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THOUGHTS

COACHING/LEADING FORWARD

Scott Peltin

Have you ever played a sport and been coached? Have you ever been coached at work or possibly in a hobby? Have you ever coached someone else? Have you ever watched coaches on TV, in a movie, or even in person and been moved by how good or maybe even at how bad they were? Have you ever wondered what the coaches who consistently inspire, lead, and support great teams do differently than the other coaches? These same questions equally apply to leaders. 

For my entire life, I feel like I have always been either being coached, studying coaches, or coaching someone else. In many of these instances, I was probably not even aware of who was delivering the coaching and who was being coached. In other words, I have learned just as much from delivering coaching as I have from receiving coaching. I also realized that the coaching and leading were incredibly similar and often synonymous. 

One huge difference between the best and the worst coaches/leaders was the direction they coached. The best coaches are always coaching forward. No matter what happens, they turn it into a teachable moment, they quickly turn the experience into a learnable and easily digestible lesson, and they somehow direct, focus, and inspire their student/player/worker to apply this lesson into the next thing they do. The worst coaches coach backwards. They overreact to a mistake, they personalize that error and demonize the person who made it, and they throw it back into the student’s face as if they have magically seen something that the student was unaware of. In between these two approaches is a continuum of mediocre coaches who struggle to win or improve consistently, who struggle to build trust and belief in their players and teams, and leave some form of a wake of chaos behind them. 

Coaching forward is so important because it achieves several critical things. First, it maintains and even builds the student’s self image which increases their belief in themselves. Second, it makes it clear that there is no perfection and winning/success is not about being perfect, it’s about being the best learner who can quickly correct their course. Third, it builds trust, connection, and belief in the coach/leader which creates a habit of listening, wanting to improve, and winning. When you coach backwards it destroys all of these and places such a focus on mistakes that it paralyzes the student. 

In my experience, great coaches/leaders have an amazing eye and timing for catching their players doing something right. They don’t ignore mistakes but they understand that most students are naturally harder on themselves for their mistake and want to self-correct. They apply grace, compassion, and even humor to gently point the light forward to provide clarity and a vision of what success looks like. 

In order to do this consistently, and when the pressure is high, it requires an amazing amount of self-control, awareness, and skill. It requires that you have the Sustainable High Performance to be your best and to be clear of what type of coach/leader you want to be. The best part is that when you get it right, the results will come and you will be rewarded with an amazing impact.   

As always, I’d love to hear what you think. 

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

DON’T STOP GETTING BETTER

Jogi Rippel

This week I had a very interesting lunch meeting with one of our executive clients in London. She usually likes to challenge me and I usually try to make some provocative statements to challenge her thinking as well. After the typical chat about business, politics (can’t avoid it currently), and life she asked me a question, "Why do you think business professionals struggle to make their own high performance a top priority?”  

This is a great question and one that we often discuss inside Tignum. Knowing how much our clients want to make a big impact in their world, it almost seems counterintuitive. 

As usual, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to complex stuff - and human performance itself is complex. For some people it may be the simple lack of belief that they can actually get better. For others it may be the fear of the discomfort that they may experience by changing their habits, their way of working, and their way of living. For some it may be a lack of knowledge of what to do and an insecurity with asking for help - until they finally crash. For others, it may be an insecurity in actually acknowledging that they are not as good as they wish they were. For some it could be that it is a complacency syndrome we call the “stop getting better syndrome”. They have risen up through the ranks and landed in a very senior position and now as they rest on their laurels, they falsely believe that there is no need to continue to improve. For others it is the overwhelmed syndrome which we call the “staying afloat syndrome”. In their new position, the load, scope, responsibilities, and complexity have increased so much that they are running from fire to fire without ever refilling their personal fire truck with water or fuel. There simply is no energy left for self-improvement. 

As I shared all of these unique reasons (some of which add upon each other), we discussed how sad and even sometimes dangerous this is. When Marshall Goldsmith wrote: “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, he probably wasn’t thinking about Sustainable High Performance habits. But it certainly applies. 

