Last week we asked a team what sprang to mind when they thought about team building. Do you know what they said? “Water!” Water!! How have we got to a place where team building in business prompts thoughts of building rafts?? We think we can do better than that.

There has to be a better way

Raft building. It’s like taking a rowing team and, to prepare for the Olympics, putting them through a business simulation exercise. Maybe, just maybe, if there was a very specific reason.

But before that, in the first place, there are some very straightforward team performance principles that are worth establishing. These are simple and in most cases pretty easy to apply. They’re all about performance. And we mean performance, not results.

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Dealing with Change

In this week’s blog, Sophie Radcliffe, a K2 ambassador, athlete and adventurer shared her thoughts on change.

We think we aren’t great at dealing with change and we don’t welcome it in our lives. Yet, not dissimilar to the eruption of a volcano, the initial mess can cause frantic behaviour and be hard to deal with, but once the dust settles, leads to a new order, a new mindset and ultimately, a new way of doing things that creates personal and professional growth.

The Initial Eruption

Change can blindside us as we go about our daily lives. For me they were the day my Mum told me she had cancer, when my Grandfather died, the day I walked into work and my Director called a company meeting, announced they were closing down an entire division of the business and sent everyone home.

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A Festival of learning

As you know, we’ve a passion for performance and a while ago, Keith came up with the beautifully simple idea of creating an event that would help share this passion in a whole new way. And so Performance Fest was born.

We love the chance we get to work across a very diverse range of human performance environments – from Paralympic Kayakers to Insurance Industry Leaders, we are able to focus on helping people do what they can, but don’t. And that similarity and diversity is what got Keith thinking.

Everyone’s a performer

Across all of these different areas where we’re lucky enough to work, everyone is a performer, challenged with constantly using and developing their expertise to achieve some amazing things. Although very different fields of play, the passion people show for wanting to become more expert is where the Performance Fest comes in.

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Performance Fest 2016

What is it?

The Performance Fest is an immersive day of life-changing experiences, developed by human performance experts PlanetK2. This ground-breaking event will take place on September 9th this year at London’s Tobacco dock and will give attendees an opportunity to leap outside of their comfort zone, taking part in a diverse range of learning experiences such as Brazilian drumming, martial arts, landing a Boeing 777 and coding an app.

Each experience will be led by experts and viewed through the lens of high performance learning, with leading psychologists helping us to learn from both the professional’s approach and the novice’s learning experience. The festival will feature such indulgences as massage tents, power nap pods, a mindfulness corner, street food and performers.

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Impossible or I’m Possible?

garethjonesOur guest blog this week is from Gareth Jones, a K2 Hall of Famer. Not only is he a highly experienced business leader (most recently he was CEO of Dunn and Bradstreet in Australia and New Zealand), but he’s a great example for us as someone who not just understands, and talks about performance, but who lives and breathes performance in what he does and how he leads. We asked him to put pen to paper for us, and as usual, he hasn’t disappointed!

It’s been a big few weeks for Liverpool Football Club. Last week was a moment in history as the inquest into the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 found that 96 victims were unlawfully killed and there were police failings – a battle long fought by the relatives of those who died. On the pitch, Liverpool were in action in the semi-final of the Europa League. It was a disappointing result as they conceded in the final minutes of the match to head into the second leg 1-0 down.

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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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