by Tim McMullen
Is there any better feeling than achieving peak performance? It’s that point where an individual or group perform at their highest possible level — and it feels great! Below are three techniques that we have learned over the years that really enable peak performance at redpepper.
Creative plans are the way in which you take your macro task and break it down in a way that is going to help you perform at a high level. Let’s say you’re a copywriter and you get an assignment that’s due in a week and a half. The first thing you need to do is break it down and create a sense of sub-urgency for each milestone. Your overall goal is to get from A to B, but in between are milestones 1, 2, and 3. Ask yourself, “How do I want to work? What do I want to accomplish? Do I want to work for 3 hours in the morning, and then bounce with my peers in the middle of the day so I can take the project further in the afternoon?” Creative plans filled with these sub-milestones help you fine tune how you’re going to work.
When you’re solving a problem, you’re going to get to a right answer — and that right answer is going to feel really good. You might even become emotionally attached to that answer. The key is to set that first right answer aside and come up with second right answer. If you can prove to yourself and your client that you can solve a problem more than once, you’re going to reap a lot of benefits. Your first answer might be right, but it might not be the best answer. Furthermore, you want the client to feel as though they have an impact on the work. If they say, “We don’t like solution 1, we’re going to go with solution 2,” two good things have happened: first, they got to make a choice and feel like they were in control, and second, you didn’t get your only idea killed. You actually got a sense of progress and moved your project forward. Most creative people in the world can solve a problem more than once.
The creative journey is kind of like climbing a mountain. Have you ever gone on a full day mental mountain climb where you kicked rocks and made little decisions as you ascended to that specific idea? Although you may have spent a lot of time climbing the mountain and making those little decisions, in the creative presentations or client meetings you just sort of put the client on a helicopter, fly them to the top, and show them your idea. Oftentimes, they don’t understand our journey or the rationale, and instead of being impressed their mindset is, “meh, the view isn’t that nice.” In order to make sure they are more objective, you have to present your work with the checkbacks that the client agreed to before starting the work. Essentially saying, “here are the three things I set out to accomplish, and I’m going to prove that we did that.” Present the key rationale, some big and some small, in order to answer questions like, “Why does this work?” Meeting each rationale point with a checkback ensures a more objective conversation about the work. This is going to free you up to feel more creative, because you’ll be less worried about the process. You’re going to peak perform at a higher level and your clients are going to appreciate it.
Follow these steps and they’ll lead right to your next peak performance!