Over the last 20 years, we have been coaching hundreds of people, both athletes and knowledge workers, to reach an optimal level of performance. When helping our clients reach their goals, we tend to start by making something we call a Logical Performance Plan. To give you an idea of what that is, I will go over the four steps and you can try it out yourself.
If you have read about our history, you know that the story of our methods started from Doctor Aki Hintsa and his work in Ethiopia. He worked with some of the best runners in the world, but that’s not all. He mainly served as a doctor in a remote clinic and worked on community development projects in the region. This is where he became familiar with a project planning methodology called the Logical Framework Approach (LFA).
Since the method could be used to help a community, Dr Hintsa thought similar principles could be applied to helping individuals. Using himself as a test case and he started to plan how he could improve his own health, wellbeing and performance based on the Logical Framework Approach. This laid the foundation for the way we develop plans and programmes for our clients today. Here is a simplified outline of how it all works. You can even download an example worksheet and fill it in as you read!
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1. Perform a logical analysis of your situation
The first step is not about what you should do, but rather how you feel and what you experience. Take a step back and listen to your body. How do you honestly feel? Is something hindering your performance? Is there something you are concerned with? You can also ask some friends or family members to share their thoughts on what they see going on in your life. These can be written freely on a piece of paper for example.
Once you have your list ready, you need to start building some logical connections between the issues that you just identified. First, pick the issue that you feel is troubling you the most in your health or performance. Then, start to identify which issues are causing this and what are the consequences.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that I’m struggling with being constantly tired and it’s the key issue I want to address. In the first step, I have also listed that I feel that I can’t concentrate well and I’m often grumpy and overreacting to small issues. These are examples of consequences related to my main issue of tiredness. Let’s say I had also noted that I struggle to fall asleep, and often wake up too early without being able to fall asleep again. These are examples of causes to my main issue. To continue the process, our coaches would help me to dig deeper into the consequences related to tiredness by asking ‘so what’ and also to the causes of tiredness by asking ‘but why’. This would start to build a comprehensive and logical picture of my situation. The analogy of a tree is sometimes used for this step, where the trunk is the main issue, the leaves and fruits are the consequences, and the roots are the causes.
2. Set concrete goals
One of the foundational elements of the LFA methodology is that it always starts with defining a goal and only then choosing appropriate actions. Actions should be customized based on what you specifically want to achieve, rather than having a one size fits all solution that is enforced, which really doesn’t fit anyone well. The goal should be determined based on the consequences related to your main issue, that were identified earlier. Going back to my earlier example, my goal would not be only to sleep better, or feel less tired, but rather something related to being able to concentrate better and being more in control of my emotions. This is the real impact that I want to see happen.
When you have your goal figured out, you also need to identify ways of measuring whether the goal has been achieved. After this, you can define a concrete main objective for your plan, which is based on the main issue that you identified earlier. In my example case, it could be for example feeling more energetic. And once again, I would need to define how I can measure that.
3. Define concrete actions
It’s only now that you would start to get into concrete actions about what types of changes you should be making in your life. The key to determining the appropriate actions will be the causes of the main issue that were identified earlier. In my example, one of my main causes related to tiredness was not being able to fall asleep well. A coach could help me dig deeper into the matter and help me understand why it’s happening and together we could also evaluate my life situation, strengths and interests. Based on these we could together identify simple actions for me to work on, such as:
- Stopping all work by 8 pm (including checking emails)
- Avoiding all screens after 10 pm
- Taking the dog out for a walk in the evenings
These are simple actions that would also be easy to monitor. Without building the logical connections that were made earlier, I may not have realised how important these simple acts actually are to achieving my objective of being more energetic and my goal of being able to concentrate and control my emotions better.
4. Evaluate obstacles and risks
The final step is to think about potential challenges, or obstacles, which may hinder you from implementing the actions that you have planned. In some cases, there are external issues, which are out of your control. In these cases, it’s good to go back and re-evaluate whether the planned actions are really feasible. In other situations, it may be more internal obstacles, which you can work with. It’s important to be aware of these and develop a plan for overcoming them.
There you have it, a brief introduction into what we call Logical Performance Planning. Would you like to set up your personal plan with one of our coaches and get some help along the way to better performance levels? Contact us to start your own Hintsa journey.
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