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Peak Performance ... Part 2!

  • Posted by Denise Lones
  • January 27, 2012 10:21:25 AM MST
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Peak performers are those individuals who have developed and leveraged their skill sets in order to achieve the maximum potential results in their area of expertise. Peak performers are found in all socio-economic classes, all over the world. Neither race, nor gender, nor sexual orientation is a barrier to peak performance.

Link to Part One

Last week I spoke about the concept of peak performance, and some of the attributes that define peak performers.  Today I want to continue that discussion.

Remember, peak performers are those individuals who have developed and leveraged their skill sets in order to achieve the maximum potential results in their area of expertise.   Peak performers are found in all socio-economic classes, all over the world.  Neither race, nor gender, nor sexual orientation is a barrier to peak performance.

You might also remember from my last post that I firmly believe that peak performers are not born … they are created.  Yes, a natural gift or aptitude is extraordinarily helpful in achieving peak performance.  But peak performance is a set of learned skills and behaviors. 

I believe that there are three areas of focus for peak performers:

  1. Attitude and mindset
  2. Action and implementation
  3. Systems and tools

In my last post, I discussed attitude and mindset, and I talked about the 14 predictors of peak performance in that category.

Today I want to talk about the second category – action and implementation.   With a strong framework of positive mindset and attitude in place, the peak performer is then free to move toward action and implementation.  One-third of the 27 predictors I’ve identified for peak performance are contained within this category, and they all impact one’s ability to move into the peak performance zone.

When it comes to action and implementation, peak performers:

  1. Develop action items that support goals
  2. Take action
  3. Take risks
  4. Get things done
  5. Get help when appropriate
  6. Leverage effectively
  7. Measure their results
  8. Seek feedback
  9. Adapt as needed

Let’s take a closer look at each of these predictors.

Peak performers develop action items that support their goals.  Peak performers don’t simply visualize the goal, although that is an important part of the process.  Instead, the peak performer develops a series of steps that lead to achievement of the goal.  The peak performing musician doesn’t decide they will win the Van Cliburn prize and hope that everything comes together during the competition; that musician instead breaks down the necessary mastery of multiple pieces of music … and those pieces of music require mastery of multiple pages … which require mastery of multiple staffs of music … which require mastery of multiple techniques.

Taking action on developed strategies and action items is one of the hallmarks of the peak performer.  Many individuals are able to think up plans; fewer actually execute them successfully.

Peak performers take risks.   They are not afraid to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone in the pursuit of performance.

It’s important to note that peak performers don’t simply initiate action – they complete the action, often many times over, until a task is accomplished or a goal is reached.  Peak performers get things done.  Sometimes the task is more challenging than imagined, but that doesn’t stop the peak performer.  Provided the task or action remains relevant to the end goal, the peak performer accomplishes their action items.

Getting help when appropriate is another hallmark of the peak performer.  Keenly self-aware, the peak performer understands the need for outside assistance and expert authorities to save time, save energy, and maximize results.  Rather than seeing this as a sign of weakness, the peak performer understands the value of someone else’s expertise to help them achieve their goals.

Because peak performers are skilled at leverage, a peak performer’s efforts are multiplied or enhanced without a corresponding increase in resources – whether that is time, energy, money, or relationships.   Leverage ensures the highest possible return from all efforts that are expended.

Measuring their results is important to peak performers, who constantly and closely monitor the results of their efforts on a number of measures.  Those results allow peak performers to adapt their strategies and behaviors for maximum results.

The peak performer also actively seeks continual and regular feedback (both objective and subjective), without which he or she is unable to make necessary adjustments to performance.

Finally, the peak performer is highly flexible, and is able to adapt if performance is not meeting desired standards or if the circumstances of the challenge have changed.  Whether this requires a shift in vision, in energy, in plan, or in purpose, the peak performer adapts as needed.

How do your action and implementation skills match up against those I’ve identified for peak performers?

Next week I’ll be talking about the final set of predictors for peak performance – systems and tools!

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