For most top athletes, constantly working on all elements of their performance is probably non-negotiable. They look for all the little 1-percenters that can help them sharpen their performance - technical, tactical, and also functional (e.g, how their body and brain work under pressure and fatigue). The term aggregation of marginal gains is often used. They never stop trying to get better. As the world’s number 1 golfer, Jason Day, puts it, “The one thing I focus on is to get better each and every week. If I can focus on that rather on all the other stuff, if I can make sure I am fully involved in that process, then I know all the other stuff will be taken care of.”

Getting better is a choice.  It’s a choice that is linked to a high performance mindset which is supported by the energy, resilience, and mental agility needed to constantly push the envelope of performance. It is also a choice to be vulnerable, to face the truth, to be willing to constantly recreate yourself, and to ask for support when you need it. 

As always - we would love to hear how you make sure you don’t stop getting better.

By Jogi Rippel
CEO // Tignum

HABIT CREEP

Scott Peltin

Which is harder: keeping new good habits going or preventing new bad habits from growing? This is a question we face often with our clients. They say something like, “I began a great start-of- the-day routine where I got up, drank two glasses of lemon water, did my Tignum Daily Prep movements, spent 10 minutes reviewing my calendar for the day and setting some clear intentions, ate a high performance breakfast, and even focused on a home-to-work transition. But after a month I found that I suddenly wasn’t doing it anymore.” Or they say something like, “I was coming home after a long day and enjoying a great glass of red wine with my spouse, but before I knew it I was having 3 glasses and an after-dinner cocktail. How did this happen?” Do either of these ring a bell with you?

So, which of these are the easier trap to fall in to? We have found through our coaching that actually the easier and more subtle trap is the bad habit trap. Why is this?

First, the conscious/unconscious factor. Good habits require conscious thought and planning. Bad habits seem to happen unconsciously and don’t require thinking energy. In this way, bad habits almost feel more natural.

Second, the effort/benefit factor. For example, the morning routine takes some effort up-front and, although you feel some benefits immediately, 3 cups of coffee could appear to produce the same benefit. On the flip side, drinking 3 or 4 glasses of wine doesn’t require any effort and you get the immediate benefits of feeling loose, relaxed, and carefree.

Third, the self-efficacy factor. Most of us falsely believe that bad habits won’t do nearly as much harm as they will, and we also falsely believe that we could stop them at any time. While this is always charming to a performance coach, we all know that this is not true.

Knowing that the scales are tilted toward developing more bad habits and against developing more good habits, what can you do?

First, raise your awareness of the bad habits you currently have and what benefit you may be seeking from them. For example, when you work feverishly through lunch, you may feel like it is making you more efficient and saving you time. The problem is, the potential time you are saving while stressfully eating is creating inflammation in your gut, compromising your digestion, and unconsciously forcing you to compromise your ability to focus and concentrate. Another example may be when you come home and immediately go to the bar and start drinking wine. You are clearly after the benefit of relaxation. The problem is by the third glass of wine you are starting to create an insulin response that will alter your blood glucose, you are compromising your quality of sleep, and you are damaging your main detoxification organ – your liver. When you become aware of the habits that aren’t serving you and you are aware of the benefits you are seeking, you may just find a much better solution.

Second, create a system to become aware of when your bad habits have crossed the line from harmless and fun to the point where they are diminishing your effectiveness, impact, and performance. This can be as simple as counting how many meetings you go to unprepared, or counting how many alcoholic drinks you have every night, or keeping track of how many days you don’t do any morning movement to prepare for your day. Once you have all of this written down, you can easily set a smoke alarm. When you are burning your dinner, you are producing smoke but it isn’t enough smoke to immediately set off the alarm. But if you continue to burn your food, the alarm goes off and you turn off the burner and remove your food. You can take this exact same approach to any bad habit you want to change.

Third, rewrite your self-image where you not only don’t do the bad habits, you also consciously and consistently do the good habits. Without this step, you are almost certain to have your bad habits creep back in and your good habits quickly creep out. If my self-image is of me being sedentary all day, eating nothing but junk food, winging my meetings, and then coming home and drinking myself to sleep with mixed drinks, then no matter how hard I try to create new habits, my brain will sabotage me to fail. It will start a cruel inner dialogue where I rationalize that my behavior isn’t that bad, I will try to convince myself that I am smart enough to wing it, and I will compare myself to others who are certainly worse than me. This is funny at times but it definitely isn’t high performance.

