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Performance: The Science of Achievement + The Art of Fulfilment

"It is much more dificult to measure non-performance than measure performance".
Harold S. Geenan

Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains it's own seed, it's own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time". Malcolm X

Managing underperformance in an open, respectful and honest way isn't as easy as it sounds - it doesn't even sound easy to most of us. No-one wants to underperform. No-one enjoys addressing performance issues. It can be stressful, painful, embarrassing and does little for the self confidence of anyone involved when not handled well. The under-performance dilemma needs a fresh solution.

  If all the performance checks and balances have been undertaken - all parties are aware of what is expected, the indicators are clear to everyone and the skills and resources needed are available - all that is left is to get down to how to turn the situation around. Spending too much time on why it has happened or who is to blame does nothing for moving forward and changing things.

Much has been invested into the first pillar of performance -The Science of Achievement. That is, making goals a reality, making performance work. We understand there are performance 'laws', a skill set even, that can be learned and can make sense of improving our performance. The second pillar, equally important, and often overlooked, is The Art of Fulfilment. This pillar is the one that leads to us feeling a sense of happiness, it's a unique blueprint for each of us.  There are however universal themes. We are all fulfilled by growth and giving. Meaning comes from this. Growth and contribution leads to fulfilment,  satisfaction from who we have become. The meaning we attribute to something impacts significantly on our performance. Give it meaning and we get improved performance.

Underperformance is no longer the blame game it once was- it's an opportunity game. An opportunity to grow.  If we embrace the opportunity underperformance brings we unlock performance. We know that growth cycles back leading to fulfilment which leads to higher productivity. Support is needed to get it right. The Science of Achievement  can be learned and The Art of Fulfilment- what drives us & what stops us - can be embraced.

The benefits can be seen in higher productivity, improved communication, better relationships, improved quality of life at work, greater recognition and more care in our interactions with others.



A Good-Fit, support in new roles & responsibilities, from the beginning, makes for a smooth ride

A poor fit between an individual's values, motives, skills and preferences can derail even the finest performance  producing efforts. Improved discretionary effort is one of the most obvious benefits of a good person-job fit. When an employee is skilled and competent and loves their work they will want to buy into the future of the company or agency they work for. As simple as it sounds when someone actually wants to do the job they're doing their performance will never be poor.

Gaining alignment between an individual's agenda and a company's agenda can take some real work. Getting both parties engaged in the process of change can require the greatest of efforts. The results are well worth that effort.

If it's time to act, get some help in and get it sorted.Turn performance challenges around.


Annual appraisals are simply not effective, ongoing conversations are essential

Nonperformance, underperformance, poor performance. Most of us would prefer to hide under a rock than face the discomfort of performance management conversations. As colleagues we quietly tap our fingers on the desks seething about the lax, flabby attitude of a co-worker. At home we watch our partner with their feet up and wonder how on the earth the house will clean itself. The delicate art of performance feedback needs a tailored approach.

3 Different Conversations, 3 Different Approaches
- High Performance
- Below Par Performance 
- Poor performance



Through much of my study and experience as a coach, and my own mistakes and successes, I've found that underperformance in any realm of life can take on many guises. If success leaves clues, so does failure. Failure, however, only leaves one. That clue is fear. Fear is what derails successful people and what fuels underperformance. Fear of failure, Fear of pain, Fear of not being liked, Fear of not looking good, and so it goes on. Listening to a leading coach and global advisor on Maximising Performance I was interested to hear him discuss the concept of our own Fear Story. We all have one, he suggests, that we use to explain to ourselves why we underperform. Why we're not there yet. Why we've let things get so bad. Why we can't sustain our achievements. It's usually something from our past, something someone did to us, the 'I can't because I don't have it as easy as others' story, and so on.

Looking for my own Fear Story to test his ideas I was surprised to realise I have no fear of failure. What I do have is a fear of responsibility. The kind that comes from success. I knew this had derailed me in the past. My Fear Story is based on my gender. Being a woman is so hard, a mothers role is relentless, I was given a brain that needs stimulation, my innate drive and yearning to make a difference doesn't fit with being a good mother, society encouraged me to succeed in a career but didn't show me how to sustain that or balance that with being a brilliant mum. Now I've named it, I can own it and do something about it. Essentially I always knew I could get wherever I wanted but what I was fearful of was whether I had it in me to stay there, was I good enough to handle the responsibility over the longer term.

Rather than shy away from underperformance perhaps it’s time to embrace it as a great way to uncover the intricacies of human behaviour and thinking, something we all share is fear. An esteemed colleague who I feel much affection for described my professional yearnings as going to the 'dark and dirty places' we all get some times and where no-one else wants to go with clients. I enjoy going to these places with people, being part of the pointy end in life. This is where the gold is. The opportunity for growth, for satisfaction and for depth and meaning. This is where the truth to our own individual fulfilment leaves its clues.

Michelle Homa
Executive Coach & Director
Coach & Co Pty Ltd

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