Performance = Potential – Friction

score sheet with poor tickedBeing a high performer is a good thing. It gives you more options in life.  Your performance is your potential minus your friction.

So, to increase your performance you can either increase your potential or decrease your friction.

Increase Your Potential?

You can try to change your genetically given talent. Good luck with that.

You can learn new skills. Yes that’s a good one but it takes time.

Or you can just work very hard. I do recommend that one but I know it’s not for everyone.

Reduce Your Friction?

There is so much friction in the world it is staggering. It defines us but we are hardly aware it is there. I’m talking about everything that gets in the way of you doing 8 straight hours of important work that moves your stuff forward.

I write about our friction all the time: the shiny distracting stuff; anything with a screen on it; other people; and the stuff in our heads – fear and fear of fear being the biggest two. You are, of course, your own worst enemy.

Mother Nature wants you to be successful but by that she means reproduce. She didn’t invent Maslow’s hierarchy.  She probably thinks that’s a bit above your station. If she’d wanted that for you she wouldn’t have given you fear to keep you in line.

When I was in corporate world we used to talk about low hanging fruit. Really we did. The low hanging fruit in the performance game is almost all to be found under the friction heading.

Here are a few good friction-reducing activities:

  • Define what really matters rather than what merely helps and only do what really matters.
  • Don’t chase money. Money chases value. Deliver value. A lot of corporatists struggle with this but that’s usually rooted in lack of trust.
  • Remember inaction (and her close relation doing the same thing you’ve always done) is a choice and should be justified just as taking a new action should be.
  • At work, think in terms of reproducible process. Big boys and girls in successful organisations have value-delivering processes that they understand and are predictable. Get some of these. There is no magic. But there is process.
  • Caring about what people think of you is narcissistic. And we know what happened to him. Do not let this colour your decisions about what to do.
  • You know that stuff you want to do but have yet to do? Ask yourself why you haven’t done it yet and deal with whatever the barrier is. I’ll bet you a tenner it’s fear. That’s OK. Acknowledge it and do what you have to do anyway. Fear can only live where there is inaction. So take action.

Try these out and see what happens. Can you think of any more?

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