We live in an age of overwhelm. Never before has a worker experienced more electronics and gadgets distracting them or demanding their response and mile-long to-do lists to juggle all the while navigating through the ever changing nature of their departmental structure, management and working environment.
These apparent challenges stand in the way to being truly effective at work. Arriving to work on Monday morning and managing the trivial and dealing with the urgent can actually inhibit our performance for the more detailed, finite and conceptual activities we have ahead in the day.
In earlier articles I have spoken about the 3 crucial aspects to World-Class Productivity:
1. Intention – Acting on the important
2. Attention – Sustaining focus
3. Energy - Delivering with excellence
In order to set the right intentions and truly act on the important at work we need to implement ‘Level 3 thinking’. Level 3 thinking requires a high degree of mental energy needed by our conscious processor, a relatively small and newly evolved region of our brains – the prefrontal cortex. In light of this, it is important to recognize what level 3 activities are and how to manage them, knowing that the part of the brain that is responsible for doing more conceptual thinking is in fact energy limited. Kind of like your child’s rechargeable toy helicopter; it only has a limited timeframe in staying off the ground and it will never work properly if it’s not regularly recharged.
Below are examples of the different types of thinking we implore and the different demands it imposes on our mind.
Model Breakdown: The higher we climb up the levels, the more complex the activity becomes in terms of mental processing and the greater the energy demand upon the brain.
Making sure we deliver on our ‘Level 3 thinking’ tasks and maximizing performance at work requires capitalizing on our peak energy stages, regularly refueling and recharging the brain and dealing with inherent threat, uncertainty and/or turbulence within our company culture.
Pause and think about:
- The brain processes fear and negative emotion as a top priority. Focusing on solutions and looking for opportunities amidst challenges is often energy demanding because the ideas that belong to them lie in the future, which means they are not seen and harder to think upon. If your company culture is currently experiencing a lot of uncertainty or turbulence, what can your leaders do to strengthen employees’ ability to focus on goals and delivery of those goals instead of the inherent threats standing in their way?
- In light of the brain being a limited energy resource how would you change, reschedule or simplify your Level 1 and 2 activities to meet, more effectively, the demands of your energy hungry and energy demanding Level 3 activities?
- When it comes to ‘fueling your inputs’ how effectively do you manage your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual reservoirs of energy to fuel your outputs?
Find more out about what Ben does & how he does it, or download his free eBook -"What University Doesn't Teach About Job Performance" at: www.jobperformance.com.au
Ben works with:
- executives, managers & team leaders to influence human behaviour and in essence get more out of individuals and teams in terms of execution and results. By unveiling and removing the barriers that are often unknown, unaware or unseen by management, yet are evidently surfaced in the low levels of creativity, productivity, commitment and cohesiveness, leaders can establish a high performance workplace that increases productivity, team cohesion and organizational bottom line
- individuals at work become aware of the skill sets and behaviors to achieve world class performance. These include both staff and leaders maximize performance at a personal and career level thereby transforming workplaces and creating excellence for both the person and the organization itself.
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