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Information Diet: the Secret of Top Performers

  • By Ryan Skidmore

Curated Intake

Top performers need intellectual fuel to maintain their peak game. Amongst fitness circles, nutrition is held as equally important as training to perform well. (New York Times) The phrase “Information Diet” encapsulates everything important to professional top players of all stripes. High power sales people, doctors, CEOs, managers, etc. Some players need more intake, others more focused intake, and still others need less. Diet is the right nutrition in the right amounts. As a small business owner, you are the top player in your world. Staying there requires an Information Diet. An old saying goes, “leaders are readers.” Anyone who directs others needs a surplus of ideas to work with. However, the best form of consumption and assimilation of information is no longer bound to just reading books and magazines as the saying, and its proselytes, love to infer. Welcome to the 21st century; podcasts, video, and online articles have all achieved a high-quality state equal with traditional cream-of-the-crop formats. Pick your poison. All deliver the same essential result. Good information creates 1.) know-how and 2.) wisdom. Know-how, for this endeavor, is to be defined as “expert skill…which is not common knowledge…that creates a specialized result…and is not readily available.” (Business Dictionary) Or the ability to take disparate pieces and create a functioning solution. E.I. going from a chaotic field service business to fully tracking trucks and trips. Wisdom is judgement. In murky situations that grace the average business day, smooth operations require it. Deciding what intake is beneficial and the best format is deeply personal, but the actual content should be a mix of industry news, industry technical information, current events, news from a topic adjacent to your space, some kind of non-fiction or something fun, and spontaneous research.

Reduced Intake

Information overload abounds in the age of unlimited everything. For a business owner, the focus should be professionally and personally enriching. Dump reality tv. Dump BuzzFeed articles from the ole’ Facebook feed. Dump every Facebook notification that doesn’t have to do with your business’s ROI. Then eat your information vegetables. Plan out topics and stick to one source for each. Pick one thinker, one magazine, or one media outlet, and stop when you’ve read everything they have for that day or week. Don’t get off topic. If you are a small-scale manufacturer in the Mid-Western United States, going down a rabbit trail of West African politics will waste your time. Instead, be informed on region of the world that competes with yours. China perhaps. Truly being informed on a topic takes time and consistency in small doses. Leaving a little room for other topics and sources directly adjacent to your current topics prevents a silo effect. Personal curiosity is foundational to being truly dynamic and effective, which is the fundamental objective of an information diet. Also, getting a tool that delivers information about your business is beneficial such a system that enables tracking trucks.

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