High performance: attain it quickly, sustain it confidently

By William Seidman Here’s more from Robert Morris’s interview with me. In this section we discuss my book and just why high performance is so important today. Morris: Now please focus on Strategy in Action in 10 Days, co-authored with Mike McCauley. For those who have not as yet read it, you explain why high performance is no longer a competitive advantage, it is a necessity. I agree. Based on your own experience with Cerebyte as well as on what you have observed in other companies, how can it be achieved in only ten days? Seidman: We didn’t think it could happen that fast until a client actually did a significant transformation in only 6 days. We added 4 more days as buffer, because no one would believe us anyway! It only takes 3 days in our Wisdom Discovery workshop working with 6-8 positive deviants to create any best practice, even in areas that are new and uncertain. It takes another 2-3 days to make the content production ready and load it into the persuasive technology. It takes another day to train the “coaches” to support the learning process, and the next day, the best practices can be deployed. Because of the way the combination of positive deviant wisdom, coaching and persuasive technology work, there is typically an attitudinal change in a matter of minutes and substantive change in just a few days. If the change is big and complex, it may take several months for it to be completely implemented, but visible movement happens almost immediately. Morris: Here’s a follow-up question. Once high performance has been achieved, how to sustain it? Seidman: Sustainability is one of the biggest problems with any change initiative. Fortunately, recent advances in the neuroscience of learning tell us how to sustain a change, and we have engineered this into our process and technology. In simple terms, to sustain a change, an individual and an organization must practice the new capabilities long enough and intensely enough for it to be internalized both at the level of neural function for each person and business processes in the organization. There is a little bit of an art form to getting the practice right though. It requires both mental and application exercises that typically take about 15-30 minutes per day to complete; the exercises need to continue for about 10 weeks. There is a barrier at six weeks when the new capabilities have emerged enough to be disruptive but the old ones are still present, creating a conflict. This barrier goes away with more practice. Once people reach the 10-week mark, the change is usually sustainable, though they may have to practice additional skills to reach the complete desired outcome.]]>

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