Charley and Sophie Radcliffe trail running above Montenvers, Chamonix.

Human Performance – not an “adults only” arena

Many of you know that I’m passionate that the opportunity and resources to be the best performer you can possibly be, the chance to be the best version of yourself as consistently as possible, should be available to everyone, not just people who are on a particular pay grade so their organisations are prepared to help them learn this stuff or just for those people who are rich enough to afford it for themselves.

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Senior succession planning – 5 top tips

We’re delighted that this blog post has been written by Chris Voller, Claims Director at AXA Insurance, sharing his personal expertise of senior succession planning. We love its honesty and practical nature.

Bringing Development for Succession to Life in a Corporate Environment – 5 top tips

Despite very best intentions, succession planning can often become a tick box exercise in the corporate world. Filling out the right forms and getting them into HR on time will normally be enough to keep you out of trouble.

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New Year – and if you’re a high performer, Same Old You

A bit of New Year philosophy to kick 2015 off seems in order… so here’s some Heraclitus for you – ‘no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.’ Fortunately for us, Heraclitus was better at wise words than he was at curing himself from dropsy (a story worth looking up!).

Given the title of this post and the wise words of Heraclitus, we thought this was a good opportunity to focus back onto some of the fundamental reasons why all of the New Year – New You concepts you’ll be being bombarded with right now are really much ado about the wrong things.

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Learning from Formula One

Lots of column inches earlier in the week were on the subject of Formula One, and in particular the this season’s all conquering Mercedes team and their two drivers, world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team mate (phrase used deliberately) Nico Rosberg.

One headline that caught our eye in The Times was by the excellent Matthew Syed (@matthewsyed) which stated that F1 is a “Culture where ‘standing still is tantamount to extinction’”. This neatly sums up an attitude we frequently see in consistently top performers. Irrespective of how successful they already are they are looking for new ways to go further, faster, higher. If they are already number one they’re thinking about what they need to change or do more of to stay there, and if they’re not already performing as well as they would like they’re considering what they need to do differently to improve. Read More

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Movember

Some of you may be aware of Movember, the men’s health charity that encourages people (men, we think) to grow moustaches through November and be sponsored for doing so.

We wondered what it would be like if Movember was also all about motivation at work – not in a party way, with cakes and superficial initiatives –  but in a way where everyone seeks to understand motivation (their own and others in their team) and there’s a collective effort to work on it and keep it high.

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Do you have any myths that need busting?

This article based on an interview with Irish rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll sees him addressing “some of the game’s fundamental truths”. There are a number of “myths” (nine of them) that O’Driscoll busts, which we recognise translate directly to business. In particular myths two, three and seven can be applied simply and easily to performance at work. We think the others can too but would invite you to see how you could take the learning from one incredibly consistent elite level team performer and consider what they might mean to you in your world. We think two, three and seven are obvious (see what you think) and would be interested in your thoughts on number nine! If you want to take this further see what other performance myths you’re believing and perpetuating which are getting in your way…

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To learn and to change – it’s not an either/or

We work as human performance experts helping businesses to think prepare and perform like elite athletes. We help people to focus their desire to improve on things they could do differently – sometimes parts of their performance that they have never considered – and often helping them to do some of the obvious things that they’ve never done because they’re too busy chasing results.

What we do then, is help people to embrace the changes that they want and need to make to get better.

There is an obvious and massive connection between on the one hand performance improvement and learning and on other hand, change. They are two sides of the same coin.

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High performance delivery

A slightly different blog from us this week. Take a look at this video of Oliver Wilson after his victory at golf’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship last weekend. How much can you see in there that tells you why and how Oliver Wilson is an elite performer.

We think there’s a lot. As a starter, we think:

  • the recognition that performance is a journey
  • a desire to improve and learn
  • recognition that sometimes talent isn’t enough (see rule 5)
  • sometimes you need to “man up” (see rule 21)
  • maintaining belief
  • working on confidence

What else do you see and hear?

Given that high performance thinking, preparation and performance are often similar from one context to another, what do you see and hear that could be applied to your world?

Often the biggest insights are the simplest ones right in front of your face.

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Talent Development and Firing Yourself

The typical approach we see to talent development in the business world makes our hearts sink just a little. We know it’s all done with the best of intent but in terms of talent development, creating and nurturing a high performance culture and crucially, fulfilling the talent that has been so expensive to identify and acquire, it’s just a bit rubbish.

Let’s get some fundamentals established first. As ever in these position papers, we’re looking at the world through a high performance lens and so the standards are high. If you’re looking for your talent development to be just OK or not bad, you probably won’t get much out of this paper. If you want your talent development programme to reflect how serious you are about human performance, then read on.

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Performance reviews in the dark

We worked with a team recently in a very large business where there was quite a lot of unhelpful noise about performance reviews being linked to pay rises. In this team, of about 15 people, the view of the leader and of the team members was that everyone was performing very well and we saw evidence to back that up. However the leader had been told that under their system, this was not possible and only a certain number of people in the team could be performing excellently (and get a higher pay rise) and that a certain number had to be underperforming (in order to get a lower pay rise).

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