Reach for the Performance Zone: 4 Tips


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High performance comes from understanding Energy Management of yourself and then managing your energy reserve. Gaining greater productivity is what many of us are looking to achieve.

In a previous blog post I mentioned a very informative, performance-oriented book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.

Its author, Tony Schwartz, points out that at any given time we are operating in one of four emotional states, or zones. We can control that, but first we need to be aware of how we feel. Read these descriptions, and think about which zone most characterizes you.

Performance Zone

You have a lot of quality energy. You’re calm and optimistic. You’re challenged yet invigorated because you know you can handle it. You’re highly engaged.

Renewal Zone

This is also a positive energy state-there’s just not as much of it. You’re refilling yourself. You’re relieved and receptive. Peace reigns.

Survival Zone

You may have energy left to draw from, but it’s negative. You’re just trying to survive the day. You find yourself feeling impatient, frustrated, or maybe even angry. You’re a grouch, on the defensive and anxious.

Burnout Zone

This is what happens if you get stuck in Survival Zone. You’re exhausted and drained. Things look hopeless, and you see no light. None of us want to go there.

High performers pulse between Performance and Renewal. Yet Survival Zone is an acceptable place in most corporations, and many of us spend way too much time there, just being thankful we’re not burned out. That’s dangerous thinking.

How can you escape the Survival Zone and then set the tone for those you lead to do the same? Here are a few tips from Tony Schwartz in The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working:

  • Ask yourself periodically throughout the day which zone you’re in. If it’s not Performance or Renewal, take a few minutes to figure out what put you there.
  • Intentionally spend more time in the Renewal Zone. What activities do you enjoy most? What makes you feel good? Schedule at least one of these in your life each week. (How do you renew yourself? Tell us, in the comments below.)
  • Become a different kind of CEO: a Chief Energy Officer. Those you lead will “catch” your energy. After each conversation you have, does the other person walk away feeling better or worse? How did you contribute?
  • Try to see qualities in others that they don’t even see in themselves. Show people you value them. Build their confidence. More than 200 leadership research projects show this one quality in a leader has the biggest positive influence.

If you had more energy and thus were more engaged, don’t you think that you would be able to develop more high quality business relationships? Imagine the extra productivity your employees, your management team and your entire business could achieve.

Tony Schwartz’s book has a wealth of information and inspiration to energize our performance. So does his Energy Project. Other resources are David Allen and Michael Bungay Stanier’s Do More Great Work. For all the Performance resources check out my links for Amazon, here.

Are you satisfying the four core energy needs that fuel great performance? …..take the Energy Audit– for a Better Way of Working.

Paying attention to this stuff can literally save your life. Gathering with other Chief Energy Officers in a TAB (The Alternative Board) peer group can help. Call me at 269-445-3001 to get involved.

What practices do you do to manage your energy? Care to share in the comment section below?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


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