Business: Prime Business Pyramid

As I discussed in the January, 2008 issue of Prime Business Alert!, Prime Business is defined as “performing at a consistently high level under the most challenging conditions.” Prime Business is a goal toward which everyone in the business world strives, the result of which is maximizing performance, productivity, and profitability. But few individuals or companies clearly understand the information and strategies they must use to achieve that goal. Nor do many have a structure and a process for working toward Prime Business. And even fewer have the wherewithal to implement such important change. The Prime Business Pyramid provides both a framework and a means for identifying and developing the key contributors to individual and organizational performance.

This issue of Prime Business Alert! will create the foundation of knowledge on which you can optimize performance and strive effectively toward your goals. The Prime Business Pyramid is comprised of seven psychological factors that most directly impact performance in the business world (and, in fact, life in general):

  • Motivation
  • Confidence
  • Stress
  • Focus
  • Emotions

These factors can either facilitate or interfere with performance. Your goal is to understand your relationship with each of the seven factors and develop strategies and a plan of implementation for alleviating the weaknesses and building on the strengths, on which Prime Business will emerge.

Prime Business Progression

The Prime Business Pyramid is ordered in a purposeful and logical manner. Its order is based on the sequence in which the factors impact business performance. The first three factors (self-knowledge, motivation, and confidence) have a preparatory influence that readies you for performance, while the next three (stress, focus, and emotions) provide a direct effect as performance begins and proceeds. Ego has an overarching impact on every phase of performance and has a particularly strong influence during periods of challenge and conflict.

Motivation. Motivation involves the determination and drive to take action in pursuit of your goals. Motivation is so important because all efforts would stop and any other contributors to performance, whether the acquisition of information, skill sets, resources, or physical health would be moot. Motivation ensures that you do everything you can to be totally prepared to achieve your goals. Essential to developing motivation is understanding what motivates you to work hard toward your goals.

Confidence. From motivation and preparation in pursuit of your goals, you will gain the foundation of confidence on which success is built. Having put in the necessary time and effort, you will have a strong and resilient belief in your ability to achieve your goals. You will have confidence in your:

  • Knowledge, experience, and expertise,
  • Ability to fulfill your roles and responsibilities, and
  • Capacity to overcome obstacles, handle setbacks, and react constructively to challenges.

Stress. From confidence and an abiding faith that you can succeed, you will have the ability to respond positively to the significant demands and high stress that are an inevitable and constant part of the business world. This healthy reaction means seeing stress as a challenge, not a threat and, as a result, wanting to face it head-on rather than avoid it. Part of your confidence comes from a metaphorical toolbox you develop that you can reach into for information, strategies, and tools to help you turn stress into an ally when it is an enemy for many around you. Your goal isn’t to just manage stress, but to master stress and use it as a tool to propel you forward rather than hold you back. The benefits of stress mastery can be found at every level of your business efforts including psychological, physical, and interpersonal.

Focus. With a clear mind that comes with stress mastery, you will have the essential ability to stay focused and avoid distractions while others are consumed by the chaos that often exists in the business world. Effective focus means being able to focus intensely on the task at hand, shift focus when the demands or the tasks change, and block out performance-interfering distractions that are ever present in business. Focus is especially important when faced with complex responsibilities, multiple tasks, deadlines, and uncertain outcomes.

Emotions. Developing the five previous Prime Business factors provides you with the foundation for emotional mastery, perhaps the most challenging of the pyramid’s factors. Emotions lie at the top of the Prime Business Pyramid because I have found that they are the ultimate determinant of your ability to perform consistently under the most challenging conditions. Emotions also contribute significantly to your abilities as a leader and a team member. The business world can provoke a broad spectrum of emotions, ranging from inspiration, pride, exhilaration, and contentment, to fear, frustration, anger, and despair. Emotional mastery doesn’t involve not feeling these emotions—as human beings, that’s impossible—but rather identifying, understanding, and expressing the emotions you feel in a healthy way. Most powerfully, emotional mastery gives you the power to use emotions as tools to facilitate individual and team performance rather than weapons that hurt you and others.

What it All Means

With an understanding of the most essential psychological contributors to individual corporate performance, you now have the framework from which to explore them in your own personal and professional lives. The Prime Business Pyramid should now act as the foundation for the process of change and growth that will allow you to maximize your performance and achieve your goals.

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"Dr. Jim Taylor has taken the lessons learned from his own competitive athletic experiences and combined them with the latest scientific research and 20 years of high-performance consulting to help us understand what toughness really means in sports, business, and life. His powerful message about toughness and his ability to communicate makes Jim someone worth listening to for anyone trying to overcome the challenges we all face."

Dave Shula
former head coach, Cincinnati Bengals, CEO, Shula Steakhouses