OUTsight/ The Achiever Mindset


Manila, 24 January 2018 — In our search for the secrets of High Achievers, we looked for the three characteristics that drive their mindset. 

In Being An Achiever, I shared my understanding of what it means to be a (high) Achiever and how to become one. We started that exploration with a process perspective and discovered that Achievers can use assertive and receptive behaviors at different times, and in a complementary manner. Another way to describe these two alternating energies is Yang and Yin, or Grit and Grace. As leaders, we need both dynamics, and we need to determine when to tap each of the two. 

We also saw how getting achievements is not only a matter of pushing. It can also be attracted into our lives, pulled in when we take three simple steps that can become a virtuous cycle. 

Let us now look at the secrets of Achievers from a structural perspective. What are the characteristics that drive their mindset? I distilled the following points from research and from my own experiences in meeting leaders. 

Again, I welcome your response with your perspectives on it, as you feel that it applies to you individually and to the people around you that you work with.

As I researched about behaviors and characteristics that make Achievers special, I discovered that they correlate with the characteristics of leaders we see around us. I found it easy, therefore, to use my perspective of Triple C Leaders that I shared in an earlier post, focusing on leaders as being curious, cheerful, and convincing.

Achievers are Curious

Knowing why. Achievers have worked on answering the 'why' question for what they do at work and in their life. They have discovered their strengths, and have clarified their goals. They know what they want and where they are heading because they worked that out. To guide them and keep them on track, they have also done their homework on the values that they want to work and live by.

Asking questions. With the benefit of having done their homework on their objectives in life, Achievers are curious about people around them. What inspires them? Where are they going, what they can learn from them, and how they might help to bring out their best? Achievers ask questions.

Seeing opportunities. While most people see their life goals limited by circumstances and other people, such as their bosses, Achievers typically cultivate an opportunity mindset. They will see demanding tasks as stepping stones and as opportunities to learn more and enrich their experience, including how far they can stretch their own energy and resourcefulness.

Achievers are Cheerful

Being empathetic. The curiosity that Achievers have for other people can extend into empathy and caring. Some are masters of the social emotion of compassion, and full of grace and generosity in how they work with other people. They bring out the best in people and motivate them with their positive attitude. 

Creating possibility. Achievers create possibilities for change. Their thinking is often framed towards seeing possibilities rather than seeing problems. They often reframe problematic situations with possibility thinking and are cheerful about what can be achieved.

Shaping culture. In businesses and organizations, Achievers are often involved in shaping cultures that are conducive to embracing change and achieving positive outcomes. Their message is positive, and they lead by example, modeling the way rather than waiting for others. 

Achievers are Convincing

Celebrating progress. Research by Teresa Amabile at Harvard shows that making progress and creating small wins are powerful motivators in our work. Achievers make full use of that principle, and they show up with persistence to make progress and get things done. In order to keep doing that, they know how to manage their time and select their priorities. 

Communicating effectively. Achievers have worked on their interpersonal skills to understand others and communicate effectively to influence the outcomes they seek. They engage in building high-performing teams and groups, using their communication and collaboration skills.

Taking responsibility. When it comes to getting results, Achievers take personal responsibility for it and work step by step to move the business forward, immediately and strategically over a longer term. They can be counted on to stay the course until results are achieved.

How does this analysis of three characteristics that drive the mindset of Achievers fit with your experience? I am looking forward to your feedback as you consider your practice and potential for becoming a High Achiever.