When we train managers and organizations on mental, emotional and behavioral habits often this question comes up: “this person (or team, or department) has habits that express his/her skills to the fullest – but we cannot see any progress”.
When we want progress, because the situation changed, because we want more or because the results we get are not enough, doing our best is what, actually, blocks us.
“Doing our best” means using habits, behaviors and attitudes that we already have. If the situation changed, if it is more challenging, if we got promoted into a much more complex managerial role, this might not be enough. Quite the contrary.
We risk to double our efforts, only to get the same results. To grow and reach higher results we need to get another mental habits, that of doing “the best possible”, i.e. to adopt new behaviors, attitudes and strategies that are required in that situation to reach a higher level of performance.
This is the difference: if we ask a person to “do her best” during a marathon, and for her “doing her best” is running 20 km, she will stop half-way. At the same time, we cannot complain, because she “did her best”. If we want her to do the “best possible” she will need to train and adopt al the necessary behaviors and attitudes to finish the marathon with a good timing (considering her body and the circumstances).
Doing the “best possible” means looking for the best in a sector and adopt the most effective habits, In this way we will break our limitations thanks to new skills, expressed by more effective behaviors.
An excellent question we could ask to someone that tells us: “we are doing our best, but we are not growing” is: “what attitudes, behaviors and habits should you adopt to do the best possible?”