“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?”
Thanks for being in communication. Let me address your first question right away: You don’t. Breakdowns happen. If you’re running a business with the standard and expectation of 100% high performance all the time, you are setting yourself up for frustration and upset. Can a team be reliable for extraordinary performance more often than not? Yes. Can you create a system that effectively predicts impending breakdowns such that you’re not repeatedly blindsided, leaving that experience of being in “crisis”? Yes.
But as far as counting on or expecting all good all the time, I’d recommend against it. In this respect (and many others), business is like life; there are going to “problems”. So far as I can tell, the only place to be to avoid having problems is six-feet under. No more problems then! All handled. Same in business: being an entrepreneur is risky. Life is risky and business is risky. Period. The question is not one of getting rid of problems, but choosing which problems we will dedicate ourselves to. And don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from! It’s your life, your business, your choice.
If you really look, you may find the operating premise “I should always get what I want, when I want it” running in the background- not even as an actual thought necessarily, but as a place that your thoughts, emotions and behavior come from. It’s a context: the world shows up inside it, and we operate from it- without even seeing that it’s there. It seems to be there for all of us, from VERY early on in life, and still has that infantile quality to it. Just picture yourself when something doesn’t go how you want it to go. Whether it’s getting stuck at a traffic light, or a major sale falling apart at the last moment, look at the reaction: frustration, sadness, anger, maybe even a tantrum? Why? Because obviously everything should go how you want it, when you want it to!
Unfortunately, life doesn’t go how we want it to go. Life is how life is, right now, no more, no less. Same goes for your life, and your business.
The key (and what a lot of our work is about) is to develop the ability to be with life as it actually is. Life is how life is, yes? Be with it, accept it, choose it, embrace it. From that acceptance, you may find the freedom to see some new action you didn’t before, and possibly create something such that that particular problem doesn’t arise again. If, however, problems disempower you and you go on resisting them, you are likely just to suffer and be stuck with whatever that problem is. What you resist, persists.
Free yourself. Choose what actually is, as it is, and work from there. And in the larger view, do some real thinking to choose what problems to make your life (and business) about.
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