The Three Laws of Performance – Steve Zaffron, Dave Logan
How do companies—in different countries and industries—all achieve breakthrough performance when the odds are stacked against them? The answer: By applying The Three Laws of Performance and thereby re-writing their futures.
The authors crack the code on rewriting the future for people and organizations, elevating performance to unprecedented levels.
Subscribe to Miniwise Newsletter (Free!)
Miniwise newsletter brings you one great bite-sized idea every day, curated from world's best non-fiction books, articles, podcasts..and more. An entire new world in just 5 minutes!
How We Normally Solve Problems
We tend to solve problems by breaking them down, prioritizing the issues, and tackling them one by one. Such piecemeal fixes only address the symptoms, not the underlying causes that perpetuate the problem. In fact, the solution to one problem often creates other problems. For example, to improve our financial performance, we cut budgets.
Breaking Free From The Vicious Circle
People start to feel frustrated and demoralized; productivity drops and performance worsens. The way to break free from this vicious cycle is to adopt a system-wide perspective and change the context in which your actions are being taken.
The Three Laws Of Performance: Law 1
Our perceptions shape our performance. How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them. Your actions will perfectly match the way you see a situation. The facts don’t matter as much as our subjective interpretation of those facts.
This law explains why people behave the way they do and sets the foundation for the other 2 laws.
How a situation “occurs” to you depends on:
How you interpret the past, or why you believe things are the way they are now; and
What you expect in the future, or the outcomes you expect from your current actions.
What you resist will persist
Any change initiatives to address the problem backfires because the perception of the people stays the same.
The first step toward transformation is to acknowledge your reality illusion, i.e. realize that you’re not seeing things as they are, but simply as they appear to you.
The Three Laws Of Performance: Law 2
Our language shapes our perception.
How a situation occurs, arises in language. Most people don’t realize the profound impact of our language on our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Language is much more than our spoken/written words. It also includes our body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, and other forms of self-expression.
Altering Our Language
What’s “unsaid but communicated” tends to have a much bigger impact on our performance than our spoken words. Our unspoken assumptions, fears, doubts, hopes, expectations, regrets, etc. affect what we consider to be possible, important, relevant, or appropriate.
To change your future, you must first change your language.
The Three Laws Of Performance: Law 3
Future-based language transforms how situations occur to people.
People who are unwilling to change their views will have a negative outlook on life, as they expect things to stay the same.
Describing Through Language
- Descriptive language describes past events, issues, data etc. It’s useful for looking backwards to spot trends or to analyze what happened.
- Future-based language (or generative language) can be used to craft a totally new vision that replaces the default future.
You can’t paint a new future if your canvas is already full. You need to create space and ideally start on a blank page.
Fundamental organizational change
Many executives suffer from lagging sales, declining employee morale, and other problems. These issues often arise because they don’t know how to fix them. They just try some things out, but those solutions only work for a while before another problem arises.
Change your company’s dynamics
To truly change your company’s dynamics, apply the Three Laws of Performance:
- Don’t blame employees or products;
- Focus on goals rather than methods;
- Think in terms of systems instead of events.