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The Best Way to Boost Your Performance Is Not What You Think

performance paradox 51279

Although we’ve been told that goals are the key to success, what if goal-setting actually reduces performance? Many years back, I worked with a Formula One racing team. At that time, pit crews consisted of 19 guys who serviced the ultrafast, high-tech race– refueling cars, changing tires, and performing required maintenance in seconds. The pit […]

The Counterintuitive Benefits of Choking Under Pressure

Performance Under Pressure

When you are on autopilot, you are highly efficient. But when the rules change around you, this can lead to disaster…. I lived in London for several years. Before moving to England, I considered myself to be an excellent driver. But I quickly learned that some simple changes could make it difficult to operate a […]

Mastery is Not Enough

Think about the last time you went to your favorite restaurant. Was the quality of the food the only reason you enjoyed it so much? Or were there other factors? Décor? Service? Overall atmosphere? Other intangibles? If you can, recall a time you needed technical support and were 100% pleased with the service. Was your […]

Measures: Will You Get What You Want?

I recently spoke with a new client who shared with me their innovation measures.  When I looked at their measurement system, I immediately saw flaws. But before addressing these imperfections, let me first provide you my perspective on innovation measures. In general, there are three types of measures associated with “challenge-based” innovation (be sure to […]

Innovation and the Performance Paradox

Today, my article on “The Performance Paradox: When Less is More” was published by the American Management Association. You may recall that I introduced this concept in a blog entry last month. What is the Performance Paradox? The more fixated on your goal you become, the greater your chance of success, right? Yes, but only […]

How to Swim Faster

At a recent workshop on creativity, I discussed “the performance paradox” – the concept that trying harder produces poorer results. Afterwards, one executive in the audience came up to me and told me his own story.  He said… “When I was a kid, I went to summer camp.  One of our daily activities was swimming.  […]

How to Perform at Optimal Levels

In the early 1900s, Robert Yerkes and J. D. Dodson developed the aptly named Yerkes-Dodson Law. The premise is that performance increases relative to motivation (they call it “arousal”) only to a point, after which performance drops. It is typically drawn as an inverted U-shaped curve. You will notice that I superimposed three “goal” concepts […]

Go 95%; Achieve Optimal Performance

I just read a blog entry on CanOWorms that discusses the concept of 95% perfection. The general idea is that in sports, we achieve optimal performance when we put 95% effort into what we do. My own experiences — personal and professional — support this premise. A few years ago, I worked with a Formula […]