Not since the first industrial revolution of the 1800’s has there been a such a sharp focus on individual performance, as there is today, to drive organizational performance. The first industrial revolution was powered by manual labour and brute force. That slowly gave way to ideas of productivity and automation.

Today, the convergence of mobility, data, and cheap compute power has levelled the playing field allowing competitive forces to appear without notice and disrupt companies and industries in the blink of an eye. The true differentiator is increasingly becoming your talent pool. The mad rush to capture limited pool of high performers has reached feverish levels, resulting in overall dip in performance of organizations without access to high performers. The solution is to drive improved performance across the board. The cost of poor performance can cost up to 2-3% of a company’s revenue in tangible terms, and long term viability in non-tangible terms.

It is our strong belief that focus of organizations as this decade and beyond unfolds will be to improve individual performance to create high performance teams, and companies. This will be the prerequisite for organizational performance, just as cost, capability, and capacity dictated the success of companies in the third industrial era. This renewed focus will be supported by,

  1. advances in neuroscience (how, what, and why of human decision making)
  2. personalized coaches delivered at scale to bring out the next level of individual performance, and
  3. building work environments for performance to flourish

The authors Friederike Fabritius, Hans Werner Hagemann in their book, The Leading Brain, introduce the DNA of performance in their first chapter, Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and Acetylcholine. To be performing at your best, we must have Fun, Fear, Focus.

FUN – Individuals who perform at their best levels have FUN and enjoy what they do. Your brain releases dopamine when you have fun, and that makes your brain more efficient, improves learning, and importantly allows the prefrontal cortex, the region of the brain for rational and analytical processing, to work optimally.

FEAR – Performance requires the individuals to over-challenge themselves continuously and that FEAR releases noradrenaline. This fear ensures that we do not lose sight of the goal and it is continually driving us to learn the new skills and push ourselves out of our comfort zone to reach our goal.

FOCUS – When we FOCUS on the job at hand, and avoid distractions, a chemical called acetylcholine is released in the brain. Focus is the toughest of the three factors as we are constantly distracted. The science is simple, if you multitask, you are not focusing. Without focus, you cannot achieve performance.

If you aspire to become your best, ask yourself these three questions,

  1. Do I enjoy my job?
  2. Do I push my performance limits?
  3. Do I focus on what is really important?

I have been managing global sales teams for over two decades, and majority of times, the best I get is a single yes to the above three questions. It is time leaders asked these of their teams before attempting to measure performance.

Thank you for reading this post. I would love to hear your comments, and feedback.