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Shaping Success: The Power of Perception in Performance

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

SUMMARY: When something at work isn't going smoothly, managers struggle with what part of the problem to tackle first. Do they start with cost reduction? Or should they go for process improvements first? The authors—who have helped hundreds of companies and individuals change and improve—say spend time and money adjusting the systems in which people operate, rather than targeting people and their performance directly. The authors show that it's in fact possible to change everything at once—with a focus on making such transformations permanent and repeatable.

 

I finished reading this book on September 30, 2019, and recommend it to those that want to reframe how they lead.

The Three Laws of Performance
The Three Laws of Performance

Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan authored the book "The Three Laws of Performance," or as I would praise it, "The Power of Perception in Performance," where they outline a framework for enhancing organizational and individual performance. The three laws they present are:


How people perform correlates to how situations occur to them.

  • This law underlines that performance isn't just driven by objective circumstances but by how these circumstances "occur" or appear to individuals. If a situation appears threatening or negative to someone, they're likely to respond differently than if the same situation appears positive or neutral.

How a situation occurs arises in language.

  • This emphasizes the power of language in shaping our perception and understanding of the world. The stories we tell ourselves, the labels we assign to experiences, and the conversations we engage in all contribute to how we interpret situations. By being mindful of our language, both internal (thoughts) and external (conversations), we can shift how situations occur to us.

Future-based language transforms how situations occur to people.

  • This law points out that most of our language is based on past experiences or present circumstances. However, when we use future-based language, we create new possibilities and perspectives that can transform how a situation occurs for us. This might involve creating a compelling vision for the future or making declarations about what's possible, which can change our approach and behavior in the present.


The criticality of these laws lies in their potential to transform individual and organizational performance. By understanding and applying these principles, leaders, and teams can:

  • Shift their perspectives and interpretations of challenging situations, leading to new solutions and opportunities.

  • Foster more positive and productive conversations within organizations.

  • Drive changes in behavior and results by reshaping how the future is perceived and discussed.

In essence, these laws provide a framework for reframing challenges, reshaping conversations, and reorienting toward a more empowering and effective future.

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