Do you know what your work habits, rituals and day to day choices imply for you ability to achieve sustainable high performance?

Do you think about performance as a capacity to perform, a capacity that you need to create, manage and protect?

What is capacity?

Capacity is defined as the maximum something can produce or contain.

The term capacity implies quantity or volume, it refers to the quantity or volume of ability or capability you have to perform.

Sustainable high performance is defined as having ample and resilient capacity to do, think, relate and remain purposeful and self directed.

Resilient because resilience is a measure of your capacity to experience, withstand and respond to work’s expected and unexpected events.

Ample because ample implies a need to maintain a consistent and sustainable level of capacity to perform despite changing demands in your work environment.

Four aspects of capacity

There are four aspects of capacity; physical, thinking, relating and purpose.

  1. Physical capacity for doing, the energy you need to get through each day.
  2. Thinking capacity for day to day decision making.
  3. Relating capacity for engaging, motivating and inspiring yourself and others.
  4. Purpose capacity, for anchoring to the why you do what you do.

The capacity equation of sustainable high performance is a blend of the knowledge, empowerment, engagement and inspiration. It is what enables and drives your focus, energy, productivity and capability.

The benefits

Improving physical capacity provides more consistent and sustainable energy, protection against risk of energy highs followed by sapping energy lows.

Improving thinking capacity promotes improved concentration, better memory, the ability to better access rational/logical thinking for decision making.

Improving relating capacity provides a foundation for better regulating emotions, reducing risk of impatience, frustration, anxiousness and overwhelm.

Improving purpose capacity enables you to stay anchored to the big picture, align what you say and do, align effort with what is important and to remain focused and solutions focused.

What drives your performance?

To understand what enables and drives your performance you need to understand the relationship between your work habits, rituals and choices and the quality of your performance.

Your work habits, choices and rituals will enable you to build capacity, to use it and replenish it or in the worst-case scenario not sufficiently build it or embed habits, choices and rituals that will negatively impact it.

Ask yourself two questions:

  1. What do my  work habits, rituals and choices imply for the quality and sustainability of my performance.
  2. How different do work habits, rituals and choices enable different levels of quality and sustainability of my capacity and hence my performance.

An example: Thinking Capacity

You begin each day with your decision-making capacity at maximum. As you progress through your day the mental and thinking work of each decision draws down upon your decision-making capacity.  You make a withdrawal from your decision-making capacity.

At some point in the day you will reach a tipping point, where your capacity to make decisions has reduced to a point where the quality of your decision-making is at risk. Where your analytical, logical and rational thinking ability is reduced and/or you ability to make trade-offs is reduced.  It is called decision making fatigue.

Decision fatigue describes how the quality of your decision making progressively deteriorates as the demands of decision-making take their mental toll over time, particularly in busy and demanding work environments.

How do you combat this? You underpin your decision making with choices, habits and rituals that will help create, manage and protect your thinking capacity.

It may be as simple as ensuring all significant decisions are made in the morning. It may that you embed the process of options analysis or use process and tools to facilitate constructive dissent and debate for important and significant decisions.

What is important is to understand what decision fatigue implies for your ability to create, manage and protect the quality of your capacity for decision-making.  And to identify strategies to combat this.

In summary:

  1. Sustainable high performance is enabled by your capacity to think, do, relate and be self-directed and purposeful.
  2. The work choices, habits and rituals you adopt will enable you to create, manage and protect your capacity or not.
  3. Sustainable high performance is best defined as having ample and resilient capacity to do, think, relate and remain purposeful and self directed.