The UK has just had a potentially life changing referendum about exiting the European Union. Voting decisions were about single issues or multiple factors. If you voted did you think about yourself, your family, the UK, Europe, the world or some combination?
The choices are similar when it comes to performance in organisations. Do you think about yourself, your team, your department or your organisation?
Organisations encourage individual thinking and often create silos
Most people in organisations pay lip service to team (and company) goals and performance, compared to their personal ones. The balance is skewed (and screwed!). How often do you focus on team performance? How often, as a team member, do you take an active interest in how other teams are doing (apart from how their poor performance is affecting you).
Thinking about others performance and interests is necessary for the collective good. It builds connectedness and collective confidence.
We were reading about presenteeism in the workplace this week. Presenteeism, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is showing up for work without being productive, usually because you’re poorly or unfit to work in some way. Apparently it’s now viewed as more widespread and problematic by businesses than absenteeism (but maybe not during Euro 2016).
It’s an issue for several reasons – it’s linked to more sick leave in the long term, lower productivity levels, and it’s an indication of a culture where employees feel like they can’t be absent from work because of overwhelming workloads, or worse, how it’s judged if they take an illness day.
And, performance geeks that we are, we started thinking about presenteeism from a high performance angle. Here are some thoughts that we wanted to share with you…
Being performance ‘unready’
If presenteeism is about being unproductive at work, that infers, to us at least, that you’re not feeling ready to perform – you’re not feeling physically, mentally or emotionally ready. Or perhaps you’ve not done the things you need to do to be ready to perform. You’re performance ‘unready’ – and often (not always, but often) that’s because you’ve not chosen to do some things that you could have done to prepare and be ready.
It’s like to an Olympic athlete turning up to training without having prepared right – without the right kit, without the right mindset, or having been out the night before so they’re not fully rested. Actions and avoidable choices with a clear performance impact.
Dom Boon is People Director for Virgin Media. As a customer we’ve worked with him on high performance principles and he’s done an extraordinary job in applying them to another area of his life – swimming.
This blog tells the story of his serious accomplishment in May this year. Becoming one of only 500 people, ever, to achieve something special.
Imagine preparing so well for something that you perform better than you believed possible. Imagine that you break a national record that you weren’t setting out to break, and hadn’t even been thinking about.
That’s exactly what happened to Dom Boon last month.
Focus on the process
Dom swam over 10 miles of open water from Europe to Africa, across the busy shipping lanes of the Straits of Gibraltar. When he touched Moroccan land at Punto Cires in a time of 3 hours, 5 minutes he was ecstatic!
He’d developed a brilliant plan to make the most of his ability, executed it superbly and set a new British record by a full 9 minutes.
Focusing on the process meant he achieved his gold medal goal – “complete it and love it and feel I’ve nailed it”- and brought into view an outcome he’d not even considered.
Our blog this week is from Jo Webb, an independent HR consultant who specialises in supporting businesses through culture change. Jo was formerly European HR Director at The Marketing Store where she led their high performance culture change programme. We had the privilege of working with Jo on this project, and for us, she’s someone who truly understands high performance and how to embed it in the culture of a business.
There’s a lot of aspirational talk about high performing cultures right now but even when organisations do decide to go down that road, all too often it’s rolled out as a stand-alone initiative rather than being integrated into the entire business strategy.
A true high performance culture provides a company with its single greatest source of competitive advantage but fewer than 10 percent of companies actually succeed in creating such a culture.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to set up a ‘high performance’ programme as a separate initiative – lead by HR and perhaps one or two performance focused people in the business, but crucially not embraced by all leaders and certainly not united with overall business strategy and performance.
So, how should it be done?
The power of a purpose
It’s funny how there are times when the same issue or topic seems to come up repeatedly. Maybe it’s coincidence or perhaps you’re just more aware of something so you end up having conversations about it or notice when others are writing or talking about it.
Anyway, I’ve just come back from a week working with our customers in Australia, and the topic of purpose kept coming up. More specifically, the importance and power of having meaningful purpose for motivation, performance and team alignment. It came up time and time again in work and personal conversations and even reared it’s head when indulging in a bit of Australian sporting culture at the weekend. I thought I’d share three stories in the hope that there’ll be some insight and take-aways for you.
People don’t normally associate ‘sideways moves’ with success. It’s usually seen more as an interruption on the pathway to greater things. Sometimes a sideways move might even be a negative, indicating that you’ve peaked and upwards is no longer an option. But sideways moves can involve growth and development, and be an opportunity to fuel your motivation and performance readiness. So it’s worth rethinking about how we see “sideways moves” – as individuals, as leaders and as organisations.
Development happens in many ways!
In an ideal world, everyone would keep raising their performance levels and the way organisations invest in talent programmes and development opportunities reinforces that there’s a pretty fixed view of how promotions happen.
If we think about a lot of people who have thrived and gone on to great things, in many instances it’s been the experiences they’ve been thrown into, outside of formal talent programmes that have significantly helped them to grow, as well as demonstrate greater potential than has previously been seen. So, if we want learning and development, maybe it’s time to think more flexibly about how to stimulate it!
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.
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.
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.
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.