What is Performance DNA?
Much like any living organism, organizations have blueprints or codes...
More motion is just that!
We (Americans) live in a ‘take action’ culture, a culture of the ‘yankee work ethic’ where incremental effort and pressing the nose harder to ‘the grindstone’ supposedly leads to success and rewards. We are also a culture of immediate gratification the ‘I-want-it-now-quick-fix-diet-pill-plastic-surgery-100% LTV loan’ society.
Don’t get me wrong, those traits are to be admired when put to good purpose. They have helped to make us the innovative, industrious, ‘can do’ leader of the modern world. But they can often (as in a crisis), work against us.
Here is the inevitable confusion: because some hard work and immediate action (activity) might lead to desired results does not mean that ANY or MORE activity will increase the positive results. Too often the reality is that MORE IS NOT NECESSARILY BETTER. Thus we find ourselves stuck in the same old ‘stinkin’ thinkin’:
1. Why only put in 40 hours a week at my job – wouldn’t 50 or even 60 get me farther?
2. If we accomplished so much understanding in ONE meeting, wouldn’t TEN be better?
3. If a sale can be made for every 10 calls on average, wouldn’t 100 be better?
And so on…
At first blush, this seems sensible. But from a performance perspective it is insanity. There are three fundamental truths to performance in the workplace:
1. It is the OUTCOME of the activity that matters.
2. What people DO is only important as it relates to what they PROCUCE
3. You only get what you measure
Combine these 3 and you begin to understand my point. If we focus on activity, if we measure activity, if we create the mentality that more activity is better, then what do we get? MORE ACTIVITY. Fortunately, some of that activity will drive results for us. Unfortunately, much of it will only inflict cost on our organization.
In the end, the difference between good and great organizations rests on eliminating wasted motion by focusing activity on producing valuable outcomes then measuring those outcomes. If we measure time on the job, we get time, if we measure number of calls we get calls.
Think about your own organization: Do you REALLY need more activity, or do you need a measured approach where the ONLY activity we undertake if clearly targeted toward producing a well defined outcome? Sometimes in business our personal lives and our nation, we would do well to pause. Perhaps our principle motto for times of crisis should be, “Don't just do something, stand there!”