• The fine line between High Performance and Burnout

    High Performance may be what many organisations value and strive for, but it’s what makes people BE high performers versus what may push them beyond optimal performance that is often overlooked.

    This fine line is very much a fine line, and it’s going to be different for every individual, everyone has their ‘just right’ where they are at their best, their smartest, most engaged and creative yet organisations tend not to prioritise creating a working environment which supports this. Instead businesses choose to focus primarily on growing profits and their client base, while as their growth accelerates employees tend to experience more stress, overwhelm and burnout. In times of fast growth and change, High Performance in organisations often means leaving it’s people behind.

    The golden rule is ‘You cannot grow your business, faster than you grow your people’.

    A high tech high growth client asked me for strategy input saying that they provide employees 1-on-1 coaching but their people still don’t seem to cope with the pace of change. Until then they’d thought throwing in more coaching would be the answer, but you can only push your people so far before you burn them out, its the system that needs to change first in order to effectively support the growth of your people.

    I recently attended a talk by this very same title The Fine Line between High Performance and Burnout at Perkbox Live in London with 3 very knowledgeable speakers: KarinVolo, Chief Joy Bringer at Evoloshen and co-author of the international best selling book Engage; AlexandraPatten, Head of People at Wiser and TaraMansfield, Head of People at Monzo Bank. What I appreciated most about this event was how it’s helped to bring ‘Burnout’ into conversations, to normalise it and for organisations to start to acknowledge mental health as a crucial key to Employee Engagement and Wellbeing. One of the early stages of burnout is reduced dedication or interest in the workplace (aka Disengagement). As Tara Manfield poignantly pointed out, there is no medical term called ‘Burnout’, which means long term illness or leave is never actually attributed to burnout and therefore never sufficiently addressed by the workplace.

    In the Always On culture of today, we are expected to be available 24 hrs, continually checking emails and messages, ready to respond. Saying ‘yes’ to every new demand and never establishing clear boundaries or agreements for ways of working with each other. This is learnt behaviour and often rewarded and reinforced by the workplace.

    The good news is being learnt behaviour means it can be unlearnt.

    “For organisations to thrive sustainably, we need to promote resilience of the body and mind, as well as vision, skills and communication… Employee wellness and people centric-leadership has never been so important.” – Perkbox (How to Develop & Sustain a high performance culture – Duncan Campbell/Karin Volo)

    Clients working with me understand the FINE line – what’s above and below this line and how to check in, self-regulate and ultimately shift to what’s optimal for the body and mind to work effectively. It’s a way of working and it’s the same for individuals, teams and organisations. Once the ground rules are established and the foundation in place you can build from there. A culture of high performance comes from agreed ways of working, deep trust, open communication, a clear vision and shared sense of purpose. Not to mention self-management and knowing what this looks like.

    Taking time to put the building blocks in place, to build relationships and set a foundation that will support the entire wellbeing of the organisation will help people thrive rather than to send them into the burnout spiral. You’ll not only sustain your employees, you’ll retain them.

    That’s high performance.


    To learn more about Employee Engagement and Evoloshen, see http://www.evoloshen.com

Comments are closed.