Are you and your team operating at maximum performance?


Earlier this year we had a series of blogs all based around the foundations of high performance:

Understanding the foundations of high performance.

Understanding the foundations of high performance.

So before we go onto some of the deeper issues concerning high performance, it seems like a good time to do a recap of some of those concepts, along with a few extra ideas, to cement the foundations.

So let’s recap…….

The key to improving performance and decreasing effort is to operate as closely as possible to your natural pace.

So many people focus on one-size-fits all ways to improve performance and productivity without focusing on ways to reduce the effort involved in doing so. Remember there is an inverse relationship between unnecessary effort and sustained performance. Think of it like this…..

Sustained performance = productivity – unnecessary effort

Now we are not saying that performance is effortless – definitely not!   It’s the unnecessary effort that brings down your results and this is where personal pace plays a big role.

The closer you work to your natural pace – the easier things will feel and the less time things take to get done. For example if your natural pace gives you a focus time of around 45 minutes, working on 90 minute task will probably take you more like 105 minutes if you don’t take a break with a lighter task in the middle. That is an extra 15 minutes of lost overall productivity and you’ll probably feel more mentally drained than if you broke the task up into two intervals.

If you make this change four times a day – that is an extra hour of productive time with less effort per day and less stress! In accountant and lawyer speak – that’s an extra hour of chargeable time per day!!

Remember if you (or your staff) haven’t already done so go to to calculate your pace.

Different paces need to be accommodated to maximise team productivity

Knowing your own pace is certainly useful to improve your own personal performance and reduce your effort levels, but what about when people of different paces need to work together?

Often it’s beneficial to have people with different paces working together, but if the concept of pace is not understood, it can lead to tension in the team which ultimately decreases the team performance and increases everyone’s effort levels – clearly the opposite of the desired result.

The more you know about the natural pace of those around you, the more you are able to understand how others like to work.

So for example if you are fast paced and distractions and interruptions are not a cause for stress, spare a thought for those slow paced people who might prefer to meet with you at a dedicated time instead of being interrupted every time you have your next “brainwave” that you would like to share with them.

Remember, in business it’s not “treat others how YOU want to be treated” – it’s “treat others how THEY want to be treated”.

Recovery is crucial for optimal performance

This is one of the hardest concepts to come to terms with – recovery will actually help your performance rather than hinder it. It is difficult to get our heads around this concept given we are mostly all brought up to work really hard and that recovery time is therefore considered lazy. Therefore many of us feel guilty for taking recovery time as we feel there is always something else we should be doing.

Remember the inverse relationship between unnecessary effort and productivity. Just like athletes – a small recovery enables you to “repair” so that you can take your performance to new heights after the recovery time.

If it helps, think of recovery as an important part of your productivity plan and schedule it.

Prioritising your most urgent task first is so old school.

Most people prioritise in a way where they focus on the most urgent task first and then focus on the next urgent task. This approach is inherently flawed and will actually decrease your productivity and increase your effort.

Managing your energy by mixing up your day between Heavy, Medium and Light energy tasks can help with your prioritization.

Hear me out on this one……What happens if the most urgent task is going to take three hours and you consider it a really heavy energy drain especially if you are a fast paced person? Well the task will probably end up taking you five hours and you will be too mentally exhausted to want to do anything after that. What an unproductive way to operate!

Let’s face it, we are all managing a number of different tasks which all need to get done by a certain time. Try categorizing your tasks into Heavy, Medium and Light and then work on each one for a length of time that is right for your natural pace.

By moving around between tasks according to your natural pace you will get more done way before the deadlines and it will also feel much easier for you. You have more control over this than you think you do. Go on give it a go!

Body, Brain and Belief – all three are necessary to maximise your energy and productivity

So many times when people think of high performance they are only focused on what happens inside the workplace rather than outside the workplace (often referred to as wellbeing). This can be a risky trap to fall into. It’s very difficult to improve your performance if you are tired – physically or mentally.

So the question of how to improve performance actually becomes a question of how to improve your energy.

Think of it in terms of maximizing your “Energy Credits” (ECs). Say the maximum ECs we can all wake up with is 100, think about where those credits come from. Broadly speaking…….

Max 100 ECs = ECs from “Body” + ECs from “Brain” + ECs from “Belief”

Quick reminder that “Body” is factors like fitness, nutrition and sleep. “Brain” is all about how you structure your days, weeks, months, meetings, inboxes etc and how you work to your personal pace. And “Belief” is mindset. A positive mindset has been proven to be associated with greater productivity, profitability and creativity. More about that in coming blogs!

Of course once you wake up with 100 ECs, it’s just as important to make sure you only spend 100 ECs. And if you are waking up with less than 100 ECs, then you have less to spend which means you can’t possibly be as productive as someone waking up with 100 ECs. You don’t need a PhD in Mathematics to figure that one out.

So if you and your team are looking to improve performance, you need to focus on all three components.

Remember – you can have wellbeing without high performance but it’s virtually impossible to have high performance without wellbeing.

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