Performance | Jun 13, 2018
Nadal is the 11-time King of Clay; the World Cup is here, hip hip hooray; talk about mental health, it’s okay.

Welcome back one and all to yet another edition of the Performance Digest – a concoction devised with a pitcher of insight, a pint of content and a shot of inspiration. So drink up, leave us a tip, and enjoy.

What an exciting few weeks…

5 questions, answered

  1. What are the secrets of improvisation?

And how can that help us in sport? Take a look at this superbly curated piece exploring the creativity. The academic research backs it up – it pays to be creative, so don’t let the ideas get lost.

Oh, and you might like our session back with the Upright Citizens Brigade back in March at Red Bull, Santa Monica.

  1. How FAST are your goals?

And I’m not talking about the World Cup. As an organisation, goals help you drive strategy and execution – but do yours pass the FAST test? Have a go at this quiz…

FAST beats SMART, apparently.

  1. Is our obsession with performance data killing our performance itself?

Maybe. Research shows that in many industries, the performance levels drop the more they are measured and scrutinised. Can the same be said for sports?

  1. How do you select an All Black?

Well, although there is a bit more science involved these days, John Hart’s 14 principles of selection still ring true.

  1. Is sport making progress when it comes to talking about mental health?

I certainly think so, but there is a long way to go. Well done to Danny Rose for bravely opening up to the media about the hard times he has/is going through.

Scroll down for a new dedicated section on mental health towards the end of the digest, too.

The Digest, Digested

The Left Side of Steve Kerr’s Brain (8mins)

Why Emotional Management is a Leadership Imperative (3mins)

A new study on the psychology of persistent regrets can teach you how to live now (8mins)

Sometimes bad ideas can be incredibly useful (8mins)

Want to create an impact? Put your personality in play (3mins)

Become a more productive learner (4mins)

How to Use Inclusive Decision-Making To Drive Innovation And Performance – Part One (5mins)

Men Share What Danny Rose Speaking About Depression Means to Them (5mins)

What to Do (and Not Do) When You Feel Insecure (13min listen)

Lessons from Leaders Meet: Human Performance (9mins)


Golden State of Mind

It appears that Steph Curry’s hands weren’t necessarily the most important body part in the Warriors’ organisation this year. The left side of Steve Kerr’s brain, turned out to be pretty important. But maybe to be even more specific, it was the analytical mind of Sammy Gelfand.

Coach Kerr might make a pretty good POTUS one day, too…

Mixed emotion

There are a list of ‘go-to’ leadership qualities that people always list – decision-making, communication, accountability, passion etc. But softer skills are usually overlooked, so what about emotional management? It’s no surprise that successful coaches like Kerr or Guardiola hug as much as they rant.

No regrets

Should have picked a different player? Should have used different tactics? We all have regrets, but a new study has shown that the way in which we deal with regret can help us live better lives going forward. Sometimes, remembering the bad times can be more pro-active than trying to forget them.

No idea is a bad idea, right?

No regrets, right? Well, not completely. But sometimes bad ideas can be incredibly useful. Looking at perspective outside of your norm, or a team’s norm, can be refreshing and impactful.

The Italian Job

Sometimes people overthink leadership. It’s not as complex as it’s cracked up to be – just ask Ferruccio Lamborghini.

Personality test

Leaders’ personalities come in all different shapes and sizes e.g. How does Klopp compare to Pop? It’s not all about whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert though of course – there is room for both. If you want to be impactful, take a step back and see what you’re doing now, as your supposed weaknesses could well be your strengths, too.

Learn a thing, or ten

Hopefully we help to teach you a thing or two from time to time. After all, adults are learning more and more every day – five times more than in 1986, in fact. But is all this information going in one ear and out the other? Very possibly. That can change – here are four ways to become a more productive learner.

Quick wins

Casey in Detroit, Gruden in Oakland or Emery in North London, they’ll all be after one thing – quick wins in their new jobs. It’s the go-to cliché when a new head coach takes the reins. Albeit true, there is research to suggest that leaders should be wary as it can have a negative effect on culture and relationships in the long run.

The power of inclusion

Research is revealing that there is a harmful correlation between a lack of workplace diversity and inclusive decision-making – here’s part one from Forbes on how you can use inclusive decision-making to drive innovation and performance.


Mental Health – let’s talk about it.

A new standalone section of the Performance Digest, dedicated to the discussion around mental health and raising awareness within sport. It’s okay to talk about it.

How can you help control your stress? Talk to yourself.


We hosted our annual Leaders Meet: Human Performance at the wonderful Williams Racing in Oxford. There were sessions on Psychological Safety, Data Driven Decision-Making and Creating a Holistic Approach to Performance – all the session videos found here, and key takeaways are here.


Don’t worry, be happy. That’s the advice of Prof. Dan Cable, Dr. Selin Kesebir and Dr. Michael Parke from London Business School – happiness is linked to productivity, so a happy workplace is integral to success.

If you liked this, you’ll love Dan Lerner’s talk on ‘The Science of Happiness’ from our Chicago event in 2017, too.

Truth hurts

Here are 4 harsh truths that will help you to become a better person. Cheery, I know.

He means business

Adam Grant once again imparts his wisdom upon us as he highlights 10 business books that will make a splash in the months to come. No lack of leadership insight throughout, I’m sure.

Got a big decision to make?

Consider these 4 questions before you take the plunge.

From Russia with Löw

It’s not just the star players that clubs should be watching this summer in Russia, it’s the coaches too. What makes a top level coach anyway? Here are five common features.

Remote control

Ironically, I’m WFH as I type this. But is it beneficial and productive on the whole?


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