Sometimes it seems the only way to really overcome inertia and lead to real change is to declare a revolution. Over the past ten years we have been working with some great leaders who have not only forecasted the need for Sustainable High Performing teams but also the need to align their culture to support these teams. Of course, as is often the case when you bring new thinking and challenge the status quo, these big thinkers have the scars to show for trying to lead a new way of thinking.
The great news is that after 10 years of introducing the need for Sustainable High Performance in leadership and business, and teaching these trendsetters strategies to maximize their impact (both at work and away from work), we are seeing the groundswell taking shape. Unfortunately, after this past recession we are also seeing the need for a revolution growing. As this need grows we see more and more frantic behavior, more executives in the survival mode (sinking and floating), and more compromised impact. This sets the perfect stage for rust out (the slow painful brother of burnout) where you are under constant fire (not total conflagration), your resources are insufficient, and you are having a minimal impact. As I often share with our clients, I rarely saw a firefighter burn out from critical calls where they made an impact because this was the perfect crisis they were highly trained to respond to. On the flip side I have seen hundreds of firefighters rust out from going on too many non-critical calls where they felt they could make very little impact.
So what are some of the key components we see growing in this Sustainable High Performance Revolution. Here’s a short list:
_A shift toward less meetings, shorter meetings, more standing/walking meetings, and an emphasis on shift towards output rather than input and duration.
_A shift toward results at work rather than on how many hours you work, where you work, or even when you work.
_A shift toward being much more purposeful and intentional in everything you do rather than suffering from intentional deficit disorder (a term coined by Dr. Russell Barkley but so appropriate for floaters).
_A shift to truly make people the most important asset that they are and not just say it on the mission statement. Leaders like Sandy Ogg of Blackstone and Kees Kruythoff of Unilever are role models of this.
_A shift from persecuting failures to reframing failure into its components of many small successes, all the critical lessons, a willingness to be bold and take chances, and usually one small element that slightly missed.
_A shift from a frantic work culture to one that is truly agile and capable to handle today’s business challenges. This means a culture that is energized around handling challenges, creative in their solutions, and constantly recharging and rebalancing to quickly jump on the next opportunity. Nobody is leading this charge like John Reid-Dodick, the Chief People Officer of Dunn and Bradstreet (that’s right, watch out for this company to do amazing things).
_A shift from start lists (to do lists) to stop lists (don’t do lists). This is transformative because the reflexive approach to the recession was to just keep doing more with less but this is fundamentally a fatal approach and has led to the current situation. Some of these stops are listed above but some other ones will include to stop cc and CYA emails, stop wearing how busy you are as a badge of honor, stop having meetings as a form of corporate recreation, stop unneeded travel, and stop the "everything is a priority" thinking.
_A shift from GSD (getting shit done) to GGSD (getting great shit done).
_A shift from pretending we are super human to applying Sustainable High Performance strategies so you can be a super human.
Ten years ago, speaking about Sustainable High Performance was a lonely place. We are so happy to see the revolution gaining momentum as so many others are realizing the need and the benefit of doing things differently. After all, if your people really do make the difference, then you need to make your people different.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think and if there is anything we can do to support you and your teams in your Sustainable High Performance revolution, please let us know.