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By Eric Barker
January 17, 2015
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

It might be to forget about trying to be fast at all and to just focus on being smooth.

A Formula One pit crew — a group that depends on efficient, fast teamwork — found that they weren’t at top speed when they concentrated on speed. It was when they emphasized functioning smoothly as a group that they made their best times.

Via Oliver Burkeman’s wonderful The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking:

Bosses are more frequently persuaded, though, by Shapiro’s other argument: that getting rid of goals, or focusing on them less fixedly, is often also the best way to extract results from employees. He seduces them with anecdotes about the effectiveness of operating goalessly, such as the tale of the Formula One pit crew with whom he worked, whose members were told that they would no longer be assessed on the basis of speed targets; they would be rated on style instead. Instructed to focus on acting “smoothly”, rather than on beating their current record time, they wound up performing faster.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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