Are you fit for success?

High performers don’t just recognise that they have to perform in demanding and challenging conditions or become expert at describing how tough it is. Instead they practise habits that make sure they are as ready as possible, whatever the conditions.

You can either do the same or you can suffer.

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High performance headlines

  • Top performers understand their demands and what they need to achieve. They’re crystal clear on the result they’re after, the priorities and the work they need to do.
  • They know what’s required to meet those demands and make sure it’s in place. If it’s not, they get it in place.
  • They’re superb at keeping focused on using those resources to meet the demands and deliver, right up to the end.

The full viewpoint

Work is a demanding world and it’s probably going to get more demanding, not less. We see lots of people who are expected to take on more and who are under pressure to ‘deliver’ more with the same or less resource while never allowing their performance to take a dip. So they become experts at juggling bits of their lives or fitting more into every day.

Not everyone responds the same way. Some have become expert at talking about the demands they face. Others have started to work harder and longer. Neither seem to be achieving any more than they used to and some are achieving less, their performance drowning under the weight of pressure they’re feeling.

High performers do something different. They seem to be able to ‘up their game’ and produce their best performance in the face of increased demand, pressure and expectation. The London 2012 Olympics provided countless examples of this and as we worked with some of the athletes who thrived in that cauldron of pressure and performers in the world of work who also thrive, we were able to get even more insight into how that do it.

The answer is both simple and clever. They make sure they are brilliantly prepared by:

Getting clear on the demands

Elite performers are completely clear on the demands they face – the task, the priorities and the deliverables. Then they focus on that and no more. The other stuff – the crowd, the opposition’s preparation, the form book – doesn’t matter.  Remember the composure and focus of heptathlete Jess Ennis in 2012? A world class performer who knew and focused on exactly what was demanded of her in each of her seven events over two days.

It’s bizarre, that in a world where the demands are often greater, that leaders in the world of work don’t prioritise performance readiness, often because they are “too busy” or “there’s too much to do.” At best it’s naïve, at worst it’s professional incompetence.

Knowing what’s needed to meet the demands and getting it in place

The best performers are also superb at ensuring they have the performance resources they need – their skills, their tactics, their mindset, their energy, their support team, their working environment and if they don’t they do all they can to build it or get it. In contrast, the average performer too often just accepts the status quo, moans about it or waits for someone else to do something about it.

Exploiting what you’ve got

Top performers know there’s no point in having something that can help you win and then not making the most of it. Too often it’s not that great performers have better tools or more resources – they’re just better at making more of what they’ve got and they use what they’ve got with discipline, passion and intensity.

The principle is really simple. Amazingly, too many people in a demanding world choose not to take control by doing these simple things. Maybe because they never thought about it that way, or it just seems a bit tedious. Doing the work might not be a barrel of laughs. Though perhaps it’s not as tedious as under performance.