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Executive Peak Performance

April 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 154

We are all performers. Some of us perform in the corporate setting. Others perform in industrial, service, sporting and artistic settings.

What differs is the context in which we perform, the particular performances we make, and how we prepare. The corporate and industrial worlds have much to learn from more obvious performance worlds - especially from elite sport and performing arts.

Many corporate executives will readily recognise the different performance-preparation practices they observe in their work environments and in sporting endeavours outside of work. At the very least, we can all recognise in the high-performing sportsperson a drive and commitment to performing at the highest level, at the right time. We call this peak performance.

Peak performers get things right. They allocate the right ratio of time and effort to preparation and to performance. Individuals who consistently perform at the peak of their discipline in the sporting, performing arts, and service professions recognise the importance of preparation. Consider the relative time allocated to preparation and training for an elite athlete, a concert musician, a firefighter or a paramedic. Now consider the time that an executive typically allocates to preparing for a presentation to the board or to a key customer. The difference is stark, yet in the corporate world we expect peak results without peak preparation.

Peak performers prepare both physically and mentally. They manage both their thoughts and their emotions - avoiding both unhelpful anxiety and unhelpful calmness. They have a realistic optimism - they believe in their ability to overcome the challenges that they face, without succumbing to a pollyanna denial of the issues and challenges they will face. All of these attributes apply to the executive - making a presentation one minute, buried in spreadsheets the next - just as much as they apply to the sporting athlete.

Peak performers are mentally tough: they are confident, in control, see obstacles as challenges, and remain engaged under all conditions. With the right coaching, we can all develop our mental toughness. To maximise performance at the right time, peak performers employ a range of practices. Some practices are used in preparation to enhance performance. Others are used "in the moment" to ensure that preparation delivers the results that are expected.

Useful practices for executives who target peak performance recognise that awesome performance is created first in the mind. Visualisation has been shown to improve physical performance and to pre-wire the desired response under predicted challenging situations - consider a key sales pitch in which the executive has anticipated challenges and mentally "seen" and "heard" the way that they respond. Attention training can create structural changes in the brain that are associated with an improved ability to remain present and focused during critical performances. And identifying and dealing with unhelpful thoughts "in the moment" can prevent the irrational mind from sabotaging our performance.

So, are you up to the challenge? Are you willing to challenge traditional thinking about what it means to be successful? To work on your thinking? to begin the process of building mental toughness and grit? The rewards are there for the taking if only we can let go of our limiting assumptions.

Audacity Consulting. Radically different results.

Craig Nobbs is an executive coach with experience across the education, pharmaceutical and financial services industries. He challenges your thinking at

(c) Craig Nobbs and Audacity Consulting. All rights reserved.

Source: EzineArticles
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