The 5 Phases of Performance

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There are ebbs and flows of ability and energy when an individual, team, or organization pursues an objective. Great leaders, in any context, are aware of these ebbs and flows so they can effectively manage performance toward the desired destination.

The Leadership Genius Phases of Performance describe, not explain, why you are at a certain state of performance toward a goal:

1

The Curious Phase Of Performance

The Curious Phase of Performance is where you consider the time and effort you’re going to need to put into achieving your goal. Learn more about this phase.

In this phase, though transferable skills will help in the long run, Ability starts off as relatively low because it is a new objective but Energy is typically higher because of the desire to pursue the goal.

How to respond:

Focus individuals and teams on the highest priorities of the goal. Help them understand why the goal is important and clarify timelines for completion of the objective.

How to Respond in this Phase

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2

The confronting phase of performance

The Confronting Phase of Performance is where individuals, teams, and organizations naturally experience low energy because of competing priorities or they discover new challenges related to the objective being pursued. Learn more about this phase.

In this phase, Ability remains relatively low toward the final objective and Energy typically is lower than when the goal was initiated due to shifting variables that result in the natural challenges to achieving the objective.

How to respond:

Focus on continually learning, identifying problems, and cultivate effective feedback while recognizing progress.

How to Respond in this Phase

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3

The Cautious phase of performance

The Cautious Phase of Performance is where your ability to achieve the goal is on the rise and your energy fluctuates depending on your motivational outlook and commitment to achieve the objective you are pursuing. Learn more about this phase.

In this phase, individuals, teams, and organizations, have developed a higher level of Ability while Energy levels may vary toward the pursuit of the goal.

How to respond:

During this phase, you may begin to facilitate and implement potential solutions to problems you discovered in the previous phases of performance. Like all phases, you will still need ongoing performance feedback and recognition, though it may be more guidance than direction in this phase.

How to Respond in this Phase

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4

The Achieving phase of performance

In this phase of performance, you may experience a productive flow with high levels of Ability and Energy toward the pursuit of the goal. During this phase you will need minimum direction or guidance as you approach the Achievement of your objective. Learn more about this phase.

The Achieving Phase of Performance is where Ability and Energy toward the pursuit of the goal are high.

How to respond:

As you near the achievement of your objective during this phase of performance, moderate levels of feedback are still necessary for finishing the target objective. If you’ve achieved your objective, celebrate your success and be sure to review key learnings.

How to Respond in this Phase

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5

The discerning phase of performance

The Discerning Phase of Performance is where you evaluate your commitment to achieving the goal as an individual, team, or organization. Learn more about this phase.

In this phase of performance, though you’ve demonstrated high levels of Ability to achieve the goal, your Energy toward further pursuit of this goal may have regressed.

How to respond:

Consider having a motivational outlook conversation with a manager, coach, or even a colleague to investigate whether you should keep pursuing this goal, or if you can shift your motivation to a more optimal outlook in continuing to pursue the goal.

How to Respond in this Phase

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Taking time to regularly assess the phases of performance toward critical objectives will help you, your direct reports, team or organization increase engagement and elevate performance. Understanding these natural phases will give leaders, at every level of the organization, insights into the needs and motivations of individuals and teams during the pursuit of critical business objectives.