A RECENT survey by Gallup revealed that only one in 10 of Singapore’s employees is engaged or focused on creating value for their organisation.

Isn’t that ironic when — in today’s hyper-competitive world where businesses struggle to do more with less — productivity gains no longer depend solely on technologies like the Internet, automation and supply chain, but on personal productivity and performance?

It is obvious that disengaged employees are not the most productive.

Even with the Government’s heavy investment in skill upgrades and process redesign schemes, annual productivity growth remains low at 1.7 per cent (against the desired 2 to 3 per cent), according to the National Productivity and Continuing Education Council (NPCEC) survey from 2000 to 2012, despite an average 46-hour working week.

Emerging science is revealing new insights into improving employee motivation to achieve peak performance as the key to competitiveness and organisational growth.

At the individual level, peak-performing employees are more valued in the organisation and their chances of personal success increase. But how do they achieve it?

Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a leading authority in the field of positive psychology, suggested that we perform at peak when we experience a mental state called “flow”, where we can become completely motivated and immersed in our role or task.

Here are some strategies — adapted from current research — that enable you to optimise personal and team performance effortlessly:



 Set and evaluate goals

While many people realise the importance of setting goals, fewer than 3 per cent have clear, written ones.

You need goals in all areas of life — financial, physical, personal development, relationships and even spiritual. Two ways to remember how to set goals are:

• PPP — to be meaningful, your goals have to be positive, personal and possible;

• SMARTER — to be effective, your goals have to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timed, exciting and rewarding.



 Choose a role that fits your personality

Studies show that personality traits have a direct and drastic impact — up to 25 per cent — on job performance, so it is vital to understand yours to differentiate yourself in today’s increasingly service-focused, dynamic business environment.

For example, if you are more extroverted and enjoy socialising, a role that involves meeting people (such as sales) might fit you better than one that keeps you isolated in the office most of the day. You could follow the lead of many top companies and complete personality assessments for you and your team — and reap the benefits. 



 Manage stress effectively

Stress levels can be very high for employees on multiple projects with tight schedules and demanding expectations.

If not addressed, the negative effects include reduced personal accountability and deteriorated health. To manage stress, adopt these five tactics:

• Acknowledge: Recognise there are issues that need work;

• Alter: Change what you do or the way you do it;

• Avoid: Stop doing something that is causing you stress;

• Accept: Learn to live with a level of stress; and

• Act: Take concrete actions to make things better.



 Align strengths and challenges

When people consistently achieve or excel, it is often because they are operating in areas of strength in which they experience learning and a deep sense of satisfaction.

One way of identifying your strength is to reflect on an event that you consider your greatest success — it could be at work, with family, within a relationship, in school, in your community or in any other part of life.

Try and identify what the strength was that made it successful — use that strength to meet the challenges in your work.



 Collaborate with others

Many work achievements come about because of the collaboration of different people with different skills. A team can achieve “flow” and creativity with results amplified when team members recognise and build on one another’s complementary strengths while being trusted to deliver.

When team members communicate freely and provide feedback on one another’s performance, they are in sync and move in the same direction towards their shared vision and goals.

If you can execute the five strategies above, you will find that you are well on the way to developing purpose, passion and personal mastery in your life and work, leading to peak performance and increased productivity, with endless benefits to both yourself and the organisation. 


Article by Ted Chan, the executive director of Thinking Trends and a senior associate trainer with LCI Seminars. For more information, visit www.thinkingtrends.com and www.lciseminars.com.