Unconscious competence – the biggest risk of all

If you can do something without thinking about it, congratulations but watch out. It’s the riskiest place of all. It’s great – because you can do it without much thought, but boy, be ready for a fall. Think learning to drive or learning to ski, when’s the greatest risk, of crashing or falling?

Practise relentlessly on the fundamentals of performance

We see elite performers seeking unconscious competence but deliberately behaving as if they’re never there. They spend hours and hours practicing the fundamentals of what they do. Like, hours and hours. Dancers, singers, soldiers, sailors all practice and practice. There’s not a week goes by when Roger Federer doesn’t practice his serve, even though it’s bloody good already and he could probably do it in his sleep.

And we’re talking real basics here. Things like writing an email, summarising information, prioritising tasks, managing energy levels.

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An apple a day…

We’re always scanning what’s going on in the world to see how we can connect it to simple, high performance thinking, and when Jim spotted some stuff about a new approach to food labelling, it got us thinking.

Food producer Mars announced last week plans to label some of their products with the tags of “everyday” and “occasional”. This move is obviously another idea designed to help people understand and balance ‘healthy eating’. We thought the idea might help reinforce some more general high performance thinking too.

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Ready for Rio? An athlete perspective

The Rio Games are fast approaching, and given our heritage in elite sport and continued involvement in preparing athletes for Olympic and Paralympic Games, we thought you’d be interested to hear directly from some of the athletes we work with. In this blog, Emma Wiggs, a GB Paralympic Sprint Kayaker and 4 times world champion shares her feelings in the build up to selection to go to Rio, and what’s key to help her be ready for the challenge ahead.

As I write this blog between training sessions I’m reminded that the days are ticking away….the days until Paralympic selection and the days until the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro.  On 4th June, the only obstacle between me and the Games will be my team mates and close friends. We support and push each other on to be better for 9 months of the year, but have the power to shatter each other’s dreams in just under two months time. Only 6 will go and in a team of around 13 athletes that train full time together that’s a big deal.

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Resilience… It’s all about explanations

rsz_af_photoshoot_2015_websiteIn the final part of our series on resilience, Andrea Furst, one of our Human Performance Experts and Senior Sport Psychologist to GB Women’s Hockey, shares some reflections on resilience from her involvement in the selection process of the past four Olympic Games.

Elite sport is one of the most pressurised and competitive environments. The pressure and competitiveness peaks during Olympic selection. The stakes are high and whilst there are the tribulations of gaining selection, there are also the trials of non-selection. Here’s what I’ve learnt about resilience and its role in coping with the arduous Olympic selection process.

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High Performance in action

photo - andy fordWe know that many of you are curious about how different businesses are integrating performance principles into their culture and day-to-day behaviours. We asked Andy Ford, a Senior Programme Manager for one of our major customers to share how his team is using some core performance principles to ensure they’re ready to lead the business through a period of change. Andy has over 20 years’ experience in Financial Services, working as a senior business change programme manager and Head of IT, working with organisations such as RBS, Lloyds and HBOS.

We had our first leadership session with K2 in January 2015. A year on, what difference has it made to us as a team?

What the experience has meant to us?

We’re the leadership team of a very major programme. There are four of us in the team: two who were already with the company and two who joined specifically for the programme. It’s essential for us to work well and effectively together. We’ve embraced the performance concepts K2 introduced us to, such as ‘Wins, Wishes & Wants’; the three Cs of Control, Confidence and Connectedness; ‘Buzz’ meetings; and the ‘Performance Calendar’. These and more have made a massive difference to how we work as a team.

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Applying for your job every single day

While some Olympic athletes have their places secure others are going through trials. Actually they’ve been on trial for a long time. Just about every day.

Imagine having the pressure of being on trial every day doing your job. Every day. How would that pressure be?

Loving the pressure

Pressure is all around and comes from many places. For many it’s constant. Most people experience it in their jobs. So learning to deal with it, use it and even love it are all really helpful in order to perform at your best.

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A reservoir of resilience

In part three of our series on resilience, Chris Shambrook, our Performance Director and member of the GB Rowing Team’s support staff, shares some simple ideas about resilience built up over the last 4 Olympic Games.

Working in elite sport for 20 years and having the chance to see high performance through the eyes of some extraordinary companies and their people, I’ve seen resilience in action in a wide variety of situations. I’ve pulled together a few of the ideas that have particularly helped me work to develop resilience over this period, quite a few of which I’ve benefitted from personally as well.

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Rethinking resilience

In the second of our series on resilience, Katherine Bond, one of our Human Performance Experts and Consultant Performance Psychologist to ParalympicsGB, shares some thoughts on resilience from her 12 years of working with Paralympic athletes.

I’ve had the good fortune to work as a psychologist with Paralympic athletes since 2004. Rio will be my 4th Paralympic Games. It’s a privileged position to work with highly talented, world class athletes, and in many cases phenomenal and inspirational human beings who embody resilience. It’s taught me much, both professionally and personally, and continues to shape my thinking about the human spirit, mindset and capacity to perform.

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Developing the power of a resilient mind

Resilience seems to be a hot topic at the moment. When times are challenging and we’re facing many changing demands, the ability to withstand what is thrown at us and bounce back quickly from set backs is all-important. So we asked our athlete ambassador, Sophie Radcliffe, to explain what resilience means to her.

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like if you never got knocked back? Things happen to us daily that hit us and disrupt our path to our goals. Physically, a knock can result in injury and distress, but often it’s mentally a knock that can affect us the most, hitting confidence and determination right where it hurts.

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So you want a more confident team?

In supporting some great people over the last 4 Olympic Games and building up to number five, team confidence is something I’ve spent a huge amount of time thinking about and helping out with. Growing confidence further, or repairing it when it’s broken, makes no difference – the challenge is about more of it. So, how would I be helping your team?

Confidence is always on the agenda

Confidence building work is a classic example of common sense that isn’t commonly applied. So, get ready to start thinking about using these simple things consistently to deliver impact!

The best teams I’ve worked with have always had confidence on the agenda. They don’t wait for it to go missing before looking to grow it and they don’t relax when they feel they’ve got loads of it.
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