Performance strategy takes organizational behaviour one step further. It focuses on a systems approach of alignment between our goals, biological systems, environments and psychology to maximize individual, team and firm performance. It looks at brain optimization in individuals and teams to drive impact and achievement.
By first understanding how our brains work, we can then focus on creating the right conditions to improve decision-making, productivity, self-awareness, and behaviour change.
Let's start with the basics.
As you can see below, we have an optimal level of arousal or stress where we perform and learn our best. This is where we can access peak performance states of ‘flow’, as defined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi during his two decades of research. It’s also the sweet spot for increasing neuroplasticity, paying attention and learning, as well as reducing cognitive risk in decision-making. In terms of attention for instance, when arousal is too low we are unfocused and if it’s too high, we become distracted.
Each of us has a different level of optimal arousal. We constantly fluctuate on this scale depending on factors such as stress, the states of our nervous system and environments as well as the level of challenge a task has or the skill we have in completing it. We can see the relationship above between our emotional status, our level of arousal and our performance or attention at every level in our nervous system- from how synapses function all the way through to our behaviour. The key is to understand what tools we can use to regulate ourselves, and the teams around us, to be at this optimal level of activation as often as we can.
If you’ve ever worked with a trainer at a gym or a sports coach, you’d know they help you move the goal posts in and out so that an exercise isn’t too hard or too easy when you are developing a skill or muscle. They break down a large goal into micro goals that sets you up early for wins along the way where that reward enhances motivation and learning. They also help to give direct feedback so you can correct yourself in your learning turning a skill to conscious competence where it becomes second nature and can be performed without really thinking about it. Similarly, Performance Strategy looks at bringing these elements into the corporate environment.
“Mindset is the single attitude that separates those who succeed from those who don’t.” - Carol Dweck
One other way Performance Strategy builds on organizational behaviour is that it focuses on growth mindset- the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and solve problems. A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is the idea that your qualities such as intelligence and personality are unchangeable. Psychometric testing is often a trusted tool used by organizational strategists which give us a prediction of how people will behave in terms of personality, capability and motivation. Untapped potential lays in the belief that personality is fixed which is simply not true. Have you ever taken a personality test 10, 15 or even 30 years apart from each other? If so, you’d see that your result most likely changed, because you changed!
Our personalities are flexible. Your present self does not equal your future self. A 2015 study explains that personality can be intentionally changed through goal setting and sustained personal effort. Other research also shows that “personality changes accelerate when people are leading meaningful and satisfying lives.” Using the V4 Method™, we can tap into how to accelerate these changes to our behaviours through our brain and nervous system so that we can more readily reach our goals and get to our personal peaks faster.
Rather than relying solely on tools such as psychometric testing to give us an idea of which size or shape puzzle pieces we are and then trying to organize them to fit with other set pieces, we can ultimately tap into unleveraged potential efficiently by changing the size and shape of each of the puzzle pieces to allow them to fit together more quickly and more easily!
Performance Strategy also differs from traditional consulting which focuses on pushing in advice, information or content. Rather, Performance Strategy also incorporates pulling out the capacity people have within themselves and reorganizing that knowledge to unlock clear thinking, higher achievement, inspired vision, leadership and optimized performance.
I am fascinated by the potential of Performance Strategy and the transformation it can achieve in people. I look forward to digging deeper into it with you in future posts!