P = P – I
A Managers Main Job
Tim Gallwey, in his books The Inner Game, put forward the formula for performance as P = P – I, where P is Performance, being equal to Potential less (minus) Interference. This has inspired me for many years, as it seems so simple to tap into greater performance just by releasing our potential. However the interference is stubborn and in my opinion is both internal and external.
So let’s quickly examine this idea:
Internal – the inner voice of doubt, the tonality of critical adults in our childhood and in more recent times telling us – ‘you can’t do that, I bet you’ll mess up if you try, so don’t try etc’. I guess we can all fill in the gaps on this.
External – the ‘reasons’ which get in our way, sometimes others who say we can’t or even systems which appear to conspire (“computer says No!” As David Walliams put it).
Whichever it is, as a manager I believe it is our job to remove such obstacles from our staffs path to success. In practical terms by recognising how they might be more efficient if certain factors were altered or removed, such as Internet connection failure or stressful work patterns perhaps. Or in the case of our internal gremlins, the power of praise and recognition for targets achieved or encouragement through stretching assignments well delegated.
When we focus our attention on Potential before Performance and recognise the interference at play, it may be that we all find a greater benefit than when we focus on Performance Management alone.