Performance | Dec 6, 2018

Leaders Performance Digest

Teqball and foot squash to help young players learn; how to be creative when you’re about to crash and burn; Billy Beane knows analytics will show a return.

Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad and Nadolig Llawen to all of you and welcome to another helping of good tidings to keep you informed you of what’s as hot and what’s not in the world of high performance. Yes, the ‘Merry Christmases’ may be premature but this is the last Performance Digest of 2018 after all, so season’s greetings. Anyway, grab a mince pie and some mulled wine and let’s get underway…

5 questions, answered

1.    Why can I find a list the best places to work around the world?
Glassdoor’s annual list is the reputable source to go by. 2019’s list has been revealed, with Bain & Company sitting top in the USA, Anglian Water here in the UK and Microsoft in Canada. Lot’s to learn from these companies and their cultures no doubt, so take a look.

2.    How can you use failure as a positive?
Step 1: Recognize and admit failure.
Step 2: Turn off the thinking. 
Step 3: Turn on the feelings.
Step 4: Be ready for action.

3.    Why does your organisation need great data analysts?
Because data has the ability to open your eyes to the rich and meaningful information. Data-driven inspiration is a powerful thing.

4.    What makes a good leader?
The age old debate. Time to fix our toxic notions of what it takes to lead.

5.    What is e-scouting?
Ask Huddersfield Town FC. The club are using an app called Tonsser to help them scout out 12-19 year olds to help pinpoint undiscovered talent. Is this the future?

The Digest, Digested

A to Z of learning
T is for teqball, and F is for foot squash. Well they are the innovative games that AZ Alkmaar are introducing within their youth ranks to help their youngsters to play every month. Very interesting initiative to encourage players to be creative and make their own choices.

P is for Purpose
Staying on the alphabet theme, you as leaders are no doubt forever evolving and improving your culture, and one way to ensure it is high performing is to make your athletes and peers feel a sense of purpose. How? Three further P’s for you: make it plausible, permanent and practical.

And here is how you can make sure that purpose and mission go hand in hand.

Want to know how as a leader you should be influencing your organisation’s culture? Here’s 10 ways to get you started.

Creative state of mind
It’s definitely natural to find it difficult to be creative when you’re under the most pressure. Losing games? Go back to what you know. That’s the norm, rather than innovate with a new style of play, for instance. But is it all down to state of mind and patience? Quite possibly.

A coach is a coach
That’s the view of Chantal Vallée, who is one of the few females to coach in the men’s game. Why? Because winning is winning, no matter the sport or the gender. She’s completely right.

Not fit and firing
A worrying statistic coming out of Rugby Union this week is that 45% of 350 international players felt pressured to play or train when not fully fit, according to a recent survey. Furthermore, 28% admitted to hiding head knocks in order to return to play. One positive is the openness and passion from the players to take part and have a voice, of course.

Volatile, uncertain, complex, ambitious. That’s the description of the world of sport from former England rugby coach, Brian Ashton. But are academies and youth programmes preparing their future stars for what the industry is like?

Young puck
Early specialisation is a topic that I know runs through the mind of a lot of coaches, especially on the academy side. A new study has revealed that as little as 12% of NHL and NCAA hockey players specialised before the age of 12 – with soccer/football and baseball being the most popular sport alongside hockey.

The Curious Case of Markelle Fultz
One of the brightest stars in basketball when he entered the NBA, but due to TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) he’s never been able to reach his potential to date in the blue of the 76ers. Here’s all you need to know about the condition, which is also common in baseball.

In sickness and in health
We end on a rather cheeky note from former footballer, Stefan Kiessling

Mental Health – let’s talk about it.


Sport is no different to any other business, you’re trying to make the best decisions you can and data is just one assistance in doing that.”


There’s lots of research into how leaders transition into new roles, but what about that middle tenure? Here is a McKinsey podcast on this very subject regarding CEOs, which is very applicable to any leadership position.

It’s a numbers game…

1 hour meetings…
…should not be the default. It’s too long. Rethink.

2 things to look for in candidates…
…instead of culture fit.

3 ways that…
emotionally powerful people succeed in 2019.

4 habits that will…
…help you stop overthinking.

5 books that…
Bill Gates loved in 2018.

6 steps of…
strategic planning.


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