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By Joe Carella, Psy. D., Licensed Psychologist, Certified CEO Effectiveness Executive Coach

Organizations and leaders with whom I consult often request help establishing what they call “Performance Culture” and/or “Results Oriented Teams.” Given the pressures that exist in business today, it is easy to understand why the quest to achieve great business results is at the forefront of their minds. Still, I typically find myself wondering if they really know what they want. Results are only part of the equation and yet they become an incredibly powerful focal point. Dr. Bill Anton’s blog entitled, You’re Doing Great – So Why Aren’t Things Working, provides an outstanding framework for understanding the risks of being overly focused on results.

Ironically, when working with athletes to help them maximize their performance, the first thing I address is how I don’t care about their results. I challenge them to adopt the very same mindset. Results are secondary and process is primary! We establish pre-performance routines that enable them to execute their craft feeling free and unencumbered by results. Allow me to use a golf shot to illustrate this process. First, I encourage the golfer to assess his or her options to solve the problem posed by a shot they are playing. Next, I encourage them to select the option to which they can fully commit and then imagine themselves executing that very shot. Finally, they are instructed to step up and play the shot. If they do so with the mindset that it does not matter where the ball ends up, they are much more likely to succeed. Ultimately, they can rest easy in the knowledge that how fully engaged they are in the process is the true measure of success. This is a champion’s mental model – the process is more important than the outcome. Focus on the process allows athletes to play free and be their best. Executives and organizations can learn a lot from a mental model that places greater emphasis on how they operate and the process used to create the best results than just the results themselves.

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