By December 13, 2009 6 Comments Read More →

Follow The Three Laws of Performance

First Class Consultant
by wwarby

How do I quickly improve performance at work and in my life?

In the book The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan outline three simple laws of performance you need to follow to get instant results.

It is about how the situations occur to you and what language you use to reflect on the situation. The promise of the three laws of performance is rewriting your default future. I tried it – it works for me.

The First Law of performance

Zaffron and Logan write:

The First Law of Performance: How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them.

In other words, to start perform better you need to read the situation the way it encourages better performance. Do you see a problem or a challenge? Do you see the world through negative or through positive lens? Do you feel screwed or stretched? Do you feel exhausted or accomplished? This is what helps me when approaching a situation at hand – be it at work or in my personal life. I decide how the situation occurs to me. If I can positively reflect on the situation I am motivated and I am all set for high performance. I am all set to providing first class service to my customers. If not – I drain my energy and usually achieve nothing or very little.

“We don’t see the things the way they are. We see things the way WE are.” – Talmud

The Second Law of Performance

Zaffron and Logan write:

The Second Law of Performance: How a situation occurs arises in language.

Here is a little story.  I was consulting to a project with few distributed teams. One team lead was flaming the other guy for not getting things done on time and on spec. On contrary, the other guy was calm, he was reflecting on the situation trying to spot the high priority issues and asking for help on how to resolve it. Obviously, the same situation occurred differently to both fellows. As a result each team performed quite differently – can you guess who’s performance was better?

The Third Law of Performance

Zaffron and Logan write:

The Third Law of Performance: Future-based language transforms how situation occur to people.

Let me test you. When shit hits the fan, what’s your reaction? “Who did that?”, “Why have you done that?”, “I know who did it.”, “We are lost!”, “We are never gonna get out of it.” Notice that all of these are focused on past or a person. It is self destroying. A better way to admit the situation and think about how to get out of it. I observe way too many people dwelling on the past, presenting themselves victims of the circumstances. Here is what I say to myself:

  • Admit the situation – It happened. It is in the past. I cannot control the past.
  • Who’s in control? – I can influence the future. At least I can try my best.
  • What’s next? – what I can do to make the situation better? What can I do to make sure it never happens again?

Have you noticed the focus shifted to the future situation?

“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Practice This – Get Results

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This blog is dedicated to share simple practices I that get me results.

6 Comments on "Follow The Three Laws of Performance"

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  1. I see something shared by all of these situations: The frame of reference. Once we recognize that we can re-frame unproductive perspectives, we can indeed change our lives & our organizations.

    There are two steps: Becoming aware of pathological thought patterns (stinkin’ thinkin’), then training ourselves to look at situations more productively.

    I note one of your related posts–the consultant who learns to spin situations positively yet honestly epitomizes this process.

    Thanks for sharing, Alik.

  2. alik levin says:

    Thank you! Good focus – being optimistic. One of the recent JD’s posts are about learned optimism. He calls out that optimism is a skill that can be learned. When you optimistic you shift focus to a future state, a better state thus perform more productively.
    I loved your distillation.

  3. I actually just finished Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
    I’m going to outline it this week. It’s powerful stuff!

  4. alik levin says:

    Looking forward to reading your outline of the book!

  5. J.D. Meier says:

    Interestingly this echoes key concepts in NLP. How you communicate to yourself and others about the situation makes a huge difference in how you respond.

  6. alik levin says:

    Say, all roads lead to NLP, :)

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