Paradoxes of Performing…

in pressure situations.

Often the success of delivering when facing challenging conditions can be influenced greatly by being able to hold two paradoxical beliefs at the same time.

For example, in Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces the Stockdale Paradox, in which he outlines the importance of being able to “confront the brutal reality of the situation you’re in, while never losing faith that you’ll triumph in the end. We refer to this as Stark-Optimism, and it’s an essential quality to work on at any time, but particularly when you’re going into threatening unknown territory (after all, it’s named after a man who derived the idea whilst in a prisoner of war camp!).

Another good example of the paradoxical thinking you require is the need for Robust Agility – how good are you at maxing out your strengths and leveraging every ounce of performance from them, while focusing on developing new, essential talents for the demands of the challenge you’re facing. Simply being Agile isn’t enough and simply hoping you’re strengths will see you through will limit your effectiveness. You’ve gotta strive to be great at both.

What would using those paradoxes do for your performance?