Performance | Feb 6, 2019

Leaders Performance Digest

If you want to be a top rugby coach, then give football a go; Brady and Belichick maintain the status quo; plus an abundance of tips to get you in the creative flow.

Hello and welcome one and all to another insight into the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of high performance sport.

Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning a couple of exciting events that we have around the corner:

Leaders Meet: Wellbeing
We’ll be hosting a one day event all around the topic of Wellbeing at Manchester City FC on Tuesday 21 May, 2019. Here’s the draft agenda, so if you’re a member and interested in coming, email Saira. If you’re not a member but want to get involved, email Harry.

Leaders Meet: Women in Sport
We’re hosting an event on International Women’s Day, Friday 8 March, 2019, as part of our Leaders Meet: Diversity series in partnership with Facebook. We’re being ambitious and simultaneous events in London and New York at Facebook’s offices – so if you’re interested to hear more and register interest, get in touch.

As an FYI, I’m off on holiday/vacation on Tuesday, so this will be the last digest for a few weeks – how on earth will you cope?!

5 questions, answered

1.    What helped Gregor Townsend become a world class coach?

2.    When does your intelligence peak?
In our 20s? Our 30s? Maybe our 50s? Here’s some explanation on Scientific American in this short piece, also available as a 9min audio.

3.    How do you find out the culture of an organisation, before you join it?
Ask people to tell you stories about things that happen there but wouldn’t elsewhere.

4.    There’s no ‘I’ in team, is there?
But there is (kind of) a ‘me’. So, if you want your team to improve, then maybe have a look at and work on yourself first.

5.    How can you unlock your team’s creativity?
HBR, and Rebecca Shambaugh in particular, can give you some advice. Furthermore, if you want to encourage creativity in your children (or even youth players, for example…) then let them get bored again.

The Digest, Digested

Go with the flow
While we’re on the topic of creativity, sometimes it can be super difficult go get in ‘the zone’ or the ‘flow state’. Easier said than done of course, but Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (who ironically has a name that is not easier said) was obsessed with the topic, and has worked on it tirelessly ever since.

Brain O’Clock
Although we’re in danger going OTT with the creative theme, there has been plenty of research into what time of day you are at your most productive. When to rest? When to do those tricky tasks? Here’s some advice on how to plan your day.

Lessons from LIII
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots won their sixth Super bowl. Unsurprisingly, there were a few leadership lessons to take away from that Sunday in Atlanta.

Here are a further ten lessons, teaching us all about the art of execution.

Trust issues
There wouldn’t be many more trustful relationships than Brady and Belichick you’d imagine, and considering their success you’d imagine the rest of the organisation trusts them too. According to Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, there are three elements you need: positive relationships, good judgement/expertise and consistency.

All at sea
Lots of leadership lessons from land or indeed the sea, and here are some from ocean athlete Nick Maloney, who shares his experience and tips on having the motivation to win and how important it is to have a good team.

Speaking of land and sea, here is a session from a few years ago with surfer Andrew Cotton and adventurer Kenton Cool on how they harness emotion to gain a competitive advantage.

The future’s bright
The future’s orange human? I mean, we’ll be around for a while. But in this context, and the ‘rise of the machines’ there is still hope and meaning even with the likes of robotics, AI etc. coming to the fore.

Play up Pompey
It’s been a rollercoaster few years for the south-coast side, but the future looks bright there too. They’re showing their commitment to young players, and it looks like a decision that will positively enhance results.

Half full or half empty?
No, not your pint glass now that ‘dry January’ is officially over. I’m actually referring to your brain and mental strength. This piece of research suggests how your effort is actually a sign of progress.

Mental Health – let’s talk about it.


Beetle deuce, anyone?


We caught up with the New York Knicks’ Mubarak Malik when they were in town a couple of weeks ago, and our latest podcast explores how his role as Director of Performance has evolved during his time in the NBA.


Sign up to our newsletters

To ensure you’re keeping up to date with the latest intelligence, sign up (for free) to receive newsletters.


Become a member

Join our exclusive community of 600 leading global performance organisations and access insights, ideas and individuals that will challenge your thinking and maximise performance.

Become a member