Before I interviewed Hyrum W. Smith for his new book The 3 Gaps, I asked my Facebook friends to submit questions for the best-selling author and former CEO of Franklin Covey. He graciously extended our interview to field those questions.
If you’ve never heard Hyrum Smith speak, here’s what you need to know: he’s energetic, relentlessly upbeat yet no-nonsense, and funny. His answers definitely reflect his personality and his life-long quest for making a positive difference.
Here are three questions my friends asked, and Hyrum’s answers:
How do our beliefs inhibit our productivity?
Ask yourself: “Is there a gap between what I believe is true and what is actually true?” One of the concepts I teach is something called the “Belief Window” – which is like a small, clear window that you’ve got hanging in front of your face. And you put all sorts of beliefs on that window – things you believe to be true. For example, if I believe that my self-worth is dependent on never losing an argument, you know what’s going to happen every time I get in an argument? I’m going to win somehow. Will the results of that behavior meet my needs over time? Probably not. So I’ve got a bad belief on my Belief Window.
The Belief Window metaphor is something that is very simple. People pick up on it right away, and all of a sudden they start seeing this window and seeing this stuff they put on the Window. And some beliefs are correct and some aren’t. And if you can learn to do surgery on your belief window, the [ineffective] behavior takes care of itself – and leads to higher productivity because now your beliefs are starting to meet your needs over the long haul – maybe not right way, but over time.
How do you stay productive when you don’t have a deadline?
Well, this question addresses the differences between an externally enforced deadline and an internally enforced one. Working against a deadline is always helpful, always productive; and so, my recommendation is you create your own deadline. If the deadline has not been created for you, then you create your own deadline because that creates urgency and when urgency is present, productivity goes off the chart. So if someone says to you, “I need this report in a few weeks.” And you’re thinking, a few weeks – what does that mean? If it were me, I am going to tell myself, “I am going to have this done in six days.” And I will get it done and the person who asked for it may not ask for it for two weeks. Or I may take the report into the requester, and say “I don’t know when you wanted this, but here it is.” And the person gets it earlier than he or she thought they were going to get it, that’s a big plus. So, personally imposed deadlines work wonderfully.
A registered dietician asked, “I calculate my productivity percentage monthly and I give it to my boss. I have been told that a person’s productivity percentage should be between 70 and 110%. Does Hyrum agree with that?”
[chuckling] In my world, there isn’t anything more than 100%, you know. So I don’t know where they get the other 10% stuff from. I’d be really intrigued about how she measures that. I don’t know if there such a thing as 110%.
My general response [to the productivity question] is: it depends on the job. There are lots of job descriptions that you can measure that type of productivity. For example, if you work for the VA, how many documents did you process this month? And they can say, “We expect you to do 1600 and you only did 1200, so you are at the 70% level.” It’s easy to calculate but not everybody’s job is like that.
If you can keep it above 70% that’s good; but man, I would have to know how you are measuring that. That sounds like a very subjective observation.
My thanks to my friends, colleagues and family members for offering your questions. I hope you found these responses helpful!
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