So often in sports you hear athletes talking about trying to gain a competitive edge. It may be a training secret, some special equipment, a new supplement, or even a superstitious ritual but they all have the same purpose - to provide what they think will help them be more competitive. Occasionally, you see an athlete who won’t settle for just a competitive edge; they want a winning edge. Last year we saw this in tennis player Novak Djokovic as he became more physically fit, adopted a new performance nutrition regimen, improved his recovery between matches, and most important - developed a high performance mindset. The result was clear in that he was no longer just competitive, he was a winner. In fact, he became the #1 player in the world, dominating two of the greatest players in modern men’s tennis (Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer).
The ironic thing is that over the years we have worked with many leaders, and their teams, and listened to them tell us how they want to be more competitive. When we dig deeper, they share stories about streamlining their supply chain, reorganizing their HR functions, redesigning their talent development program, and maybe closing factories or consolidating locations to reduce overhead. Almost always, the goal is to improve their P&L statement so they can be “more competitive”.
This past six months we have heard a different story. It may just be the group of CEOs we have been around, but the conversation is changing. CEOs and their top leaders are looking for a winning edge. Staying competitive is no longer enough. Just like in professional sports, the best CEOs are realizing that in this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world, they need to find every edge possible to win.
Looking at the data that we have collected, after working with thousands of executives from all over the world, we can clearly see an opportunity to create a winning edge that many CEOs and leaders are missing:
_90% of executives say they don’t prepare their brain to perform their best for high impact events (i.e. meetings, presentations, negotiations, strategy work)
_75% of executives say they have no strategies to improve their personal performance for future events
_63% of executives had impaired metabolic function which decreases energy, leads to brain fog, and causes altered hormonal responses
_85% of executives had impaired movement patterns which leads to pain, tension, and reduced energy
_84% of executives stated that they wish they had more energy so they could give more energy to others (colleagues, team members, direct reports, family)
When we look at this data, we have to ask ourselves, what is the opportunity cost of allowing these statistics to persist? What would be the economic value added by improving the executional stamina, mental agility, resilience, and energy of these critical 1% leaders and their teams? How much better could leaders be if they fully prepared themselves for their key events, developed a high performance mindset, optimized their metabolic function to feel as good at 5:00 pm as they felt at 8:00 am, reduced their physical distractions of pain and tension, and maximized their energy so they could be energy givers to their teams and their family? If you asked Novak Djokovic two years ago what a difference little changes could make, he may have had his doubts. Ask his competition today and they’ll tell you it’s huge.
Have you done everything possible to create a winning edge? Where do you fit in these statistics (and your team)? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Jogi Rippel & Scott Peltin