The truth is that bad habits too often creep into your life and good habits too often creep out. If you create a self-image of yourself as a Sustainable High Performer (SHP), with SHP habits, and enjoying your SHP benefits (energy, resilience, mental agility, impact, fun, achievement, etc.), your brain will unconsciously try to align your behaviors with this image. Similarly, if you attack your bad habits with awareness and alert alarms to let you know when they are getting out of hand, you can quickly and consciously change directions.

As Aristotle said, “Excellence isn’t a single act but a habit.” This is why if you want to be your best when it matters most to you, you will need to extinguish your bad habits, stop the bad habit creep, and create some great Sustainable High Performance habits. Remember, you are always just one choice away from creating your next habit.

As always, I would love to hear what you think.

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

 

 

GET INVOLVED

Jogi Rippel

As somebody who travels all the time and works with global teams, I am always curious about not only what is happening in my home country Germany, but also what is going on around the world. Recently, a close friend of mine recommended that I watch a YouTube video of US President Obama’s speech he gave in Philadelphia. Not just as an example of a high performance presenter who was in full control of his message, his voice, his posture, and even his use of stories and comedy, but also for a key message he was sharing. He said, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”  I thought to myself, that message could be given to so many countries around the world and the message would ring just as true. Unfortunately, with our busy lives, our lack of energy, and too often our negative mindsets, we too often would rather criticize or blame others instead of getting involved and playing an active role. 

As we watch the amazing feats of sportsmanship and athleticism at the Olympics, you see the same thing. A ton of complaints and criticism about the venues, the referees, the weather, the poverty, the local politics, etc. Clearly all of these things can be issues, but again we would rather blame the IOC. Once again though, this is the responsibility of all of us - the media, the sponsors, the athletes, the locals, and us as spectators to get involved to do what we can to make a difference. We are the ones who can determine the future of sport and the role it can play. 

Unfortunately, this same behavior also happens in many organizations. There is a transformation, a new direction, a reorganization, a new technology or tool and suddenly everyone becomes a helpless critic. We rarely see people who challenge the status quo, who fight for a new and better way, who jump in and get dirty, and who will try the untried even if it may be risky. Instead you hear, “I have to pick my battles wisely.” We understand because getting involved takes energy, it takes a high performance mindset, it takes resilience. Today, with limited resources and a challenging business environment, these things are in high demand. 

To be able to get involved requires a clear self-image of being active and not just being a commentator. It requires Sustainable High Performance habits and it requires a willingness to be vulnerable and to challenge your own comfort zone. Yes, a lot is going on in countries, in sports, in companies, and in your life but life, like democracy, is not a spectator sport. 

As always, I would love to hear what you think. 

By Jogi Rippel
CEO//Tignum

MOVEMENT FOR MEMORY

Jake Marx

Memory is an illusive thing. It seems to wane as you get older, it improves when you aren’t trying to remember (when you relax), and sometimes the things that you least expect to help it can actually have a big impact. Movement is one of those things. That’s right, getting regular movement can actually help you remember names, sharpen your recall, and even get smarter.

When John Ratey wrote the book SPARK, he identified that movement caused the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain. In the hippocampus this serves as “Miracle Gro for the brain” and helps build a scaffolding for robust new neurons and neural pathways. This combination leads to improved memory.

Another study showed that even a brief high intensity 5-minute bout of aerobic exercise improved performance in a face-name matching task in Irish college students.

More recently, it’s been discovered that a protein called Cathepsin B is released by muscles during exercise and plays an important role in the creation of new neurons. In fact, one study observed an increase of Cathepsin B with regular fitness training as well as a commensurate improvement in recall and visual memory.

The great thing - using movement to improve memory is very simple.

3 Strategies to Optimize Memory with Movement

_Prepare your brain by starting your day with movement. We teach our 10 Daily Prep movements but even just going for a brisk walk can be helpful. On a crazy busy day, parking further away so you get 5 to 10 minutes of walking in before you get to the office can do the trick.

