5 Steps to Peak Performance
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How do you bring out the best in people? Managers want their people to achieve excellence at work. Leaders and management alike know that without people motivated for peak performance, companies will fail to succeed.

To achieve peak performance — a combination of excellence, consistency and ongoing improvement— one must find the right job, tasks and conditions that match an employee’s  talent. Therefore, facilitating the right fit becomes one of a manager’s most crucial responsibilities.

Disengaged Or Bored?

Disengaged employees often appear to lack commitment. In reality, we all crave engagement. No one enjoys working without passion or joy.

While many factors cause disengagement, the most prevalent is feeling overwhelmed — or, conversely, underwhelmed. Disconnection and overload pose obstacles to performance, yet they often go undetected or ignored because neither qualifies as a disciplinary issue.

Meanwhile, managers try to work around such problems, hoping for a miraculous turnaround or a spark that reignites energy and drive. They try incentives, empowerment programs or the management “fad du jour,” but with only temporary success.

While it’s impossible to create “flow” moments all day long, any manager can greatly improve on the ability to help people achieve peak performance.

Use Brain Science to Bring Out the Best

While no management guru has found the golden key to unlocking the full panoply of human potential at work, research sheds new light on possibilities.

As far back as a 2005 Harris poll, 33 percent of 7,718 employees surveyed believed they had reached a dead end in their jobs, and 21 percent were eager to change careers.

The situation isn’t improving.  In 2014, a survey revealed 52.3 percent of Americans were unhappy at work.

When so many people are moving from one job to the next, something is wrong. They clearly have not landed in the right outlets for their talents and strengths.

The better the fit with the job, the better the performance. People require clear roles that allow them to succeed, while also providing room to learn, grow and be challenged.

5 Steps to Boost Performance

Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, author of Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People (Harvard Business Press, 2011), synthesizes research into five steps managers can apply to maximize employees’ performance.

Cited as “The Cycle of Excellence,” it exploits the powerful interaction between an individual’s intrinsic capabilities and extrinsic environment:

  1. Select: Put the right people in the right job, and give them responsibilities that “light up” their brains.
  2. Connect: Strengthen interpersonal bonds among team members.
  3. Play: Help people unleash their imaginations at work.
  4. Grapple and Grow: When the pressure’s on, enable employees to achieve mastery of their work.
  5. Shine: Use the right rewards to promote loyalty and stoke your people’s desire to excel.

 Step 1: Select

 Examine how three key questions intersect:

  1. At what tasks or jobs does this person excel?
  2. What does he/she like to do?
  3. How does he/she add value to the organization?

Set the stage for your employees to do well with responsibilities they enjoy.

Step 2: Connect

 Managers and employees require a mutual atmosphere of trust, optimism, openness, transparency, creativity and positive energy.

A positive working environment starts with how the boss handles negativity, failure and problems. They set the tone and model preferred behaviors and reactions. Employees take their cues from those who lead them.

To encourage connection:

  • Look for the spark of brilliance within everyone.
  • Encourage a learning mindset.
  • Model and teach optimism.
  • Learn about each person.
  • Treat everyone with respect, especially those you dislike.
  • Meet people where they are; most will do their best with what they have.
  • Seek out the quiet ones, and try to bring them in.

When people are floundering, the last thing they need is to have their flaws and mistakes spotlighted. Instead, make sure you understand the real issues.

Step 3: Play

Play isn’t limited to break time. Activities that involve imagination light up our brains and produce creative thoughts and ideas. A playful attitude boost morale, reduce fatigue and bring joy to workdays.

Encourage imaginative thinking:

  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Encourage everyone to produce three new ideas each month.
  • Allow for irreverence or goofiness (without disrespect).
  • Brainstorm
  • Reward new ideas and innovations.
  • Encourage people to question everything.

Step 4: Grapple and Grow

 Help people engage imaginatively with tasks they like and at which they excel. Encourage them to stretch beyond their usual limits. If tasks are too easy, people fall into boredom and routine without making any progress or learning anything new.

The job of a manager is to be a catalyst when people get stuck, offering suggestions but letting them work out solutions.

Step 5: Shine

 Every employee should feel recognized and valued for what he or she does. Recognition should not be reserved solely for a group’s stars.

When a person is underperforming, consider lack of recognition a cause. An employee usually won’t voice feeling undervalued, so you must look for subtle signs. In addition:

  • Catch someone doing something right. It doesn’t have to be unusual or spectacular.
  • Be generous with praise. People will pick up on your use of praise and start to perform for themselves and each other.
  • Recognize attitudes, as well as achievements. Optimism and a growth mindset are two attitudes you can single out and encourage. Look for others.

When you’re in sync with your people, you create positive energy and opportunities for peak performance. Working together can be one of life’s greatest joys—and it’s what we’re wired to do.

“Put simply, the best managers bring out the best from their people. This is true of football coaches, orchestra conductors, big-company executives, and small-business owners. They are like alchemists who turn lead into gold. Put more accurately, they find and mine the gold that resides in everyone.” ~ Dr. Edward M. Hallowell, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People (Harvard Business Press, 2011)

As an Executive Master Certified Coach, I support managers to bring out the best in their employees. If you feel the need the support in doing that, please contact me at: motykoppes@coachmoty.com.

I also welcome your referrals. I offer a 30-minute phone consultation, which will be scheduled at no cost to you. Please request at: motykoppes@coachmoty.com

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Call me today (949) 721-5732 to schedule a 30 minutes consultation.

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Moty Koppes is a certified master coach providing you with personal development, life coaching, relationship coaching, communication skills, personal power, life balance, career coaching, productivity enhancement, executive coaching and stress reduction in Newport Beach, Orange County, Southern California.