Performance is something everyone thinks about.  How do I get better is a question people have posed forever. Smaller, slower, weaker and dumber have never had much appeal. And yet everywhere you look, people and organizations are struggling. Some are lost. Many are on a dead end road. They have the desire to excel and yet they are failing (not achieving their potential) at what they do. Surprising in that oftentimes the gap between being a world-beater or a wannabe is not all that great. I didn’t always know that. In the course of living my life, my view of how one achieves success has gone through a number of iterations.

In my younger years I was impressionable. If I read something that was delivered with conviction I took the bait. I didn’t know that there were many who had a self-serving interest in their sermon. I didn’t understand that empty heads have long tongues. And because of my lack of experience, I periodically entered the maze of mediocrity.  I went down a number of dead end roads.

Time, energy and resources were squandered. I didn’t like it. One day, I decided to give the issue some thought. The journey started with an inquiry. Why do some people accomplish everything they want, while others never achieve their potential? I determined the answer to that question centered on one word. Responsiveness. People that perform are responsive to the issues, threats, opportunities, and challenges that confront them. No matter what the circumstance, they are ready to act. They are prepared to commit to what needs to be done.

For years, the “experts” have connected performance with commitment. And, yes, commitment is a vital component of performance. But being committed in the wrong areas doesn’t accomplish much. Today, people who can’t distinguish the significant from the mundane will fail.

Whether you call it an operational compass, a roadmap to excellence, or a blueprint for success, if you are looking to achieve something, it helps to separate the significant from the mundane. When you have, there will be a direct correlation between effort and impact.

In order to identify those factors that lead to Responsiveness, a precursor to performance, we need to dissect Responsiveness into its more utilitarian components. Responsiveness requires Focus and Speed. Focus is a product of Knowledge and Direction. Speed follows from Agility and Action.

While there is much that needs to be perform, when you cover these four bases you have set the foundation for Victory. Knowledge insures you make the right decisions. Direction keeps you out of the swamp. Agility allows you to adjust to unforseen events. Action is the catalyst for everything.