A simple loop for great performance
By Juanpablo Barrantes
More than often, most of us find ourselves pretty comfortable with status quo, we’re quite eased with routines. Same way of doing things, same thinking, same life. At some point and at a certain degree we need stability in life, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for getting better and constantly looking for greatness. Stagnation has its allies, behaviors people more than often show like procrastination and underperformance, leading to frustration and growing stress whenever someone starts rising the bar of strive-for-high-performance. Ask yourself about any particular situation you are facing right now that is dragging you and everyone around you out, even this situation is dependent mostly on you and your colleagues, nobody is actually finding on how to step in and start fixing it up. Here’s a simple 5 step loop to frame and tackle that recurring and annoying problem to keep you and your organization on the way for great performance. 1. Confront the brutal facts of reality. Don’t deny reality, never blind yourself to see the real facts that keep underperformance deeply ingrained in both your organization and your life. It’s not that easy, in most instances lack of time and poor reflection skills are the root motives that prevents on getting into the major reasons why the problem persists over time. Confronting the brutal facts of reality means in having the ability to first overview the forest instead of the trees, by asking insightful questions like: - What is the real size of this problem? - What are our capabilities in terms of the real size of this problem? - What means this problem to our organization, in terms such as money, time and other key resources? - Why is it important to solve this problem? - How fast should we be addressing this problem? How fast solving it? Once you have enough awareness of the real facts about the problem, we might be ready to the next step on this approach. 2. Acknowledge your flaws in the process Personal growth truly comes whenever you admit your faults and make a commitment to whatever needs to be done so never recurring on the same mistake. The ability and willingness of being self-reflective is critical in the strive of great performance. The most successful and enduring individuals and world class organizations have a well established and continuous self-reflection, disciplined process into their strategic and operational plans. Acknowledging your flaws over the existing problem means on having both humility and courage to confront yourself by asking insightful questions such as: - Can I contribute to the solution of this problem? If so, how? - Is this problem dependent solely under my scope to be solved? If not, who else do I need to involve? - How can I personally avoid this problem on recurring again? - What should I learn out of this process while solving this problem? 3. Clearly define what needs to be done to close the gaps A significant step towards great leadership happens when you have the ability to frame the execution to solving problems in terms of: - the reason (why?), - the scope (where?), - the action (how?), - the accountable for (who?), - the time (when?), and then by being aware on seizing the gap between where we are now versus where we want to be in terms of performance. 4. Relentlessly work on closing the gaps This is the step of discipline, I could say without a doubt, in most instances any effort we came up during the previous planning steps fails because of lack of enduring discipline to execute the actions defined so the gap between actual and desired performance is gradually closed. This is also the step of execution, where the actions will eventually confirm if success is gradually reached. Remember it’s not about rushing the numbers with no sense of purpose, rather than being aware all the actions we’ve working on were consciously set to close each of the existing gaps that are preventing great performance, to be consistent over time. 5. Evaluate performance and again, confront reality I’d like to illustrate this step of the loop with a recent story of courage and calamity.
Guatemala, June 3rd, 2018. In the slopes of the Fuego Volcano is located the Resort and Golf camp La Reunion. In a Sunday cloudy morning, at 11:30 am, three deafening rumbles made Evelyn Ordoñez -Hotel General Manager- to resolute into a bold decision, she instructed all her Hotel Staff to evacuate 320 people amongst guests, residents and employees. One and a half hours later, nobody except Evelyn and a very small group of Staff members still stayed at the Hotel while a thick and aggressive amount of volcanic material started invading the golf court. By the time Evelyn and her crew left the hotel at around 2:20 pm, the media just announced on a gigantic avalanche of volcanic material devastating the hotel and its surroundings almost completely. Unfortunately, two small villages near the Hotel were also wiped out by the volcano’s avalanche, leaving dozens of people either death or severely injured, while any of the local authorities never issued a formal and official on-time communication for evacuating far away from the volcano’s avalanche path. Neither Evelyn received such official timely communication, but she had both the ability and gut to quickly overview the situation, confront the brutal facts being faced at that moment, and make a courageous-bold decision to evacuate all the people under her direct responsibility. This sad and tragic situation serves as a good example on how a great leader address key decisions based on factual information and confronts reality just as it is, to adjust whatever is needed to keep her organization in the path of enduring greatness. Furthermore, effective leaders repeat this simple loop continuously, while they keep mastering the skills of self-awareness, reflection, planning and disciplined execution for the benefit of her own growth and the organization’s success. By Juanpablo Barrantes Read more posts on Leadership, personal growth and resilience at: www.jpbarrantes1973.wixsite.com/leadersapproach