As an overview, the system outlined below identifies eight key ingredients which I have determined through extensive observation and analysis are the factors which drive success velocity. Their interplay and the virtuous cycle they create determine the achievement of Velocity Factor™.
The first four are strategic, and form the underlying foundation upon which you will build a process for generating acceleration. The second four are tactical and will serve as tools to generate that forward momentum. In an ideal situation, the foundation is perfect and fully formed. In reality, there is an ebb and flow of the relative perfection and strength in each of the factors, and the more power you have in one or several, the more there is an offset of weakness or underdevelopment elsewhere. The objective is to always be honing, perfecting, and developing each factor independently to achieve the greatest possible synergy and interplay among them over time.
Perspective, the first factor, is defined as ‘the relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole’.
To create velocity you must know or be able to do something. To know something, you must have perspective. Select a specific subject, business issue, or functional area of expertise in relation to which you have or will develop more perspective than anyone else. Something about which you can eventually be THE expert.
The key to developing this element is to increase the breadth and depth of one’s exposure to education, the experience and wisdom of other people, an understanding of the human condition, trends, and in countless other ways to experience people, thinking, and situations which add something new to your understanding of the world in relation to the specific area you are focused on.
The more you know about a broad range of things and how they relate to one another, the more you can determine with greater accuracy the way ALL things relate to one another. The broader your exposure, the better your judgment from the standpoint of being a basis for decision making. Your perspective flows from the sum total of your experiences, and all of the aspects of who you are, driven by the way you analyze, relate, think, create, and extrapolate the sum of all of that into assumptions and beliefs about the future. The deeper and broader your experience and knowledge, the better your perspective.
Again, to develop velocity you must know or be able to do something. To know something, you must have perspective.
The second element in creating velocity is your premise. Think of the premise as an idea – THE idea – translated into something tangible, and actionable.
Your premise is the concept, vision of yourself, mission statement or value proposition you will use as the expression of knowledge and perspective you have developed, to position yourself properly to be able to build velocity. This can be anything from a description of your targeted position in a professional or regional marketplace, to a stated commitment to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics, your unifying theory in particle physics, or a very humble statement of your focus.
It has often been said that those who fail to plan are planning to fail. Beyond just having a plan, what we are talking about here starts with an objective or set of objectives, flows info a vision of a path toward those objectives made up of incremental, tangible and measurable steps, and defines your strategy for achieving those steps and objectives.
Your plan then becomes more than a roadmap, it becomes a programming language which will clarify your mental focus, provide a level of control over results which drives achievement, and allow you to make course corrections along the way as needed.
One of the most important ingredients of your success will stem from who you are. This is likely to be one of the things you are already most confident about. You likely have a great deal of strength of belief in yourself, your intelligence, capabilities, and skills, such that you feel that if people really understood fundamentally who you are you would instantly have the upper hand in whatever realm you might be competing.
The reality today is that rarely will anyone take the time to truly get to know who you are. Well before your customer, boss, potential employer, or social center of influence gets to know who you are they will already have made a judgement about whether they will hire you, promote you, buy from you or recommend you. These decisions are based on a set of factors, but one of the primary ones is their perception of you. And their perception of you will in large part be driven by your persona.
Persona is an Italian word derived from Latin and refers to a kind of mask. In this context I am referring to an overall constructed impression you create utilizing your appearance, dress, confidence, energy level, sense of style, physical carriage, eye contact, sense of humor, and way of interacting, which in turn communicates your values, character, seriousness, personal brand, commitment to excellence, work ethic and much more.
More than anything else, your professional persona generates a level of confidence in you and your ability on the part of the observer.
The fifth factor is the platform, and is the first of the ‘tactical’ set. You might think of the platform as a kind of podium you stand on made up of the substance of all you are engaged in doing, creating, and achieving. It’s the sum total of your ‘story’. The more substance you create to stand on, the higher the podium, the more commanding the impression you make, and the more powerful the substance of any presentation. It is tactical particularly in the sense that you are always adding to it and strengthening it in a multitude of ways to build it’s power.
This starts with your family history, your upbringing, and your educational credentials, and extends to your business sector, employment and/or entrepreneurial history, customers and partners, socially conscious activities and accomplishments, impressive personal activities or milestones, track record, and reputation. This is the tangible ‘who you are’ which would underlie the perceptual persona described above which conveys the sense of the platform of accomplishment and credentials that in effect justify the essence of the persona.
Each of the factors identified creates a layer that enables and empowers the next. Presentation is yet more tactical than the prior factor. It encompasses everything from the communication tools you use to convey the substance of each of the prior factors – resume, brochure, web site, business card, social media, physical office – to your communications ability, delivery of a pitch, stand up presentation skills, and so on. This combines both the art and science of communication and persuasion.
Through the development and use of the presentation factor you can start to harness the power of everything that came before it, combining actual tools with your own ability to communicate, convey empathy and passion, and engender confidence in your abilities with your persona to truly accelerate the impact of every aspect of every other factor.
Perhaps more than any other factor on the list this one is THE most powerful. At least at a perceptual level, you and your credibility will be judged more based on who your partners are than by anything else.
In this case partners are defined as any entity or person which would be seen as endorsing you. This includes the company employing you first and foremost or your investors if you have your own company, the individual you work for, your customers, co-workers and professional peers, advisors, friends, and any and all entities with which or with whom you have a professional or significant personal association with.
To enhance your velocity in ANY endeavor, if you only work hard on only one factor, make it this one. Partners are THE power factor which can accelerate the velocity of your success more than any other.
And last but certainly not least, we have the factor that many individuals would rate as THE most important in driving the velocity of success – performance. Results. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Or is it?
A cynic would say that it’s not what you know it’s who you know. The truth is that performance does matter. A great deal. But it’s one factor among eight I have identified that I believe combined come together to determine the velocity of your success.
The key thing to understand is that we all want to get where we are going faster than ever before. Velocity is the speed component in the success equation. Work to develop each of the eight factors identified and you will see them play off of each other, helping you to attain the power and lift that comes from the synergy among them that you will find delivers the ultimate acceleration to your career and the achievement of your professional goals: the Velocity Factor™.