We play to the level we are challenged
There have been countless times that we have watched as a superior sports team (at any level – amateur to professional) lose to a team of lesser talent or battle it out to barely scrape by with a victory. Ever heard the saying, “we play to the level we are challenged”? The saying exists because there is a lot of truth to it.
Individuals are responsible for their own performance, however, as a leader or manager the performance of the team is ultimately ours. It is up to a manager to challenge their team sufficiently, and if the leader has failed to challenge the team sufficiently – performance will be anything but high performing. If we fail to create opportunities to challenge for extended periods, passivity can and will set in. Inertia becomes the greatest challenge to getting things done.
To be a high performance team, the team must be challenged to perform at a high performance level. In one of our programs, one of the activities is a “Board Meeting”, an exercise involving instruction of a technique in which the participants are taught to break a board with their hand. The moment the participant’s hand bursts through the board and their their colleagues are heard cheering and supporting them – there are hardly words to describe the feeling of accomplishment. And then it happens – they begin asking yourself, “if I could do this, what else is possible?”. You have just elevated your performance expectations.
As an organization offering this type of training, we know from experience that the participant is capable of breaking the board. We expect a greater level of performance and repeatedly – we get it. It the leader’s responsibilty to do the same.
The board breaking activity or similar type of activities help us redefine our potential. Whether that opportunity arrives in the guise of the “Board Meeting” or some other challenge that we as leaders create. A task that we might have thought impossible, but now with our help as the leader, and encouragement we can begin setting and achieving new levels of performance.
Raise the level of expectation, and you will raise the level of one’s results.
About the author: Charlie Selcer has provided organizations with employee training and development through Strictly Success Inc. for over 15 years. Strictly Success is a U.S. based employee training company for both the public and private sectors including some of America’s Fortune 1000 companies. Strictly Success specializes in high performance teams and teambuilding, employee motivation, employee accountability and change management.
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