Progress is the result of challenge plus honest reflection

It’s all about having the right Feedback Loops in place that improve rather than hinder performance.

If you haven’t heard of Ray Dalio, type his name into your favourite search engine and discover for yourself. He is a wildly successful guy who in 2017 wrote a book about his Principles of success. He’s certainly a guy worth listening to.

Before I get into the highlights that stuck out for me, I want to draw attention to another really successful bloke, Jeff Bezos. In an article, he was quoted as saying that people are always asking for his opinions about what will change in the next 10 years. Given that Amazon has become one of the biggest companies in the world, many would assume that he has a gift for predicting trends. However, he suggested that this is in fact the wrong question. The more important question is what will remain the same in the next 10 years because, whilst it is difficult to predict the future, you can most certainly build a business around things that won’t change. He knew that customers would always want low prices, options to choose from, and easy delivery options. I have to say, this is one of those priceless gems that will forever remain with me.

With that in mind, let’s get back to Ray Dalio.

Progress = Pain + Reflection

This is the central theme of the book ‘Principles’. There is much to like about this in that there is an admission that pain is a necessary part of progress. Like all things, pain is one of those goldi-locks concepts where too much or too little are problematic. We refer to it as the challenge zone that requires constant attention and feedback to maintain.

The second component of progress is reflection, and more specifically honest self-reflection. The fastest way to make progress is when a person is self-observing and self-analysing their own performance and adopting a healthy approach to self-adjustment. Sure, managers and coaches and advisors are important to help point out areas that might require attention, but like the great man Yoda once said, do or do not, there is no try. We learn best through direct experience. We create our own experience!

If we are indeed the sum total of the choices we make (which we are), reflecting honestly whilst trying to keep ourselves in the challenge zone helps us to improve significantly faster than merely talking about it.

How does all of this link back to My Employee Life?

Think of My Employee Life as a simple tool that supports a performance drumbeat. Once clear goals are in place, and high-leverage actions and behaviours have been identified, the only way to get things done is to get things done. By keeping a weekly work log (reflection) about how things went, what didn’t go so well (pain), and what needs doing and adjusting (challenge zone), progress is made. Remember, its your employee life. By taking responsibility for your own performance, setting appropriate goals, and viewing the pain of failure as ‘on the way’ rather than ‘in the way’, you will progress way further way quicker.

One last tip though, an important part of our performance drumbeat process is to also reflect on what doesn’t need doing, in other words, what can be removed or discarded. There is no point taking extra baggage into the future if it isn’t required. Mistakes are just learning opportunities, and failure is just success in disguise.

To know more click here to request a free demo of My Employee Life today.