Three Laws of Performance

I haven’t read this book but I am going to. I have read a bunch of articles on it at the book’s website:

I often go to the business section for ideas about how to help people with change, rather than self-help or psychology. I have summarized some of the points that stood out for me below.

1)  What’s the truth about where we are going? This is our default future, and as the Chinese proverb says, “if we don’t change the direction we are headed, we’re likely to end up where we’re headed.” Answering this question  requires a lot of listening and inviting people to talk about things they generally don’t talk about much. It is something people experience at a gut level and it really drives their behavior though. It includes assumptions, expectations, resignations, cynicism. It is different for everyone so everyone needs to be heard.

2) Do you want to go there?   “there” being your default future

3)  What kind of future would you be willing to commit to?

What do we need to deal with within ourselves or ‘get out of the way’ so we can start to see the situation in a new way?

This generally involves separating the facts of a situation from our interpretations of those facts. Those facts, cleared of interpretations, will reveal an always present ‘field of possibility’ with facts acting ‘dots’.  We may be able to see them without all the clutter, and we may be able to make some new connections. We may discover what we really want to do.

It starts with really listening to folks, how they see things occuring, how they talk about those occurences, and how the use of future- oriented language can transform those situations to people.

Rather than describing the past or present – future-oriented language makes :

1) declarations

2) commitments

3) promises

4) requests.  (I would add that this can only be done effectively if people really know they can say no to requests. This opens up more conversation about assumptions, beliefs, etc. that to that point has been unsaid.)

The key is to start the conversations about what is often unsaid but permeates everything we do and heads us to our default future. Lay it all out there and get to work on clearing out the field, unless the default future looks good enough to you. Be careful not to assume you see your default future without this very honest self-examination. People usually gloss it over with hopes and expectations and deny they are even headed toward it.

This work is not easy. Not a quick fix – actually  quite outside the realm of ‘fixing’ things.


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