7 behaviours of an innovator that help you thrive at work

A question for you: have you ever sat down and reflected on what you believe are the right behaviours to act with at any given moment to succeed?

This is a question that I've been obsessed with for a while, regularly learning, reflecting and iterating on what I believe are the right behaviours to act with to succeed.

So far, I've arrived at 7 core behaviours that I view as key to acting with to succeed - however you are defining success (impact, money, happiness blah blah blah). I call these 7 behaviours the Innovator Mindset.

Prelude - why you should focus on core behaviours

No matter who you are, what your job, wealth or status is, there is only one thing you control - how you choose to act in each moment.

As such, let's stop obsessing over the things outside of our control "look at my salary...look at my title" and let's start obsessing over improving what is in our control - how we behave.

For the purposes of this article, let's define being successful as achieving your goals, whatever those are - no judgement here. These 7 behaviours are our opinion on how you should act to maximise your chances of being successful long term, recognising luck always plays a part :) 

The 7 behaviours key to success long-term

The 7 behaviours are as follows

Courage, continuous improvement and drive

All 7 of the behaviours merit articles in their own right, but I'll briefly share why courage, continuous improvement and drive matter most.

Courage is not a lack of fear but its mastery. Far too many people don't pursue their goals, personal and professional, out of fear of failure or embarrassment. Risks are overestimated, and action is delayed to 10 years in the future "after I am established", "after I've paid my mortgage" etc. Equally, too many business leaders are afraid to face the reality that their organisation is failing to compete, and so they choose inaction and saving their reputation over taking a risk to win (cue the likes of Blackberry dismissing the iPhone..."it has rapid battery drain and a lousy keyboard").

Continuous improvement is like compound interest. If you get 1% better each day, you'll be 37.8x as good after a year. If you combine courage, a willingness to be uncomfortable and to fail, with continuous improvement, striving to get better each day - then all other behaviours will follow. These two are the most fundamental.

With Drive, I want to touch on why working long hours does matter. There has been a lot of crap research to put it frankly on how working fewer hours is more productive.

The only time working less is more productive is because you are either not working hard (focused at work) or because you aren't working smart (90% of what most people do is pointless, zero value add...).

A little reality check. If you work 60 hours then you will do 1.5x as much as you would if you worked 40 hours. Actually, you'll do more than 1.5x, because your output is the product of skill times by effort.

In a simplified model taken from Angela Duckworth's book Grit, you can think of skill as the product of your rate of learning multiplied by effort. So if you spend 1.5x time practising, with a comparative rate of learning, you'd be 1.5x as skilled, and your output would be 2.25x the amount (1.5 x 1.5).

Research shows the highest performers in companies have 200x output. These people work long, hard and smart.

Habit loop - integrating this behaviours into your life

If you'd like to practise any of these behaviours then I'd recommend using the habit loop tool - taken from James Clear's Atomic Habits. You must design a simple and obvious cue to practise your desired behaviour, you must outline the clear action of how to do it and make this minimum effort and you must create a reward that is worth the effort.

Below is a simple example of how you might use this tool to integrate continuous improvement into your daily routine.

Stay innovative,
Andy, Innovator at Alto

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