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The Performance Breakthrough Zone — A Path to Excellence for Leaders and Their Teams

By Dr. Geri Markel On performance-breakthroughs

Mission critical: increase team performance!

These considerations may sound familiar:

“Things are changing faster than ever. I’m overwhelmed and need a way to kick-start a new project.”

“How can I develop the mindset to involve and motivate my team?”

“I need a quick review of the whole and different relationships so I can communicate to my team with clarity and purpose.”

Many leaders voice such concerns as they are required to constantly stay ahead. They need to define and redefine program excellence and its pursuit.

The concept of a performance breakthrough zone sets the stage for vision, creativity, and the pursuit of excellence for self and others.

What is a performance breakthrough zone and how can it be developed?

A performance breakthrough is an accomplishment, an achievement, or some progress that is beyond the realm of expectation. It visibly—and perhaps dramatically—changes the way an individual or group behaves.

A performance breakthrough may involve breaking down communication barriers, breaking away from negative thinking, or breaking through to creative thinking.

How do you find the zone?

In part it means asking the right questions:

Question #1: What is stopping you and those you lead from feeling enthusiastic and doing what is necessary to produce accomplishments or make progress?

Question #2: Does your current mindset seek to fulfill corporate growth and customer needs, while also anticipating and delivering on future needs?

In addition, to establish a performance breakthrough zone, you need to analyze and align three components:

  • You and those you lead
  • The required tasks and desired results to be achieved
  • The setting or culture in which you operate.

When you create a performance breakthrough zone, you have analyzed the critical aspects of performance, and have brought all parts together to meet standards of excellence in a way that uses everyone’s potential.

There are 5 basic steps that reflect decades of research on learning, performance and change:

Step 1: Assess: Where am I, my staff or organization now?
You discover current strengths, leadership or decision-making styles, vulnerabilities or gaps, and challenges. This may include interviews, paper and pencil surveys, and interpretation of 360 degree survey results.

Step 2: Set Goals: What are the intentions?
You identify competing demands and consequences; specify reality-based goals, including
priorities, schedules, action plans and possible pitfalls.

Step 3: Take Action: How do I move from intention to action?
You put systems in place to manage your responsibilities and reduce distractions and other
barriers. You master immediately applicable strategies to enhance processes and productivity
and take step-by-step actions specifically suited to your goals, strengths, style, and interests.

Step 4: Monitor: How do I keep track?
You develop checklists and job aids to monitor and continuously improve your performance
and productivity. This helps you maintain focus and motivation as well as spur creativity.

Step 5: Reflect: Where do I go from here?
You have established the conditions and consequences to foster performance breakthroughs. You have realized benefits including greater productivity, creativity, profitability—
and life satisfaction. You and your staffs have the time and energy to be vigilant and engage in creative problem-solving. You can be proactive and confront evolving uncertainties and unremitting change.

What will it take for you to achieve results like these?

Reading and following the steps above can help you move toward performance breakthroughs. Using an external consultant or coach can also be a great help in jump-starting and successfully executing the breakthrough process.

Remember, anyone can set the stage for a breakthrough. It requires breaking out of old habits that interfere with vision and creative thought—and breaking down barriers to change. You will then reap the rewards of greater productivity, creativity, profitability and life satisfaction.

If you would like more information on the performance breakthrough zone or on coaching to achieve results, please check out more information on leadership development and leadership coaching.


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