The team works hard, and subsequently believed that they were giving their best in one specific area of their performance. Despite their belief, they were stuck in familiar patterns and routines that needed to be reframed, or seen differently.
Following is a quick exercise that we did to break open their thinking to get different results. By the way, we have seen a 50% improvement for several weeks straight, due to new thinking, focused efforts and solid coaching from their sales leader.
Exercise: When giving your best is not your best
We began by framing our discussion around how giving our best feels like our best, but limits the options to truly give a breakthrough performance.
We then voted for a volunteer – the criteria this particular day was for the most athletic person – but you can choose any criteria for this exercise.
Brian was voted in. I gave Brian a colored piece of tape with very specific instructions. “I want you to give your very best effort, by jumping and sticking this piece of tape as high as you can on the wall in front of you.”
Brian truly is an athletic individual, and his result was remarkable. At approximately 10′ high on the wall stood a lone piece of tape. I asked how he felt with his effort. He said, “Good!” I then asked if he had truly given his best effort. He confirmed he had.
I then gave him a different colored piece of tape and simply said, “I would like you to beat your best.”
And he did…by nearly 3 inches. His comments afterward were, “Wow! When you asked me to do my best, I thought I had already done so, but apparently I was wrong.”
We debriefed the exercise together as a team, which led them to even better insights than what I had planned for them. I won’t pass those along so as not to predetermine how this exercise can and should be used with your teams. In short, what we saw was Brian adjust his whole approach to beating his best.
If you choose to do this exercise with your team, I would love to hear the results your team’s experience.
Jeff Michaels is a Sales & Marketing Executive that has worked with executives, leaders, & teams for 25 years to create repeatable success regardless of industry, economy or circumstance.