain why some people can be awkward, dysfunctional even toxic. Nevertheless, we can change; reform is possible. If an individual, a complex composition of thoughts and feelings, has been wrongly programmed–the root of the problem–then the answer is to re-program the thinking.
There is no need for a deep psychological examination; simply replace the negative and destructive with the positive and constructive. If we want to achieve a different result, it stands to reason we need to do something different. So long as we can find a strong enough reason to make it happen.
The road to success
The essential ingredients for success are having the correct values, convictions, and attitudes, including a wholehearted commitment to its achievement. And this enables us to take our foot off the brake and apply the accelerator.
We become what we think and do
Charles Reade (1814-1884) illustrates this, “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” Our habitual way of thinking governs our approach to life, and attitudes impact results. Therefore, it’s essential to read, watch, listen and do the things that will benefit and not hinder or be detrimental.
For example, some years ago, I stopped reading tabloid newspapers and started reading the broadsheets, dramatically improving my English language and critical thinking, which helped me gain a Master of Science degree, a competitive advantage. I did something different; I changed my reading habits and advanced my career. Charles Reade knew what he was talking about.
How to become an Alpha Performer
Put the principles into practice and keep on putting them into practice until they become a habit. Because you are leaving a familiar state and working towards something new, you will probably experience some uncertainty, particularly during the transition phase as you’re treading new ground, a perfectly natural response.
And this is where having a personal philosophy (the seeds of action) enters the picture, a core belief, as your attitude drives your behavior, enabling you to put your foot firmly on the accelerator. Therefore, it needs to be well-thought-out and written as an Action Plan. The advantage of committing it to paper is that you can manage your progress, keeping you focused on each task one at a time. Think of it as designing your formula for success. To this end, it helps to appreciate the benefits on offer.
Becoming an Alpha Performer is beneficial in many ways. You concentrate your energies on pursuing excellence and fulfilling your potential. You’re on a mission, which means you have a purpose, and people with purpose have power.
Having direction, you know where you’re going, preventing drift and wasting energy. It’s also cathartic because you’re cleaning up the garbage from the past, making the most of your skills and attributes by overcoming inner friction. Combined, this aids mental and emotional health, enhances self-respect, improves confidence, and gives you a firm foundation. And it secures your current employment, makes you more employable, and puts you in the frame for promotion.
Significant benefits like these provide a sense of hope and optimism for a better future and are strong motivators. Once you start this journey, other possibilities open up; quite an adventure.
Principles and practice
The right attitude is the starting point for success. However, changing your attitude is difficult, but it’s relatively easy to change your behavior. Once I changed my driving habits, my attitude toward road safety in particular and safety in general also changed. It’s possible to re-program yourself and change your life for the better.
Therefore, developing the right attitude, a selfless approach to work, and going the extra mile to get the job done, is the way forward. And it’s achieved by following this word of advice; “Whatever task lies in your hand, do it with all your might...” (Ec. 9:10. NEB). Taking action and doing a professional job makes you feel good about yourself, and confidence improves, starting a virtuous upward cycle. It’s essential to keep fit and healthy as this helps you stay motivated and mentally alert.
Taking action also improves self-discipline, that inner power that keeps you working until you realize the objective, giving everything 100%, even through difficult conditions, without supervision. And this cultivates a solution-orientated, can-do constructive mindset. After a while, setting and achieving high standards becomes a habit; your modus operandi.
A salary ensures we go to work, but we need to be inspired, excited, and emotionally involved to release the energy to keep us there, perform well, develop, grow, and stay enthusiastic. When our heart is stirred we automatically go the extra mile and put in whatever effort is required to achieve our desired goal. As a result, morale rises, which helps maintain momentum. If it’s not forthcoming on the job, we must inspire ourselves or find something that does.
It can be something simple, such as a motto. The one that stirs me, to this day, is “To serve to strive and not to yield,” the Outward Bound School Motto. It’s a challenge, like being on a noble quest; uplifting. Keeping ourselves inspired can be difficult, and it’s why we need a vision, a place in the future we want to inhabit, and the self-discipline to stick to the game plan. However, if what we do and where we are no longer inspires us, despite all our efforts, then it’s time to move.
Improve is the fourth principle, as there’s no resting on one’s laurels. We need to challenge ourselves to be as efficient and effective as possible, gain a competitive advantage, and retain it by becoming an Alpha Performer.
Alpha Performers strive to progress to get the best out of themselves and never give an excuse for poor performance. “From well to better daily self surpassed,” said William Wordsworth’s Happy Warrior is their watchword. It amounts to being a lifelong student.
Alpha Performers can go all the way!
As you progress and demonstrate a consistently high level of competence, you register on people’s radar and gain personal power, opening the way to other possibilities. However, there is only so much one person can achieve, no matter how effective they are. The next step is to develop this into political power–essential if you want to start your own business.
Individual success is the catalyst that starts the party and attracts other productive, like-minded individuals. Develop alliances to unite people’s impulses to achieve a common goal–such as the organization’s vision–and you turn personal power into political power the path to the C-suite.
I’ve always found that when relationships were healthy, people cooperated, and it was easier to secure their commitment to a course of action. Senior management’s role is to assist these relationships to blossom and, at the same time, prevent healthy competition from descending into destructive power struggles.
Achieving corporate results to high standards, again and again, gains personal power and secures a well-paid future. Contributing to the organization’s success has a positive psychological and emotional impact and is energizing. Organizations invest in their principal performers: often leading to advanced qualifications and more challenging work. For the company, it means repeat business, always an advantage for the individual.
It’s also worth remembering you are paid in two currencies at the end of each month. First is the folding stuff, and you know what to do with that; the other is experience, which you turn into more folding stuff later in life. Ask any gray-haired consultant.
Being efficient and effective and gaining a competitive advantage is a part of the success equation. But becoming an Alpha Performer is the ultimate competitive advantage, as it ensures success over the long term. Alpha Performers develop and use their talents and skills to the maximum, set and achieve high standards and stay ahead of the field. And this makes them the most employable and promotable people on the planet, regardless of the economic circumstances.
The sooner you develop the Alpha Performance mindset, the better, but it’s never too late to start. Knowing you fulfilled your potential, bestows a great sense of satisfaction, especially in later life. Then there are no regrets.
This article is from my book How to Revolutionize Your Working Life and advance your career and is based on a body of empirical data gained from various cultures over several decades. Once I find the right publisher, it will be available to the public.
Copyright © Stephen R. Champion
Alpha Performance Management Limited.
Please feel free to contact me via
Experienced management consultant; specializing in troubleshooting and reengineering departments internationally. Implementing changes to improve performance.
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