Bring Your “A” Game

Posted by on Jan 30, 2014 in Leadership | Comments Off on Bring Your “A” Game

Are you ready for change?
Have you noticed that at the New Year there are a lot of tips on how to achieve goals and make important changes in our lives? I think most of us want to perform at our best. Important leadership initiatives require peak performance. Have you ever looked at yourself or someone you supervise and wonder what it takes to achieve and maintain peak performance? Many people might guess that you need ambition, a positive attitude or a strong work ethic. What is your guess?

What does it really take to achieve and
maintain Peak Performance?

At the beginning of a coaching engagement I assess a leader’s readiness for coaching and change. Peak performance can’t be achieved by merely having the right leadership behaviors or a positive attitude. What is most important is having general well-being and a network of personal support. General well-being includes: getting sufficient sleep, eating the right food to maintain optimal energy levels, taking regular breaks, reducing stress, being healthy physically and emotionally, managing your emotional state and practicing self-care.  A strong network of personal support includes individuals with whom a leader can be open, undefended and vulnerable. They can be associates, family, colleagues and friends. They might even have a coach.

If you want to make Big Changes, you’ve got to
“Bring Your Best Game.”    
I was recently speaking with the CEO of a technical service organization about his plans to reinvent his company. His intention is to use the current technologies in new exciting markets. He wants to create more jobs, opportunities for growth, increase revenues and profitability, and leave a compelling legacy for the future. He also complained that he was tired and stressed. He was struggling with getting enough sleep, taking time for breaks and exercise. He no longer was taking regular walks with his dogs and wife. He was working all the time.  He asked me what I thought about his plans. I told him he was perfectly poised to make this change in many ways, specifically: his unique abilities as an entrepreneur, brilliant technical knowledge, his exceptional executive team and being a long term successful business owner. What I told him next was a complete surprise to him. I asked him to consider improving his general well-being, specifically around maintaining the energy necessary to operate at his peak performance; that he consider improving his diet, increasing exercise, and include other practices that would increase his energy levels and reduce the stress of such a large undertaking. Essentially he needed to “bring his best game” forward. I recommended he read the book by Tony Schwartz, “Be Excellent at Anything.” This book provides information and practices for operating at peak performance, and the research data to back it up. The CEO laughed and said he hadn’t expected my response, but he liked the idea because a big concern for him was managing stress and maintaining energy as he made this whole-scale change.

If you or your staff is struggling to make important changes, perhaps a lack of general well-being or personal support needs to be addressed first. Are you embarking on important leadership goals and changes in 2014? If so, in what ways can you improve your general well-being or network of personal support?