Our High Performance Mindset
The potential and capacity to perform on a high level on a continuous basis, and in the long run, depends largely on good health and well-being.
This balance is at the heart of our approach to developing and sustaining high performing individuals, teams and, organisations.
“Performance” basically refers to the act of beginning and carrying through to completion. And “high peformance” is about making things better or becoming better. Other words for “performance” include achievement, fullfilment, presentation, and conduct.
Our point of departure is that everybody has unique qualities and untapped potential to unlock and contribute throughout life.
Thus, life is a work in progress, and it is never too late to change the way you think, feel, and act. And it may be necessary to do so in order to improve or change the current state of things.
The world, as we have created it, is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
Balancing Performance and Thrive
“High performance” leadership and management is about exploiting the potential, and developing and maintaining the capacity, to perform on a high level on a contiuous basis, and for an extended period of time.
In contrast, “peak performance” is about the potential and capacity to perform on the highest level for a short period of time to meet an immediate, high intensity challenge – such as an important presentation, interview, negotiation, or sports competition.
Delivering peak performances for an extended period of time is not humanly possibly. And trying to do so will, sooner or later, have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, and social life.
In other words, doing your best on a continuous basis – and making the most of your potential and life – is not about performing to your maximum capacity all day, every day.
Rather, it is about performing at your optimum or “best possible” level, while taking care of your health and well-being, and dealing with life’s challenges.
As it is, too many people suffer from chronic stress, anxiety, depression, or burnout – not least because we work hard and long to succeed to the detriment of our health, well-being, and relationships.
The human and financial costs of doing so are high. According to the World Health Organization, unipolar depressive disorders were ranked as the third leading cause of the global burden of disease in 2004 and will move into the first place by 2030.
Definition of mental health: A state of well-being
WHO defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
In other words, “health” is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
Focus on Better and Broader
Part of the solution lies in thinking and doing things better and differently – rather than doing more, faster.
For example, through increased focus on sustainable performance and development within companies and societies. And trough increased focus on sustainable work lives – balancing performance with good health and well-being.
Expanding and exploiting diversity in workplaces and society is another part of the solution. This entails a broad view on talent review and “high potentials”.
From a narrow perspective, “high potentials”, sometimes referred to as “top talents”, tend to be those individuals believed to have the best chance to rapidly grow their capabilities and fulfill the requirements in the future.
From a broad perspective, each of us has unique talents and untapped potential to contribute towards a better future. And we should make the most of all available resources – for the benefit of individuals, teams, companies, and society.
High Performance Teams
A successful team can be defined in several ways. But, a must for a high performance team is that team members continuously succeed in working together in ways that make them perform better than the sum of their individual efforts.
It does not necessarily imply that the team’s collective performance is always better, or as good as, their individual performances.
Being better than the sum of their individual efforts is also referred to as positive synergy effects. Accordingly, being worse than the sum of their individual efforts is referred to as negative synergies.
Negative synergies can e.g. occur when the mindsets of individuals and groups are diverse, and when little or nothing is done to understand and manage these differences. This is a common reason why some company mergers and acqusitions fail – or are less succesful than anticipated.
One Size Does Not Fit All
There is not single recipe for creating and sustaining a high performance team – not least because people, situations, and circumstances differ, and times change.
Yet, best practises and research point out some common high performance indicators and succes factors.
They revolve around human factors that tend to enhance performance and goal achievment in teams – by enabling team members to act, allowing for the flow of good energy, and causing team members to move in the same direction.
These success factors include:
- Open and clear communication – ensuring knowledge sharing and facilitating a shared meaning.
- Clear goals – organising everyone’s focus and energy in the same direction, and building commitment.
- Values and goals that align with the personal values of team members, driving motivation and engagement.
- Mutual trust between team members – and trust in the team as an entity.
- Clear roles and responsibilities that are understood and accepted by each team member.
- Participative leadership style – giving influence to team members and building a sense of ownership.
- Situational leadership style – adapted to the different needs and interests of individual team members, situations, and circumstances.
- Managing conflicts – in a constructive and timely manner.
- Valuing a diversity of experiences, backgrounds and viewpoints within the team.
- Overall team culture that is positive, future-focused, and able to deliver success.