Take the show The Voice and the “coach” Will.i.am. His technique for coaching his team is simple. “I want more” is his most common phrase.
The contestant in his practice sessions digs deep and sings their heart out, giving it everything they have. Will.i.am praises them but asks for more. Initially the contestant says they gave it their all and have nothing else left. That’s the best they can do. He tells them straight that it’s not going to be enough to win and they are going to have to do more.
But how, from where? “I don’t know” he says but we’re going to have to figure it out. And when the performance night comes, invariably they find that extra ingredient.
Will.i.am is looking for the highest performance possible and by challenging people who think they are doing their utmost to find more, they do. He asks, politely, insistently, firmly.
So how do you go about getting the absolute highest performance from your people? My guess is that we accept less than people could give and people in our teams are not being challenged to give their utmost and not challenging themselves.
If you’re looking for higher performance, perhaps all you have to do is ask….. politely, insistently, firmly.