Book Review: STEP UP
By Victor Antonio, Sales Influence
This weekend I read a book titled, “Step Up – How to Win More and Lose Less in Business” by Daniel Grissom. The book focuses in on one thing, performance. It analyzes, through facts, metaphors and real world examples, why some people outperform others and why some companies operate at a higher level of efficiency. The book challenges us to ask questions to uncover why some folks remain ordinary while others achieve extraordinary results.
Grissom’s book is a manifesto for performance. What I admire most is the courage the author shows in its indictment of procrastination and self-doubt as the perpetrators of many failed careers and/or failed companies. He doesn’t back down from pointing the finger at ourselves for our own inability to achieve desired results.
Grissom’s model for stepping up your personal results is em bedded in the acronym, STEP UP, which stands for: Standards, Talents, Evaluation, Preparation and Unleash Potential. Here’s a summary:
Standards – In the book Grissom challenges you to raise your standards if you want to raise your standard of living; personally and financially. In whatever role you play in corporate America (e.g., sales, manager, employee, etc.) you need to improve on what you’re doing. Complacency is not acceptable and will not increase your performance. The book provides plenty of stories and examples to make the case that in order to grow we have to demand more of ourselves. He quotes Earl Schoff, “Your results are directly related to your philosophy not the economy”
Talents- People have to develop a skill set, talent based on doing something they enjoy doing. If you’re unhappy with what you’re doing the chances are you’re not going to be a top performer. Understand and self-assess your hidden talents and focus in on what you’re passionate about. From a company standpoint Grissom makes the case that you need to hire the right people for the right job (i.e., a good fit). Which leads into his next step.
Evaluation – The cornerstone of this step in the STEP UP process is that you have to know where you are. Much like pointing to a map on wall, knowing your location (situation) will allow you to make the necessary plans to get to where you want to be. The best way of doing this is by first being truthful and objective about your current situation. Asking yourself tough questions is the key here and Grissom helps you out with a key list of self-evaluation questions. In this section he quotes his late mother Dr. Pauline Grissom to whom he dedicates the book, “Average is being at the top of the bottom.”
Preparation: This section is reminiscent of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Grissom challenges the reader to come up with a tangible and measurable battle plan for achieving your desired outcome. He challenges the reader not to simply set goals, but to set demanding and exacting goals beyond their present scope of what they think possible.
Unleash Potential: The philosopher Aristotle wrote, “To know and not do is the same as not knowing.” In this section Grissom talks about the mental toughness required to take action in order to reach your personal or financial goals. He points to three reason why many people don’t take action: Fear, Lack of Structure and, (very insightful in my opinion,) Not mentally wired for action. People who are afraid to take action fail to do so because they don’t want to measure by their actions. People who lack structure and lack focus will lack the initiative to take action. Lastly, when people prefer thinking over doing then nothing ever happens. What Grissom drives home is that inaction is the killer of achievement in all respects…nobody could argue with that!
Grissom closes out the book by emphasizing how important continuous improvement is in maintaining a high-level of performance of individuals through coaching. Towards the end of the book Grissom uses a Gaussian Distribution Curve to divide up performance within an organization as follows: 20% lagging tail (Move Talent- low performers), 60% center (Average Talent) and the leading tail 20% (Top Talent). He emphasizes the benefits of investing in coaching but then highlights something quite insightful. He encourages companies not to invest coaching in the bottom 20% (Move Talent) but instead in the top third of the 60% of average talent essentially shifting upwards another 20% into the leading tail of performance (i.e., move more Average Talent into the Top Talent increasing it from 20% to 40%). Whether you agree with this approach or not, it merits strong consideration especially in a tight economy or if you’re in a hyper-competitive environment and the utilization of resources and training is critical.
The book is a great read for managers not only in sales, but every aspect of management in a corporation. Again, the book is a manifesto aimed at enhancing individual performance and as a consequence a company’s performance as well. Let me humbly suggest you STEP UP and get your copy today!
Victor Antonio, Sales Influence
“Finding the Why in (How People) Buy”
Copyright © 2010 by Victor Antonio. All rights reserved. Author, speaker and sales trainer Victor Antonio has a BSEE, MBA and over 20 years of executive sales experience and has shared the stage with top national speakers like Zig Ziglar, Dr. Robert Schuller, Rudy Giuliani and other top business experts. This post MAY be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, as long as the author’s name, website and email address are included as part of the article’s body. All inquiries, including information on electronic licensing, should be directed to Victor Antonio at firstname.lastname@example.org