Examining team resilience & high performance

Sarkar: There’s an analogy about a cellphone battery: As humans, we often wait until we are at 5% energy to recharge, but we would never wait until our phone is at 5% battery power to charge it. We’d probably start charging it at 30%. Why do we do it with our phones but not ourselves?

We know our best ideas and our best performance moments come after the rest, and we see that proven by professional athletes all the time. Why is it so hard to slow down?

Harfoush: There’s a myth that says your success is solely dependent on your ability to work hard. And that anytime you’re not actively demonstrating that you’re working hard, you are signaling that you’re not deserving of your own success. In reality, we know that hard work can move the needle, yes, but there are so many other factors.

Sarkar: An important thing to consider when we talk about work devotion is identity and what fills your life outside of work. If you have multiple identities — if you’re a father, a mother, a footballer, an exerciser, a cook, whatever it may be — you’ll consider those aspects of your life very important. But if your identity is solely tied to work, that’s the only way you’ll see yourself and your success.

Often there is a badge of honor around how hard we all work, especially among high performers. How can companies go about shifting that belief system?

Sarkar: Resilience is cultivated by design, not by default. It doesn’t happen automatically, and that’s why focusing on the work environment is so important. As a leader or manager, you must focus on proactively creating an environment where it is safe for people to speak up when they see things that aren’t healthy, and creating opportunities where you can hold up your hand and acknowledge your own mistakes.

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