17 Jan Planning for Performance

By Blake Stevens, Director of People and Culture at The Ōnin Group

“Performance management,” “high performer,” “underperforming” and “driving performance,” are just a few of the phrases we use to discuss performance in our daily conversation. But, performance talk has become so ingrained in our speech that I feel we have lost the true meaning of the word. 

Performance needs to be planned, monitored and adjusted to meet the desired outcome.  We are all driven by something. Finding your inspiration is great, but ultimately bettering your performance to make a real impact is a true adventure.  I would like to present four things to think about when working on your performance.

  1. Goal setting- Proper planning and goal setting will give you a realistic time frame and mile markers to hit along the way.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Goal setting is key to success, and should never be forgotten. Having the vision to know where you are going and how you would like to get there will take some of the anxiety out of the picture. Working through the SMART process (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) when setting goals will allow you to properly plan for the desired outcome.
  1. Trusted coach and accountability partner- A trusted coach can give you perspective and real feedback. The last thing you want to do is set your goals high with a great plan to get there and no one there to support you during the tough times. A coach can push, encourage and drive you to be better than you ever thought you could be.  If you are intent on achieving your goal, you will accept the help of others along the way.  We can all learn from each other, and when you have a trusted advisor who understands the true reason for your mission, you are in a great position. 
  1. When failure is not an option, failure is the only option – Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” We must factor the human factor into our performance. We are not perfect, and will never be, but we must foster the humility and understanding that our performance is not mastered overnight. Professional baseball players are successful one out three times in the hall of fame. Learning from their last time at bat, analyzing the last time they faced a specific pitcher and watching videos of their swing to determine what went wrong and right are ways to improve, but 300 is still a great batting average.
  1. Recognize the small wins- Never underestimate the power of looking back to see how far you have come. There is power in knowing that you have made it through those tough valleys, overcoming the adversity change brings.  Recognizing what you have accomplished, and briefly soaking in the success will support sustainability in the long run.  Arnold Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and went on to win the Mr. Olympia contest seven times. I can only imagine the commitment of making the decision daily to improve his performance to rise above his competitors. The rigor of daily devotion and continuous improvement is challenging, but with the right mindset, it can be done and done well.

    In Schwarzenegger’s own words, “Look for small victories and build on that. Each small victory, even if it is just getting up five minutes earlier, gives you confidence. You realize that these little victories make you feel great, and you keep going. You realize that being paralyzed by fear of failure is worse than failure.”

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