_Avoid being sedentary for more than 90 minutes at a time. Building regular movement breaks into your day can spread your movement out throughout the day. Many days, I create a specific movement for the day (like prisoner squats or kettle bell swings) and I perform a couple of sets of 10 reps every 90 minutes. One app you may want to try is Time Out - just a simple way to remind you to take breaks.

_Prime your brain with 5 minutes of interval training (we call this Energy Systems Development) before learning new material or performing an activity that requires memory recall. This means pushing yourself for 15 seconds and then letting your heart rate and breathing recover. This can easily be done by climbing stairs, jumping rope, doing speed squats, going for a brisk walk, etc.

As always, if you want to multiply the impact on your memory, you should implement strategies from Mindset, Nutrition, and Recovery too. If your blood sugar is low or you’re dehydrated, if you’re sleep deprived or haven’t recovered all day, or if your self-talk is negative and low performance, then your memory will definitely be compromised. In fact, when you look at the list of skills and attributes that make up a high performance mindset, you can’t help but realize that developing your focus, your listening skills, and your curiosity will all help you improve your memory. At the same time, don’t underestimate that movement is not just for losing weight, getting stronger, or improving your heart and lungs. It’s also a great tool for improving your memory. 


As always, would love to hear your thoughts.

Jake Marx
Tignum Performance Coach

STRATEGIC PROCRASTINATION

Scott Peltin

Have you ever had a project hanging over your head and you just couldn’t find the motivation, the time, or the creativity to complete it? Every day passes and you feel more and more guilty about putting it off. You may even start a negative dialogue with yourself about how lazy you are or how you lack discipline. Then suddenly something unexpected happens. You get a huge wave of insight and energy and you crank out the best work you have ever produced. 

Traditional thinking would say that you should have bitten off a small portion of your problem every day. You should have planned out the entire project so you could stay on schedule. You should have gotten it done 2 days early so you could review and revise it until it was perfect. The funny thing is that sometimes procrastination is exactly what you need to come up with your best ideas and produce some of your best work. 

In Adam Grant’s book Originals - How Non-Conformists Move the World, he shows how some of the best entrepreneurs actually use strategic procrastination to create groundbreaking ideas. So what is the difference between just normal procrastination and strategic procrastination? 

Strategic procrastination is the product of several key High Performance Mindset skills that, when purposefully brought together, can produce fantastic results. First, it requires high levels of curiosity. Rather than jumping on the problem you are trying to solve using your first instinct, curiosity helps you look at the problem from unique angles and perspectives, with fresh eyes on different days, but always with the childlike motivation to discover something which has been undiscovered. Second, it requires vulnerability. When you are strategically procrastinating, you aren’t just sitting on your hands - you are playing with ideas, running into brick walls, asking others to challenge your ideas, and often falling short of the outcome you desire. This requires the ability to be vulnerable to honest feedback and to failure but always coupled with the determination to not give up. Third, it requires a level of confidence and belief that you will find the best solution so even if you haven’t stumbled upon it yet, you know it will come. Finally, it requires the Mindset skills of detachment and discipline where you can walk away from the problem and give your brain the space to play, to dream, and to explore whatever comes to mind. For me this usually happens when I’m hiking, walking my dogs, listening to music, or just sitting in nature staring at a mountain or the ocean. 

In the fire service we had a saying that whenever you have discretionary time (time to think), you should take it. This means rather than making a knee jerk decision when you actually have time to decide, you should strategically procrastinate because a much better answer based on much more information and insight is surely coming. Just to be clear, procrastination is not the answer to all problems because if you put off everything you will never be able to create enough space for your strategic procrastination to do its magic. But the next time you are working on a huge presentation or project, you may find that strategic procrastination can be super powerful. 

As always, I’d love to hear what you think. I won’t expect an immediate response :)

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

DESIGNING A HIGH PERFORMANCE VACATION

Scott Peltin

It's that time of year again and most of you are going to take your vacation. Sadly, our experience tells us that over 60% of you will get sick, over 85% of you will work on your vacation (not necessarily a bad thing if done right), and about 70% of you will return from vacation as tired or more tired than when you left. 

