Being a hybrid, or new breed, of company in the business performance world we are often perplexed at how many people want to always put you in a box. Oh I get it - you guys are a wellness company. Oh I get it - you guys are a team building company. Oh I get it - you guys build energy. I guess in some ways we should be happy that people resonate with some of the benefits we deliver but we have come to realize that being part of a new breed isn’t always easy for people to understand.
If you look back in sports to 30 years ago, athletes did very little performance training. You were either strong, fast, agile, and confident…or you weren’t. Then along came strength training and suddenly athletes were benching and squatting huge amounts of weights but the training was not very specific or refined. Still, performance improved and the idea of performance training in sports began evolving. Now 30 years later, training high performance athletes is a complex endeavor. You have strength coaches, speed coaches, movement coaches, flexibility coaches, massage coaches, skill coaches, psychologists, sports nutritionists, etc. As the margin between winning and losing diminished (and the investment teams made in their athletes increased), the need to find every possible way to improve performance became critical. Similarly, the amount of support that is required by the athlete to perform at the highest level has also increased.
In my opinion, today’s business world is where sports were 30 years ago, except the demands are much higher, the available time to train and recover is much shorter, and the cost of losing is much greater. While a lot of training has gone into the strategy and leadership of business, very few people have looked at the human side of business performance. As executives begin to break down from the huge load of external performance killers, companies reach for health and wellness programs as a quick fix. The problem is that while this approach has some value, it is the equivalent to just telling an athlete to lift some weights like they did 30 years ago. With health being the absence of disease, and vitality being the state of being strong, energized, and active, clearly there are some raw benefits to these programs even if they are only treating the symptoms of the problem. But when you look at performance as being focused, strategic, present, engaged, resilient, agile, solution-oriented, and innovative, clearly you see that just having energy or being healthy isn’t enough.
As the demands on today’s top executives increase, clearly the need for advanced human performance strategies has also grown. Businesses who want to win have invested heavily in their critical talent (we call them the critical 1%) and if these leaders and teams don’t deliver, the business will fail. Ironically, why did athletes reach out for advanced training and support from performance specialists? It was the increasing level of competition, the narrowing of the margin between competitors, and of course the huge value in being the one who wins that led athletes to today’s complex and advanced training methods.
As you look at the growing amount of external performance killers, the need for high performing talent, and the limitations of the human brain and body to sustain high performance without support, you can clearly see that we don’t have 30 years to wait. Digging into the human “black box”, dissecting the demands that today’s business world places on top talent, and developing pragmatic solutions that will create high performance is the only answer. We must look under every rock (mindset, nutrition, movement, recovery, preparation for key events, etc.) for every opportunity to develop and support talent. This is the competitive advantage that many top athletes are enjoying today and it could be the competitive advantage for companies tomorrow.
As always, let us know what you think.
By Scott Peltin
Founder & Chief Performance Officer