Written collaboratively by Michele Clay & Mark Kamin
Why even discuss High Performance? Why does it matter?
The first thing you might think of when you hear the term High Performance is car racing or being able to do something more, better or faster, waste less time; in other words, improve on what you are already doing.
This is not what we mean by High Performance. What we mean by High Performance is in a context of real Excellence.
When you improve performance on the spectrum of “better”, obviously you are going to have to do something like “work harder, work smarter…” and that is fine, but you don’t get the quality of performance that goes with being a real champion, and it has no connection to the kind of performance that defies old limits and maps out new territory.
Serena Williams is not just a better tennis player; she is in a category of her own. Mohammad Ali was not just a better fighter; he was in a category of his own. Steve Jobs did not just provide “more of” technological development – what Apple gave the world was and is in a category of its own.
In other words, we assert that trudging up the hill faster and better generates a very different experience than belonging to the fulfillment (individually or within a team) that goes with really being Excellent.
For example, really being effective in leading a team and winning with a team of people is deeply fulfilling, engaging and enlivening – even when it is uncomfortable and sometimes even when its miserable. In fact, we have found that people experience the height of exhilaration when swinging out of their comfort zone to produce something new.
Human beings, given our intrinsic nature, seem to be very nurtured and empowered when we actually fulfill what we are capable of – at the highest possible level. You might say human beings experience that as really “being alive”.
Want more? Look for the next installment: The Conspiracy to Call “Pretty Good” – “GREAT”