How to Lower Frustration and Improve Performance

Reflection is essential to improvement.

Curiosity is essential to reflection.


Focus curiosity on patterns when improving systems.

  1. What difficulty can you predict you’ll encounter when we do this next time?
  2. What can you put in place now to answer question #1?
  3. If you lose a key player, how will others know what to do?
  4. What makes getting things done difficult?
  5. What makes success easier?

Focus curiosity on people when improving performance:

  1. How can you step into a point of reluctance, a bottleneck in your work, for example?
  2. What happens if we just ignore this issue?
  3. What’s frustrating about your job? How can we minimize frustration?
  4. What’s fulfilling about your job?  How can we maximize fulfillment?
  5. What’s working? How can we do more of that?

More than curiosity:

Curiosity is the beginning of improvement; new behavior is the process.

Incompetent leaders feel that talking about it changes it.

Improvement depends on action not words. What will we do differently next time?

The illusion that talk is action is the reason things stay the same.

“Whatever the dangers of the action we take, the dangers of inaction are far, far greater.” Tony Blair


There’s always room for improvement.

Negative environments result from focusing on negatives and neglecting positives.

Successful leaders celebrate wins even while falling short.

Positive environments are built by celebrating improvement, not pointing out mistakes. Find something good to say, even if you’re surrounded by rotting carcasses. Don’t pretend everything’s OK. But, celebrate a win. Thank someone for putting in extra effort, for example.

Take responsibility for creating positive environments even while addressing negative concerns.

How might leaders improve systems?

How might leaders help improve the individual performance of others?


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