Performance | Jan 9, 2019 | 4 min read

Leaders Performance Digest

Clemson Tigers crowned champions thanks to an All Black; if you need something new to read then Adam Grant’s got your back; Mickey Mouse, Mad Max and the creativity hack.
Luke Whitworth

Godt Nytår, Bonne Annee and Happy New Year one and all, and welcome to 2019! I hope you all had a wonderful festive season and enjoyed some sort of break, although knowing the world of high performance sport I can imagine it was busier than ever for many of you. Hats off to you all if so.

Hopefully nobody’s New Year’s resolution out there was to read less incredibly insightful stories from the Leaders team (sorry…), as we’re back and raring to go for another year. So grab your healthy smoothie, give yourself a bit of me time and read away…

5 questions, answered

1.    Clemson Tigers have just won the football National Championship, but what’s the secret to their flawless team culture?
Rugby. And more specifically (and unsurprisingly) the All Blacks and their World Cup winning coach, Sir Graham Henry.

2.    How should you lead for good when times are bad?
Here are six tips for leaders compiled by London Business School’s Leadership Institute.

3.    Need some new leadership reads for your bookshelf this year?
Adam Grant, as ever, has got this covered. Here’s your 19 for ’19.

4.    What do Mickey Mouse, the Mad Max movies and the discovery of DNA have in common?
Creativity. We’re all capable of it no matter our age or stage of career, and it will have big impact if approached correctly. Another top read from LBS.

5.    And what exactly is the state of play with the neuroscience of creativity?
This Q&A with Anna Abraham on the always though provoking Scientific American site should give you an insight.

The Digest, Digested

Engineering success
Following on from the previous creativity piece above, this new research shows that mindfulness is helping engineers strengthen their ability to generate new ideas, which in turn is leading to new ways of them thinking and better solutions. No doubt it can work for athletes and coaches, too.

Negative Nancy
Positive, encouraging, optimistic. Traits you’d associate with what you’d want your leader to be like. But according to Eileen Y. Chou’s research, we may think we want cheerleaders, yet in fact we want naysayers.

We before me
That’s the feeling from South African captain, Faf du Plessis, who stated he doesn’t mind if batsmen’s numbers are dropping as long as the wider team is still performing. Thanks for Owen Eastwood bringing it to my attention on LinkedIn (I nicked the title, too!).

MVL – Most Valuable Leader?
Author of Captain Class, Deputy Editor of the WSJ and most importantly friend of Leaders, Sam Walker has some interesting and justified opinions on leadership. His latest one? Get rid of MVPs, Ballons d’Or, Heisman Trophies and the like. He believes there is a better way to celebrate leaders in sport.

A Bjørn Winner
One leader that would fancy his chances of winning the 2018 MVL award would be triumphant Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjørn. How did he lead his team to glory back in that fine September weekend in Paris? By sticking to the plan.

Mistakes happen
And it’s okay to confess. That’s certainly the view of Julia Rohrer, who is on a mission to help fix the cultural issue we have of not admitting when we’ve made mistakes.

Roaring 20s?
Apparently not so much in esports, as players are burning out. 80 hours a week of practice is taking its toll, both physically and mentally.

Fluorescent adolescent
Should you give youth more of a chance? Probably, if you’re assessing it from a psychological point of view. The teenage brain is still developing, so understanding your young players (and their brains) could well be the key to coaching.

Be the needle, not the haystack
This won’t be the first piece you read about how you should use data alongside other modes of decision making (like your gut), and it certainly won’t be the last. But Cody Royle’s point is that you need to ask yourself whether data is making you different, or the same. It’s also a very cool video of the Netherlands football team of 1974.

New Year, New U
Want to commit to a new challenge for 2019? How about an Ivy League university course? For free, and online…

Mental Health – let’s talk about it.


You may have seen Cody Parker’s agonising field goal that ultimately cost the Chicago Bears a win in their game against the Philadelphia Eagles over the weekend. Touch going for the Bears’ #1, but he’s found some new friends down at Goose Island Beer Co


‘Cutting through the noise’ is what we need to focus more on, according to Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist.

It’s a numbers game…

3 is the magic number…
…especially if you ask Dan D’Antoni

4 emotional intelligence strategies…
…to help you embrace change

5 strategies for getting more work done…
…in less time

6 trends to look out for in 2019…
…according to the London Business School. Points 2 and 6 are most relevant

5-15 is an easy technique…
…to improve communication at your organisation

12 daily habits…
…of great leaders


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