Integrity, intensity, intelligence

Five suggestions for peak performance

As leaders, the way we lead is influenced by what we read, experience and learn. We learn some from our successes, but we learn significantly more from our mistakes.

We can also learn from others who are successful in their specialties. (Why make the same mistakes when we can learn from others?) We learn by watching what we like in leaders and what we don’t like.

We may realize that the way an executive handled a situation conflicts with our values, the way we want to treat people. In life, before we figure out what we want to do, we have to figure out who we want to be. This can happen by taking these five actions.

  • Have a commitment to lifelong learning.
  • Play to your strengths.
  • Realize your weaknesses.
  • Put the right people in the right place.
  • Engage your team and customers by communicating effectively.

Of course, if peak performance were as simple as doing these five things, then we’d all be more successful. Peak performance requires balancing the many roles and responsibilities we have in life, and that is something I struggle with daily. It’s so easy to lose our balance, and then we risk developing other challenges. We may be thriving in business but straining our personal relationships. And, if we don’t pay attention to our health, how can we be at the top of our game?

According to Gerald Bell, Ph.D., founder of The Bell Leadership Institute, to be a peak performer, we have to balance seven major aspects of life — family, personal, health, financial, career, spiritual and fun/happy. I know what Bell says is true because I have not always been in balance in my own life.

No one is perfect, and we are all a work in progress. We all need to be on a journey for continuous improvement. Balance is one critical aspect for achieving peak performance. At The Fedeli Group, we identify three key characteristics that all associates should embrace. We call them the Three I’s: Integrity, Intensity and Intelligence.

  • Integrity involves being honest in dealings with co-workers, strategic partners, clients and associates. It means adhering to high ethical standards and being trustworthy. We also ask our associates to have these commitments: lifelong learning, being proactive and being collegial, congenial, cooperative and collaborative with colleagues.
  • Intensity is a focus on work, completion of projects and treating one’s tasks with a sense of urgency. Nothing happens without a sense of urgency. Deadlines help us achieve our goals.
  • Intelligence involves the knowledge of one’s discipline. And it is emotional, including self-awareness, motivation, empathy and social skills. It means being curious and seeking a deeper understanding of the industry, clients and oneself. We also need to be intellectually honest and see things for the way they really are, not the way we think they are. That is why it’s important to have mentors, advisers and friends to share knowledge and ideas, and to gain honest feedback.

Peak performance requires constant self-refection and feedback. We can improve those seven areas of our lives Bell talks about by adopting these five actions, and not allowing obstacles or egos to get in the way of doing the right thing. Keep the end goal in mind — and enjoy the journey.

Umberto P. Fedeli is CEO of The Fedeli Group