Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 21 2014

How to Increase Performance by Overcoming Momentum Killers

Dean Savoca

You’re on a roll. You’re getting things done and you’re feeling happy, confident and organized.  You worked out this morning, your travel plans are set for the weekend, and the program you’re managing is right on schedule – thanks to your hard work.  It’s a good start to a great day.  You are In - The - Zone.

Then it happens…you collapse in your chair, and you ask yourself, “why is this happening to me?” You focus on what this latest development is going to cost you in time or money. Your energy level drops, your body tightens, you feel your confidence wane, and start to feel stressed and overwhelmed. You are experiencing a momentum killer.

 Momentum Killers are things that happen, that you think, say or do that negatively impact how you feel and your level of performance. They distract you from the task at hand, interrupt your work progress, steal your time and energy, and depleted your energy.  Momentum Killers can impact someone for hours, weeks and even months. Most people have two or three specific momentum killers that cause the majority of their lack of performance. We all have different momentum killers, and we all have habitual behavior patterns we fall into when these things happen.

Common momentum killers include loss of business, technology problems, and disagreements with someone, perfectionism, disorganization, interruptions, criticism and requests from others. Successful people can identify their momentum killers and have strategies to reduce the time and depth of their impact. Our response determines the impact of a momentum killer. We have habitual response patterns that affect the way we feel - and ultimately, affect our performance. Successful people know their negative patterns and have strategies to use to break these patterns when their momentum killers happen.

The following four steps will help decrease the impact of your momentum killers and increase your performance and ultimately, your happiness.

Step I – Determine what happens that kills your momentum:

What is the number one thing that happens that kills your momentum? What happens that has the biggest negative impact on your confidence and productivity?

Example: My boss comes in and gives me another project...

Step II ‐ Identify your negative behavior pattern:

What do you think, say or do when this happens? Write down the specifics of how you react to this event. What do you focus on? What do you say to yourself (or out loud)? What do you do in response to this event? Increase your awareness by writing down specifically how you react.  Think about what this cost you in productivity? Happiness?

Example (my response or negative behavior pattern): “I am a fool for agreeing to do this extra project. I am overwhelmed and not appreciated.” Go to the vending machine for coffee and a cookie and day‐dream about changing jobs. Go to my co-worker and complain about my boss. Result: I don’t get any more work done the rest of the day and go home frustrated.          

Step III – Identify strategies to interrupt your pattern:

Determine what you think, say and do when you are at your best. These strategies work to break your negative pattern and get you back on track. Some common strategies to interrupt patterns include going for a walk, calling a spouse or friend, looking at your child’s photo, remembering a past success, and taking an action that will get you out of your head and change the situation.

Example: Go for a walk to get some fresh air, think about successfully completing this project will increase an opportunity for a promotion, believe that my boss is giving me this project because he values my work and appreciates me, break down the project in to doable pieces, and determine what can be delegated.

 Step IV – Implement your new strategy:

What’s the best strategy you discovered that you can intentionally use to overcome your number one momentum killer? Practice it and see how the impact lessens.

Example: Think about how my boss appreciates me, and meet with a co-worker to take the first step to completing the project.

Successful people have awareness of what hinders and supports their success. They take action. You can too. Follow these four steps to overcome your momentum killers and keep rolling!


Dean Savoca, M.Ed., BCC, works at the individual executive level as a coach, at the team and department level as a trainer and facilitator, and at the company and association level as a keynote speaker.  Whatever the format – be it strategic planning sessions, leadership development, sales training, executive coaching,  meeting facilitation or keynote  --  Savoca Performance Group guides teams through processes that focus  their attention on core issues and rallies them to action, often right there in the room.  The result is improved performance, higher productivity, more cohesive teamwork, and an improved bottom line. 

Dean has 20 years of experience in working with executives and employees of companies, ranging from small businesses to professional organizations to Fortune 500 companies.  He holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Performance and Change and is a Board Certified Coach.  Dean was the 2012-2013 President of the National Speakers Association – Colorado Chapter, and the 2011-2012 Chairman of the Cherry Creek Chamber of Commerce, Denver CO.  In 2014 he was named “Speaker of Choice” by the Professional Convention Management Association.


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