Both in individual and team performance contexts having great potential is one thing, while reaching peak performance is an entirely different challenge. As a proof of that potential, some people actually enter into high performance zones.
But in most cases, this often happens spontaneously by luck. Interestingly, reaching that peak is the hallmark of all high performers in any field. However, the question that pre-occupies many peoples’ mind is how to sustain peak performance at work?
This fact holds true whether you an individual contributor in a team or team leader. While everyone understands the long term benefits, not everyone knows how to sustain that peak level over a long period of time. So below these lines are some proven practical tips on how to do just that.
But just what exactly is peak performance?
It is a state in which a person performs at a maximized level of skill, immersion and concentration leading to exceptional output or achievement. In such states, both skill and experience becomes a match for the challenge at hand. In the other hand, this can also be looked as beating your past record or pushing your limits.
Nevertheless, the challenge is how to reach, stay and perform in that state as constantly as possible. Now here are the things you can do to experience a sustained level of peak performance.
Break Your Past Record
Yes, do it. But first, do you know what your past record is?
Assuming you don’t have specific number for tracking your personal or team performance, this is where you need to start. Breaking your past record requires that you identify what your past performance record is. As an employee or team leader, you really need to understand concrete numbers in this regard. And that will give you the basis for setting higher performance goals.
Remember that the challenge is to exit the crowd of people who reach peak performance by accident and join the league of high performers by way of intentional effort. And here is one fact I want you to remember now.
‘’We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not an act, but a habit’’ – Aristotle.
Set Measurable Goals
Practically, peak performance doesn’t have to be a hit or miss kind of gamble. First is reaching that state. Then second task is staying there long enough to deliver exceptional output or achievement. In this case, setting measurable goals will help you to sustain the habit of having direction and making intentional effort towards the target performance level.
As I have learned from Bryan Tracy, one interesting thing about setting specific goal is that it stays static or fixed. But the ability to achieve same can be improved over time as you continue to learn from experience and other sources. Assuming you are a team leader or CEO, you may want to leverage an employee management technology suite to get the best results from your workforce.
Based on the theory of constraints popularized in a book titles The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, successful achievement of organizational goals is often hindered by known and unknown constraints. So in order to reach and sustain peak performance at work, you really need review and feedback system for identifying and eliminating constraints as constantly as possible.
Using such systems will set the foundation for maximum use of existing potential. Some of the areas to look into include technical, financial, cultural or human resource constraints. Surprisingly, eliminating constraints may even unfold a higher level of performance that wouldn’t have been possible if otherwise.
Enter The Flow Zone
When we are in a flow state work happens without conscious exertion of energy. In that state, work also feels really great and more enjoyable. This is based on a research conducted at the University of Chicago. But the real challenge for many people has been how to enter that peak performance zone as constantly as possible. Possibly, knowing this will help you sustain peak performance at work.
Some of the things that have been proven to lead people into a constant flow state is finding and doing what you love. Now just pause for a while and think about the opposite. For many people, good work simply means doing only the things they love. According to many experts, this type of work fills you with purpose, passion and energy instead of draining you out.
Finding what you love may also mean you don’t have to work again for the rest of your life as opined by Steve Jobs. Another interesting way to enter the flow state is to find work that engages the most valuable skill set you have. Do this with immersive concentration and the work could become both routine and reward at the same time.
Show up, everyday. That’s the single most important thing you can do for your career. It is so simple but powerful when I read these words on Seth Godin’s blog.
And his book, The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy also said that not even skill or talent can beat consistency. And the interesting thing is that majority of people in your field will always take the opposite of consistency either consciously or otherwise.
The other interesting thing is that being consistent will continue to maximize your potential for peak performance. As you continue to learn and apply the new lessons learned from experience at work, the ability to perform at your peak will stay longer than normal on the upward side of the scale.
Above everything else, remember that sustaining peak performance at work doesn’t have to be a hit or miss gamble. Know your numbers and plot out the strategies for compounding improvements. Set measurable goals and get to work. This will give you direction, clarity and progressive routines.
Embrace momentum to stay in the flow state longer than your peers or the last time you did. Then track your performance numbers and continue to beat your present record.
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