For most people, you will plan the days (how long) of your vacation, the location (where) of your vacation, and maybe even the things you plan to do (what) on your vacation. Too often many of our clients forget the 'Why" of your vacation. I know it sounds simple, but it happens all the time. 

Executives often ask us, "How long does a vacation need to be in order to recharge?" That depends on whether you are really aware that recharging was the reason for your vacation. When a person makes recharging their number one priority and plans all of the events of their vacation accordingly, they may be able to physically recharge in as little as 5 days. Unfortunately, what happens too often is a person takes a week vacation, thinks their priority is physically recharging, then exercises at a high intensity 5 days in a row and returns sore, exhausted, and definitely not restored. Why did this happen? Their actions didn’t connect with the "Why" of recharging. Instead, they acted as if the “Why" was to do a cram session/bootcamp approach to try and get physically fit. I’m not saying exercising is a bad thing, but I am saying that if your "Why" is recharging, the way you exercise will be completely different. 

Similarly, many executives don’t properly transition into and out of their vacation. Without this transition, you will bring your work self on vacation (unable to turn off, completely connected to work, somewhat detached from the family, etc.) and you will bring your vacation self (kicking back and not fully engaged, going with the flow without a plan, etc.) back to work once your vacation is over. This self-image trap can be avoided by creating a transition where you first ask yourself, “Who do I need to be to maximize my effectiveness?” both going into vacation and coming off vacation. You should also spend a little time visualizing yourself as that person so your brain can actually believe that you can make it happen. 

One common question that comes up in our coaching is whether to work or not work during vacation. The truth is that it really depends. If you would feel better by being able to just check in and cut off any potential critical items, you may want to adapt the 60-minute work sprint in the morning during vacation (followed of course by 23 hours of being fully off). If, on the other hand, you can’t turn your mind off once it gets turned on during vacation, it may be better to fully delegate your responsibilities, perform a thorough handoff at least one day before leaving on vacation, and then staying shut down throughout your vacation. Both of these situations can work, but they must be designed. If you leave it to chance, you are leaving the door open for work creep and potentially creating a huge source of conflict with your family. 

As you plan this year's summer vacation, here are a few questions to help you get what you want/need:
_Why am I taking this vacation (e.g., recharge my batteries, reconnect with friends/family, change the scenery, have fun, go somewhere I've never been, cross something off my bucket list, get back in shape, work on my golf game, finish my manuscript)?
_When I return from my vacation, how do I want to feel (e.g., relaxed, energized, pain-free, focused, passionate, creative, in love, reconnected to my family)?
_What would it look like if I felt that way? How would I stand, walk, interact with others, etc.?
_What do I need to do on this vacation to make this vision of success a reality?

Sustainable High Performance doesn't happen by luck or chance, it happens by design. This is why you may want to design this year's vacation to make it the best ever. I bet your 4th quarter results will show the difference. As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

A HIGH PERFORMANCE APPROACH TO NEGATIVE PEOPLE

Scott Peltin

Last week, during one of my coaching calls, one of my highest performing clients asked me how he could better deal with negative and overly pessimistic people. He said there are certain things he can easily handle but these people really wear him out. Yesterday, after landing at Philadelphia Airport, I stopped and asked a gate agent from American Airlines for help locating the proper gate where another one of our coaches was arriving. There was no line, she wasn’t overwhelmed with work, but still she snarled as she looked up and quipped, “How should I know?” Crazy me, I thought that between the two of us and our chosen professions that she had the edge on me for answering this pretty reasonable question. The crazy thing was that for a moment it really brought out the worst in me. This led me to reflect on a Tignum approach to dealing with the surge in negativity and anger that seems to exist today. Below is a list of some strategies you may want to apply:

1. Get more sleep. You may be thinking, “Why should I get more sleep? They’re the one who has an anger problem.” Research by Anderson and Platten, published in the Behavioral Brain Research Journal, clearly linked sleep deprivation to a lower inhibition and an enhanced impulsivity to negative stimuli. I’m not sure how much sleep the gate agent had the night before we met, but I do know that I was up at 3:30am, at the airport by 4:30am, and on a flight by 6am.

