Potential and performance: what lies between?

There lies something between potential and performance that makes all the difference. In fact it is that something that makes people with less potential come out more successful. The magic word of that something that is in-between potential and performance is ‘effort’. Don’t dismiss it as silly! Please understand that ‘effort’ can be positive, negative or neutral. What do I mean by that?

Positive effort is work that is aligned in the direction of the goal. For one to exert positive effort, we need a clear goal, a chosen path, a limited set of activities, and conviction to avoid other interesting activities. Distractions, too many strengths, too many interests are typical distracters that come in the way of positive effort.

Negative effort is work that takes the person / organization in a direction away from the goal. Lack of a clear goal or too many varied goals are typical qualities of one who exerts negative effort. Lack of focus is a natural fall out. A person or company exerting negative effort also feels tired because of the constant movement from one goal to the other. All distractions are seen as potential opportunities and hence no one recognizes that it is not helping them move in any particular direction. Hence after a while everyone simply feels tired. Blame games and excuses are common reasons quoted for not reaching the goal.

Neutral effort is work that is not really moving the person / organization in any direction. Most people who remain busy all the time and don’t see results fall under this category. They put effort, but it is akin to running on a treadmill. Lack of clarity of why they are doing things leads one into putting effort but remaining in the same place. Confusion, tiredness, and chaos are the reflection of people or firms that fall under this category.

Both individuals and organizations fall prey to the above three challenges. If we become aware of what is actually between potential and performance for us, we can change it. Hence if any of us (entrepreneurs, start-ups, and emerging enterprises) feel that we have the potential but are not seeing it blossom or turn into performance, it is important to check what kind of effort is being spent.

Think about it!


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