“The game we are playing in my business is creating powerful performance. I keep finding myself dealing with crisis and breakthrough at the same time; it seems that some aspect of our infrastructure or culture or both limits our capacity for consistent performance. How do we make the switch to being high performing always?”
Well, in short, the answer is: You don’t. There is an old adage that goes, “there is one way to stop having problems in life – die.” And dramatic though this is, it does point to an understanding of life that is valuable and carries over well to business. Problems do not end, we just get new ones. True mastery is in being able to choose your problems.
In business, we tend to produce the results that we manage for. In our experience, the greatest volatility comes from the combination of striving for high performance and managing for consistency. It is a little like taking on the project of building a marvelous house but only measuring the foundation. Consistency will only take you so far and no farther. Instead, it is wise to notice where your breakdowns (crises) occur.
Are they persistent; meaning the same type of breakdown happening repeatedly (we call this a chronic breakdown)? Or are the breakdowns new each time? If the breakdowns are in new territory each time, congratulations – you are stretching the limits of your company, and the breakdowns are a sign that you are expanding into new territory.