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Competent is Not an Option - Notes

Don’t sell out on potential by tolerating competence

Competent = meeting expectation, status quo, adequate – all rather limited and limiting no excitement in that!

Competence = safety zone it is an enemy to achievement avoids risk taking making mistakes or the possibility of being found incompetent

Incompetence is a necessary first step to getting good at something, we can accept temporary setbacks if they steps on the road to a bigger goal.

‘the nobility of incompetence: Being incompetent is the make or break prerequisite for becoming an elite performer.” (BLOG)

Identifying leadership basics: team decision-making, feedback, ideas, communication, culture, learning.

P11 useful table comparing basics of business and a team sport

‘If your as good as your going to get you can’t work here’

Step 1 mindset of elite performance

Step 2 Deliberate practice

Step 3 Learning while working

All there is at work is time to get better

‘Mindest defines your teams capacity for learning and the development of elite leaders’.

Mindset is habitual pre-ordained filter for responding to our experience. Strongly shaped by your view of the past and your view of the future both of which strongly impact how you filter information.

Mindset is automatic, unexamined and hidden – p24

P25 Collective mindset exercise

Flipchart use words to describe what it is like to work here – typical day

Usual responses very busy, fight fires, whirlwind, stressful …lack of control powerlessness v common theme.

Is this an inherent description of the nature of the business or a reflection of collective mindset (latter) Collective victim mindset, which is then blamed for inability to make performance gains time pressure = insurmountable barrier to developing the team and your leadership.

P27 list of default behaviours in time pressured environment, micromanaging, winging meetings and presentations, vague I’ll get back to you statement, all adds up to poor habits that limit the ability to develop performance

However mindset is a malleable mental construct you can take charge of and develop

P31 Research findings into leadership development:

1st not much development is going on developing others way down the list for managers in business. Managers are accountable for business results but not for developing the team. Only 1 in 10 managers uses work itself as a development tool (Making talent your business Wendy Axelrod & Jeannie Coyle.)

Development opportunities are available in any task but depend on how mindful leaders are to turn this into opportunities for L&D

Managers spend 90% of time designed to change behaviour delivering power point. Don’t role play or follow basic principle of explain demo practice

Develop a habit of re-do any team member can call a re-do to practice a more skilful response – helps accountability and to drive performance. Re-do turns mistakes into opportunities, eliminates blame and shame and activates the power of practice. Taking a mulligan – golf term for a re-do 2nd chance shot.

Performance in sport (military) about more than physical skills:

Decision making in heat of competition / combat

Focusing attention and eliminating distraction

Communicating with coaches and teammates to ensure execution of the pla

P59 table of basic sports practices translated to business, eg videoing performance in practice

What happens when people know what to do they just don’t do it (performance plateau) Managers respond to this with more training based on the assumption there is a knowledge gap then move to hold employees accountable for decisions, actios and results – ie all the observable external factors. Don’t address the underlying mindset issue which is really where the upper limits of performance are set. Need to disturb the mindset in order to shift it in other words change the way our filters are set to judge an experience.

President James Garfiled – ‘the truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable. Have to take accountability for our mindset

Healthy disregard for the unreasonable

Accountability demands zero tolerance of blaming other people or events

Accountability is proactive forward thinking distinction not an after the fact post-mortem

Accountability reveals unflattering truths about yourself to yourself or a coach that expands freedom of choice. Takers courage to take ownership of your ineffective choices and see yourself as the source of your diminished results

Reasonableness of something is gauged by the presumed effort involved and risks associated to any failure. When we perceive something to be unreasonable any attempt to improve stops and we get into the victim loop etc

Typically we hold people accountable by increasing the amount of blaming!!

What happened to get in the way? Why did we not achieve the expected results etc? The way the q is framed elicits a response that identifies factors to be blamed. Blame enhancing questions!

Ban blaming – catch it in your language and self-talk and stop it. Take accountability- total absolute accountability. Call it out in others, ‘that sounds like a victim mindset..’

Stretching – expanding your mindset as to what constitutes unreasonable effort, as a leader are you taking others out of their comfort zone and stretching them.

When leaders apply an old map to a new problem they get stuck (experience) get stuck stressed and frustrated. Need to disturb your mindset to find new solutions. Can’t apply the thinking that got you into the problem to solve the problem- Blackwells!

‘Practice makes permanent’ Bobby Robson – for better or worse practice always makes a difference. In sport and the military practice is a core competence, this is not the mentality of business but it should be

Edwin Moses figured out how to take 13 strides to each hurdle in the 400m hurdles everyone else took 14. Never lost a race in 10 years of racing, Between 1977 and 1987, Moses won 107 consecutive finals (122 consecutive races) including 2 Olympic titles and set the world record in his event four times.

Talent and hard work in part determine upper limits of performance but hard work in itself is meaningless it must be effectively applied, in other word do the right work. Deliberate practice and effective training are the critical path to high performance in any endeavour. - busy fool

Deliberate practice = mastering tasks beyond your current capability, implies uncomfortable emotions loss of confidence, apprehension, fear, boredom – being crap before you can be good, being comfortable with failure.

P93 Deliberate practice: 1. Long term stretch goal. 2. Describe a noticeable improvement based on being out of comfort zone and strenuous concentration. 3. Design practice situations to get feedback, video review, strengths and weaknesses whilst performing (awareness), feedback from coach others, measure results an

d progess. 4 Set specific improvement goals. 5 Flex to work through plateaus.

Were always practicing but if is it for better of for worse? If not deliberate probably for worse.

P94 questions for recognizing plateaus, (Karsten..) Get great at high impact skills 

If your not feeling some apprehension your not sufficiently challenging yourself. ‘Gulp is good’

Prepare – mindset logistics, basics

Practice – deliberate focused measured – right habit

Perform – game day

Perfect – de-brief to identify lessons and areas for focus


Publicize – after a learning experience who else could benefit?


P141, audit for quality of leadership dev process in work