Primed to Perform

I reserve the 5 star rating for books that change the way I think or expose me to a new way of doing things I didn’t know before. This is one of those books. It is applied mostly to the world of business, but it can apply to anything you do and why you do it.

Primed to Perform tries to demystify culture and put it in a measurable structure so you can take action to steer your company culture for the highest performance possible. This is typically the realm of fuzzy ‘feel good’ consultants where you do some team building exercises and hope that will make everyone play nice together. Primed to Perform is so much more than that. Neel Doshi has done his research, stood on the shoulders of his predecessors and made a book that can give you a real plan on how to identify what is motivating and what is demotivating by classifying motivations into one of six categories. Three are empowering, play, purpose, and potential. Three are demotivating, emotional pressure, economic pressure, and inertia.

Primed to Perform challenges the pay for performance paradigm that is pervasive in most companies. It’s not that we don’t want to pay for high performers, but when that is the only incentive it can backfire. Performance in many cases drops when money is the only thing motivating people. Examine your own motivations. If you are doing something only for the money, is your heart really in it? Do you do your best work? You might make the cash, but your actual impact is only as high as it needs to be to make the dollars.

When the reward of the work is the work itself, then you are in a state of play. How is your performance when your work is fun? What about when you help others and see them succeed? What about when your work is part of a larger purpose to make a difference in the world? Those are the real motivators of the human soul and true keys to fulfillment.

Instead of measuring our ‘success’ which is generally tied to financial metrics, let’s measure our fulfillment which comes from our play, purpose to something greater than ourselves, and potential to grow and become more capable. Building an organization that can tap into those human desires is one that will flourish and drive impact. This isn’t just feel good pontification either. Primed to Perform builds on case studies from GM, Toyota, Microsoft, and many others where organizations were measurably improved in terms of real economic output by shifting the culture to one that is focused on these core beliefs. Focusing on the dollars puts the emotion second and creates a red ocean culture of competition. Focusing on the play and purpose creates a blue ocean society where the actual output of dollars increases because the effectiveness of each participant is higher.

Whether you are examining your own motivations for what you do and why you do it, or you are part of a team, or building a team, this book will give you a blueprint for designing a happier more productive culture.