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Ascend Life Blog #16: Attitude, Effort, And Skill. How Are You Performing?

Daniel Gant


Performance. What a great word. We all love performance. Me, I love a high-performance aircraft or sports car. A high performing athlete is enough to get us all off our seats and yelling with excitement. And wouldn’t we all love to be one of the high performers at work?

They are the ones that get the promotions. They are the ones who make the most money. They make the greatest difference and impact for good on other people’s lives. I know I want that.

So, how do we increase our performance? What is it? Can it even be measured?

If you have read much of my other posts you will at least be familiar with Zig Ziglar from the number of times I have referenced the Ziglar Show. Well today it is different. I am going to reference an Entreleadership podcast episode #96, which is an interview with Zig’s son Tom Ziglar.

Tom now heads the Ziglar company which provides training for in numerous areas related to business and personal growth.

In this interview Tom Ziglar talks about what he calls the performance formula.

Attitude X Effort X Skills = Performance

These three attributes greatly influence your performance in any area. Specifically, we are talking about work, but this does apply to other areas as well.

Here is how it works. Let’s start by ranking each of these three attributes on a scale of -3 to +3. -3 being the worst possible and +3 being the best possible.

For example, having a slightly positive attitude might give a 1, a better than mediocre level of effort would again be a 1, and just having better skill than some random person off the street would again give a 1. 1 time 1 times 1 equals 1.

This is still a better than average, but where the power comes in is if you can up your levels in each area your performance goes up drastically.

For example, let’s say you have a good day at work. Your boss commends you for something you have done. Your attitude would tend to be a lot better. Let’s say it becomes a 2. Even with your effort and skills staying at a 1, your performance has doubled. (2 X 1 X 1 = 2)

Let’s keep this going. Say your boss gives you a project that you are familiar with and like. Your effort would tend to increase to maybe a 2. Again, we have doubled your performance. (2 X 2 X 1 = 4)

Now if you are sent to a conference for some additional training that can bring your skill level up to a 2 you have again doubled your performance. (2 X 2 X 2 = 8)

Notice that with each doubling of one of the attributes, the performance doubles. Just by doubling your good attitude, your effort, and your skills you have improved by 8 times over your coworker who is still at a 1 in each of those areas.

Wait a minute, did I say we were on a scale that went up to 3? Well to get to a three Tom Ziglar says you have to take responsibility for becoming the best you can in each of these areas.

It isn’t enough to just do the training that the company provides, you have to seek out additional learning on your own.

It isn’t enough to just do what you are supposed to. You must seek out additional tasks to accomplish that go above and beyond.

It isn’t enough to just have a good attitude, you must take responsibility for your own attitude. You must realize that your attitude is completely under your control. Attitude is the key foundation upon which the other areas are built.

If you can achieve these high results in for each attribute, the resulting boost to your performance blows the roof off! (3 X 3 X 3 = 27) Meaning you can be 27 times more effective than the average person.

Honestly this seems too high, and it very well may be, but the whole point here is that increasing each of these areas in your work will greatly increase your performance. I am sure studies have been done (or at least could be done) to more exactly measure the results of these improvements, but still, think about the average worker compared to those at the top. There is a significant difference.

There is a flip side to this. If you are negative in just one of these areas the whole of your performance become negative. If you have a bad attitude, but good effort and great skill, you still have terrible performance over all. (-1 X 2 X 3 = -6)

This is where the math breaks down though. If you have negative in two areas the mathematical result would be positive. (-1 X -1 X 2 = +2). But I think you get the point. In this case even though the math would put you positive, logically we know that the performance as a whole would be negative.

I think we all know someone who is great with two of these, maybe effort and skill, but has a terrible attitude. Doesn’t their whole performance tend to become sour? Yeah, they might get a lot done, but no one wants to work with them.

Or another case where the math doesn’t hold up is if one of these is a zero (making the result automatically a zero). Oh, the joys of trying to equate everything to math… but hey, I am an engineer!

So, all of the math aside, looking at my own performance I have a lot of work to do. I am not even sure that I am at 1’s in all three areas every day.

Let’s challenge ourselves to start improving in these areas. Remember just a little improvement in one of them creates a much larger improvement in your overall performance. Yes, it will take work, but life is just too short to live at a level 1.

I’m going to start trying to be better. Will you join me?

God Bless,