2. Get consistent exercise. Research shows that exercise improves your mood by causing an endorphin release. It reduces your anxiety and blood cortisol levels, and improves your emotional control. It also makes you feel great, and when you feel great, negative outside influences rarely affect you. 

3. Eat high performance meals and snacks so you can optimize your brain chemistry and avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). There is a reason that Snickers has produced some of the funniest commercials about avoiding being “hangry”. The brain is an energy hog using between 20-30% of your total calories. The biggest energy hog of the brain is the prefrontal cortex where our inhibitory and control of anger functions lie. When you’re hungry and your blood sugar is low, you will always struggle to be unaffected by negative people. 

4. Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink. Caffeine is a sympathomimetic which simply means that it acts exactly like adrenaline. While this may wake you up, it also prepares the brain for fight or flight and when you face a highly negative person, the last thing you need is a brain that is ready to fight. Simple switching to Green Tea can make a significant improvement in your ability to deal with negativity as it contains 1/3 of the caffeine of coffee and the amino acid L-Theanine which calms your nervous system.

5. Use self massage with a foam ball or foam roller to reduce pain and tension. These simple tools, when consistently used, can reduce nagging pain and alleviate tension to help you feel better. When you’re already hurting somewhere in your body, it doesn’t take much of a negative influence from other people to push your buttons. 

6. Do a posture check. As crazy as it sounds, your posture has an impact on other people’s attitude. If you have overly aggressive posture, you may just be calling out others to want to fight. If you have overly passive and weak posture, you may just be opening the door for others to pounce on you. The best posture is a strong but relaxed posture where you exhibit confidence but you don’t appear tense and forced. 

What do you notice about these six strategies? They have absolutely nothing to do with other people (whether they are negative or positive). Instead they focus on you improving your Sustainable High Performance so others will have less of an impact on you. Now that you’ve taken care of your foundation, let’s look at your Mindset. 

7. Reframe your self-talk from low performance self-talk to high performance self-talk. Low performance self-talk is full of drama. It says, “I’m a victim, you’re a villain, I’m helpless." It cries for help by focusing on all of the problems but never moves toward a solution. High performance self-talk focuses on those things within your control. It accepts the reality of the situation but it always moves towards a solution. One really great reframe is to see another person’s negativity and pessimism as fear and insecurity. This can help you see this other person as someone who needs your help in creating safety and success rather than someone who is trying to make you fail. 

8. Prepare for the negativity you may face. Preparation is about setting clear intentions. Who do you want to be when you are around negative people? How do you want to be perceived? How do you want them to feel when they interact with you? The human brain contains a group of specialized nerve cells called mirror neurons. These neurons not only help us learn behaviors from watching others, they also help us understand the feelings of others and develop empathy. These neurons have a powerful place in our evolution as they help us develop relationships. Mirror neurons are one very important component of why a person’s mindset is contagious. By preparing for a negative person and pre-arming yourself with a deeply rooted authentic intention of compassion, connection, and positive influence, you have a far greater chance of impacting other people’s mindsets than allowing them to impact yours. 

9. Visualize success. Once you’ve done the previous strategies, you are ready to visualize success. Find a quiet place, get yourself into a relaxed state (breathing is a great way to do this), and visualize yourself applying your Performance Mindset skills of humility, vulnerability, optimism, emotional control, compassion, empathy, etc. to the situation of interacting with negative people. When you do this, you use neuroplasticity to rewire your brain for success even in these previously very difficult and trying situations. Remember, mental visualization is a skill so it requires practice.

These are all key strategies of being a Sustainable High Performer or as we say - a swimmer. When you apply these strategies, you won’t just make sure you aren’t the negative person that is dragging everyone else down, you may just find that you are the example that helps others become Sustainable High Performers. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. 

