The Inverted-U Model
Balancing Pressure and Performance
(Also known as Yerkes-Dodson Law)
Get the pressure right.
Have you ever worked on a project that had a tight-but-achievable deadline, and that needed your unique, expert knowledge for it to be completed successfully? Even though you found it challenging, you may have delivered some of your best work.
Or, think back to a project you worked on where there was little pressure to deliver. The deadline was flexible and the work wasn't challenging. You may have done an average job, at best.
There's a subtle relationship between pressure and performance. When your people experience the right amount of pressure, they do their best work. However, if there's too much or too little pressure, then performance can suffer.
This relationship is explained by the Inverted-U Model, which we'll look at in this article. This helps you get the best from your people, at the same time that you keep them happy and engaged.
About the Model
The Inverted-U model (also known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law), was created by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson as long ago as 1908. Despite its age, it's a model that has stood the test of time.