Thursday, August 25, 2011

How Kristin Tabbert Uses Lateral Thinking to Maximize Her Clients' Performance

You may have never heard of Kristin Tabbert (until now) but what she can teach you can very well change the way you think - and how well you perform on the job.

Kristin is president and owner of Detroit-based K.L. Tabbert Performance Coaching, a company that teaches highly successful people how to elevate their performance. Kristin only works with people who are already very successful in their field. For these clients, she uses two lateral thinking techniques to change their way of thinking through a technique called "periodization," which takes them to entirely new levels of performance.

"Periodization" is a training technique originally designed for Olympic athletes who would use it to increase their skill sets. Here's how it works: over a short period of time, normally about four to six weeks, an athlete would work intensively on one or two skill sets to maximize performance in that area. Brian Moran and Mike Lennington (colleagues of Kristin's) of Strategic Breathroughs later borrowed this technique from Olympic trainers and fashioned it into a toolset for use in corporate America.

The first part of "periodization" is based on a useful provocation. "There are only 12 weeks in the year." Moran and Lennington realized the problem with annual goal setting based on 52 weeks is that people always feel there is plenty of time to meeting the goal. Shortening the time creates a far greater sense of urgency.

Facing a very short time period to hit a substantial goal, practitioners of periodization are motivated to try new things because of the stress created by the short-term goal. This is where Kristin's special coaching skills come into play. She uses the lateral thinking technique of challenge to help her clients examine their assumptions, dominant ideas, boundaries and other limitations. This technique frequently results in new, more constructive thinking that ultimately leads to new behaviors and new levels of productivity.

Having used her service for four months, I can say the results have been astonishing. I have seen significant changes in my thinking that have led to a substantial increase in my productivity. Additionally, I have been pleasantly surprised to see that not only has the quantity of my work increased, but the quality of my work has increased too. I have eliminated my "nice to do" things from my daily tasks and focused intently on those things that will truly benefit my clients.

I told Kristen recently, "You have given me no new clients, no new products, no new markets, and no new marketing budget. But you have given me new thinking, and that has made all the difference."

If you are interested in learning more about periodization, I recommend you read "The Twelve Week Year" by Moran and Lennington. Kristin can be emailed at

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