It’s entirely accurate to say that we measure performance by what we do simply because those actions produce results, sometimes good and sometimes bad.
There is another side to performance – the things we don’t do. This is the side that speaks to focus; where we spend our time, how we plan for success, how well we understand our work/customer/strategy/goals. It’s really easy to get caught up in following routine or the crowd but excellent performance considers what’s being left out.
“Note to self: It’s a good idea to ask, ‘What am I not doing?’” – Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Great performers frequently ask themselves what they’re missing or can do better. It’s a continuous introspective strategy that doesn’t settle or accept things as they are. It’s not about paranoia or being neurotic – it’s about the clarity of purpose and knowing why the results need to be a certain way.
It’s a bit like the person who says they’re humble. Humility is a character trait you don’t recognize about yourself. If you ask yourself what you’re not doing and can’t think of anything, well…