The Rules

Inspired by the fabulous Velominati we’ve annointed ourselves as the Performerati, the keepers of the human performance rules.

These are the rules.

You can choose to respect, uphold, share, nurture and protect the rules and become part of a small band of people who choose to pursue excellence in performance.

The alternative is to pursue mediocrity. As ever, performance is a choice.

Rule #1

It never gets easier, you just perform better.

You have a duty to be dissatisfied with the status quo, however good you are already.

Always look for areas of improvement, unless you consider yourself to be the finished article, in which case, see Rule 20.

Rule #2

Love the one you’re with.

Some choose to become experts at describing the conditions and how tough and unfair they are. It’s an interesting expertise though not a particularly useful one.

Great performers love, embrace and exploit the conditions they’re in, whatever they are, because they’d rather control the situation, rather than have it control them.

Rule #3

There is a correct answer.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question (though some get pretty close) but there are some really stupid answers.

Bloke down the pub conversations don’t count as evidence however many quizzes you’ve won. Decades of research is far more trustworthy.

Everyone’s got an opinion on human performance and motivation. A few of those people actually know what they’re talking about.

Rule #4

Be boring.

Be great at the basics – raft building, walking over hot coals or breaking arrows has nothing to do with performance. It may be entertaining but if it’s entertainment you’re after, go to the cinema.

Get great at the basics of doing your job, making sure your technical and tactical skills are superb and relevant.

Then get great at the other basics – your mentality, your energy levels, your support team and your environment.

Rule #5

Talent is overrated, hard work isn’t.

Everyone has talent, but what you do with it and how you grow it is what makes a difference. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Relying on your strengths is lazy. Knowing them, valuing them, strengthening them and leading with them is the high performance approach to strengths.

Rule #6

You’re on a talent development programme.

Whether you like it or not. If you’ve not been lucky enough to be invited onto a formal programme, then put one together yourself.

If you’re not invited because you have nothing to offer then see Rule 20.

Rule #7

Don’t motivate people.

Motivating people is a waste of time and space.

Instead, help everyone remember why they’re doing what they’re doing, why they should be confident and to focus on the things they can control.

Rule #8

It may not be your fault though you are responsible.

Like it or not, you’re responsible for your attitude, motivation, development, diet, exercise and ultimately, performance.

If someone else is responsible for these things on your behalf, then do something about it, or see Rule 20.

Rule #9

If you have the word leader in your title then you’re doubly responsible.

Leadership is a behaviour not a title. You lead through your attitude, your choices, your responses and your body language.

Your own feelings are secondary to those you lead.

If it seems hard then see Rules 20 and 21.

Rule #10

If you’re going to have party food at your meetings, then invite Coco the clown.

Chocolate biscuits, jelly babies, cake – why not give them a party bag too?

Have you seen kids at a birthday party? Is that how you want to fuel something that’s costing your business a fortune? Really?

Rule #11

HR’s job is to lead on making people perform better, not be happier.

If you want to just make people happier and make sure they’re having fun then fill your boots and enjoy being overtaken by other organisations that are full of people who have a different sort of happiness – the happiness that comes from getting better, not from bringing your dog to work day or going to the company BBQ.

Rule #12

Being obsessed with measuring everything is a waste of time.

If you didn’t measure it any more, would you miss it?

You’ve got better things to do than measuring stuff that doesn’t help you perform better.

Rule #13

Teams in search of a purpose are strictly forbidden.

If you’re on a team and you’re not sure what the team purpose is, then sort it out now, or stop calling it a team.

Teams in search of a purpose are a waste of space, oxygen and shareholder funds.

Rule #14

Relentless positivity is silly and annoying.

It may work for you and that’s fine. Negative thinking may work for others and that’s fine too. The only thing that matters is whether your thinking drives helpful action and performance.

Do you really want the person who maintains the next aircraft you fly on to be a relentlessly positive thinker?

Rule #15

Everyone has a Performance Improvement Plan.

If you do a job then getting better at it is a non-negotiable part of your role. Waiting for performance to become rubbish before you get a Performance Improvement Plan makes no sense.

If you don’t have a Performance Improvement Plan, the see Rule #20.

Rule #16

Sticks are for dogs to chase.

Not to hit people with. Goals are only to be used to increase motivation and performance.

Rule #17

Performance is performance. Results are not.

Performance is about doing the things you need to do in order to get the things you want.

If you want results, then you need to know how to perform. Wanting results is like thinking that the best way to get hold of cake is to talk about cake. You’re probably better off going to the shops.

Rule #18

Indicators are not targets.

The clue is in the name. Indicators indicate things – they point out where you are or where you’re heading. The fuel gauge in your car is an indicator (and clearly so are the indicators).

The place you’re travelling to is the target. If you want key result targets then you are to call them KRTs. Otherwise KPIs are KPIs.

Rule #19

Be a boy scout.

Be prepared. Great performance means you need to be constantly ready to perform in all conditions.

Know what you need to be ready for, what you need to do to be ready and then practice it.

Starting now.

Rule #20

Your job is to uphold the rules or fire yourself.

If you can’t or won’t then see Rule #21.

Starting now.

Rule #21

H is for Human…

Let's get serious

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