By Scott Peltin

Founder/Chief Performance Officer

BUILDING A HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAM MINDSET

Scott Peltin

At Tignum we help our clients identify the skills, attributes, and qualities they want as part of their High Performance Mindset and then we show them the path to develop them. This is an extremely empowering process as they quickly learn that the myths of mental toughness and of being born with a great Mindset don’t hold up. In fact, quite the opposite is true. A High Performance Mindset is the product of skills that can be learned, practiced, and hopefully one day mastered. But then the million dollar question often gets asked, “This makes sense for me as an individual, or for an individual athlete, but how does this apply to a team setting?”

This is a great question because history is full of sports teams who collectively outperformed the summed talents of its individuals. At the same time, if you look at Professor Suzanne Kobassa’s research on hardiness and the importance of commitment, it implies that the right team chemistry, culture, or what we would call team Mindset may be one of the most important things for building hardiness. In the military, when you interview soldiers from elite units, they comment on how connected and motivated they are by the commitment they have to their team and their shared performance Mindset. Interestingly, when you talk to executives and business professionals who are disgruntled, burned out, and ready to quit their jobs, they often mention the horrible Mindset of the team (which is too often created and driven by the leader’s Mindset). In fact, commonly it is not the job they quit, it’s the boss and/or the team they quit and this is largely driven by the team’s Mindset. 

When you look at the High Performance Mindset skills, qualities, and attributes we have collected over the past 12 years from the thousands of diverse teams we have worked with all over the world and across all sectors, it is interesting how consistent they are. These include: Purposeful, Listening, Confidence, Solution-oriented, Awareness (self and other), Focus (control of), Optimism, Authenticity, Curious/Learning/Open, Creative, In control of emotions, Open to feedback, Goal-oriented, Clear vision, Reflective, Calmness under pressure, Never quit, Empathy, Vulnerability, Compassion, Pioneering, Concise communication, Humility, Playful, etc.  So what happens when you commit yourself to further developing these things? What impact do you then have on your team? What impact does it have when you help and support your teammates develop these? On the flip side, what impact does it have on the team’s Mindset when your Mindset falls short (especially if you’re the leader)?

Looking at this list, how many opportunities do you get in a day to practice and further develop these skills, qualities, and attributes? Once you become aware of the things you want to develop and the benefits of developing them, it is startling how quick they start to develop. Add a purposeful practice of reflecting on what you did well and what it would look like to improve on those things you didn’t do well, and you can multiply the opportunities to develop a High Performance Mindset. Now, develop a team High Performance Mindset where collectively you define the skills, qualities, and attributes you all want and need and follow the same steps as a group and suddenly energy builds, resilience grows, the hard work becomes more fun and meaningful, and winning becomes your default. 

When you develop a true team High Performance Mindset you will be amazed at the types of people you begin to attract to your team and how much easier it becomes for those with a low performance Mindset to self select out.   The key is to constantly ask yourself whether you are bringing your best Mindset to your team and whether you are building or diminishing the team’s Mindset. As always, don’t underestimate how important the total integration of your Mindset, Nutrition, Movement, and Recovery strategies are to your and your team’s Mindset. A tired and hungry brain, and for that matter a tired team, rarely exhibit a High Performance Mindset. 

Today, your challenge is to contribute to the development your team’s High Performance Mindset by bringing your best game. As always, I’d love to hear what you think. 

By Scott Peltin
Founder/Chief Performance Officer

THE VALUE OF NOVELTY

Jake Marx

Recently, while training a client, he surprised me by asking me if I wanted to box today instead of doing our normal workout. Considering that I have zero experience in boxing, I was a little anxious as I strapped on the gloves. As we fumbled through various stances, punching combinations, and elusive techniques, I found myself not only completely immersed in learning something new, but also slightly uncomfortable with my lack of mastery. 

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BUILDING THE MINDSET SKILL OF VULNERABILITY

Scott Peltin

There is probably no better time than the start of the year to be thinking of how you are going to develop your High Performance Mindset for the challenges you will shortly face. One key point to remember is that a High Performance Mindset is made up of many different skills. We use the term skills because skills can be practiced, improved upon, and even mastered. One critical skill that is often overlooked is vulnerability. At first look you may think that high performers know how to avoid vulnerability but nothing could be further from the truth. Sustainable High Performers know how to embrace vulnerability to become better. 

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