Perfect Your Performance Like A Surgeon
11 November 2022
Perfecting The Science Of Performance
Insights from 'Better' by Atul Gawande
When you think of great achievers, who do you think of?
Maybe Steve Jobs or Henry Ford or even Jonas Salk, the creator of the polio vaccine.
When you think of world-changing innovations, what do you think of?
Chances are your mind jumps to the telephone. Or the automobile. Or perhaps even antibiotics. Or vaccines.
The telephone transformed communication; the vaccine helped eradicate the disease.
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In business, people are often looking for the 'next big thing'. But path-breaking discoveries aren't the only way to change the world or achieve a goal, says Atul Gawande, the author of Better A Surgeon's Note On Performance.
Gawande is also a top surgeon at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, USA; the founder and chair of Ariadne Labs, a center for health systems innovation; and a prolific writer.
He knows a thing or two about success. And how to build on it.
Gawande has been thinking about how doctors like himself can improve their performance.
What he's found is that simply improving what you already know how to do, even in small ways, can be life-changing.
Improving existing performance can save more lives than a new drug, he says.
Stop and think about that for a moment.
Improving existing performance can save more lives than a new drug.
What a radical idea.
Now, you might argue that doctors are unique among professionals.
After all, they hold life and death in their hands.
Yet they face many of the same problems as other professionals... bureaucratic systems, scarce resources, other people's work habits, personal shortcomings, and any number of obstacles that might crop up over time.
That makes Gawande's findings valuable for managers or business owners.
Most importantly, his insights show that outstanding performance does not depend on being a genius or even having a Eureka moment.
Instead, what success often requires are seemingly mundane qualities.
Diligence, ethical clarity, some creativity, and, above all, a willingness to try.
As Gawande says, better is possible for anyone.
Keep watching to find out how.
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