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Human Performance, Leadership & Culture, Performance | Jul 1, 2019 | 5 min read

Lessons From the 2019 Leaders Sport Performance Summit in Atlanta – Day 1

The key takeaways from Day 1 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
John Portch

The inaugural Atlanta Sport Performance Summit was a resounding triumph and here at the Leaders Performance Institute we would like to extend a thank you to all those who helped make the event such a success. For those of you who were there, here is a quick recap of the key takeaways we sent to attendees at the end of Day 1; and for those who couldn’t make it, we hope you glean a fresh nugget or two.

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Rise Up: Creating & Sustaining a World Class Organization

Speaker: Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons

Speaker: Mark Shapiro, Toronto Blue Jays

Moderator: Steve Gera, Gains Group

  • Leadership starts with humility.
  • Create a culture of learning. This enables us to go out and hire the people that would fit our philosophy of continuing to learn and get better every day.
  • Hiring is one of the single most important things you can do as a leader. It’s an opportunity to improve your organization, your culture and your standards. Our organization’s makeup is of ‘Positive, Passionate, Persevering’ people.
  • To have a culture of trustworthiness, there has to be an understanding that we’re all in it together. How do you have trust if you don’t have shared consciousness?
  • When thinking about coach development, we mic’d our coaches up and had a drone film them in Spring Training. That gave them the opportunity to look back and see how they could improve. It was really productive.
  • To build alignment all the way from the owners to the players, you need trust and connectivity. We as leaders do better when everyone in the organization does better!

A  Barometer for Success: Lessons from Meteorology in Translating Data into Actionable Insight

Speaker: Paul Walsh, IBM Services: The Weather Company

  • With data, it’s important to start simple. Simplicity is key, as there is a lot of data out there and you will probably try and use it all. But there is no need to right away, don’t over complicate it.
  • Big data is the buzz phrase, but little data is where you can probably have the most impact and can be more powerful. Having a lot of large datasets makes things hard to measure.
  • Make the complex simple. It’s easier said than done, but smaller questions will uncover answers to the complex situation. Developing a certain and specific methodology will help aid this.
  • Take the knowledge and how it affects your organization, and use that information to create strategies and execute tactics.

Future Gazing: Decision Making & Prediction in Atlanta’s Premier Bank & Elite Sport

Speaker: Ameet Shetty, SunTrust Bank

Speaker: Ryan Murray, Texas Rangers

Moderator: Steve Gera, Gains Group

  • Before you start to change your decision-making strategy, you need to make sure your culture is set up for accepting new ideas and approaches. If you’re not a data-driven organization, make sure you’re set up to become one.
  • Agility is key. There is a lot of talk about agile leadership, but being an agile leader on the whole will give you and your team the opportunity to be adaptable and make quick decisions.
  • Be clean. Regardless of how soon you want to be making decisions based on data, those metrics and numbers need to be clean. If the data isn’t clean, it’s not reliable to base decisions on.
  • Evolution not revolution. It’s about making the future better than it is now – if your data processes are not strong, then it’s about moving towards a model that will be successful for your organization.
  • It’s a huge challenge to onboard the right people. You want them to be invested into the project you are creating and the data-driven culture you want to implement. Relationships are critical.

In Full Flight: How Aviation Approaches Debriefing & Performance Evaluation

Speaker: Brad Sheehan, Delta Air Lines

  • In any successful environment or culture, debriefing is integral. How you give feedback on the wins, losses and everything in between is so important to making progress.
  • From the minute that the game or match ends, you should be evaluating and measuring its success and how it was effective in line with your game plan and performance objectives.
  • It shouldn’t just be the leader who debriefs – having an effective peer-to-peer debriefing structure in place can be powerful, and in turn creates trust amongst your staff.
  • OODA: Observe, Orientation, Decide, Act. It’s a military term that, in the world of sport, can really help to define how you analyze and evaluate.

Duty of Care: Lessons in Emotional Intelligence & Personal Wellbeing from the World of Nursing

Speaker: Kelly Hulsey, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital

Moderator: Angus Mugford, Toronto Blue Jays

  • ‘It’s not my patient’ is a forbidden phrase in the hospital. Our leadership has investment, pride and ownership in the organization. One of our mantra is ‘be an owner’.
  • Self-awareness is a big part of being capable to change. Learning how to change emotions in light of performance means you have to be conscious. As a nurse or an athlete, you have to be aware of how emotion can impact how you perform.
  • Emotion can have a very positive effect within an organization, and it will resonate with staff and athletes alike. However, it can also do the opposite and have a negative effect. It’s a tricky balance, but controlling this will help sustain a good culture.
  • The person behind the athlete, or nurse, should be thought about in line with any development. Do you have structures and programs in place for this? Looking holistically at development can, and will, have a big impact.

Semper Fidelis: Reinventing a Winning Formula

Speaker: Gen. Robert Neller, US Marine Corps

Moderator: Sam Walker, Wall St. Journal

  • Challenge culture. Again, it’s easier said than done. And that can’t be understated in the military. It took an ‘inside outsider’, aka Gen. Robert Neller, to do so. But challenging accepted wisdoms can have incredibly positive effects.
  • The norm is good, but challenging it is even better. That means breaking down mind-sets of comfort, but it also means it spreads a feeling of continuous improvement throughout an organization. This will help solve real problems.
  • To improve in the future, you have to understand the past. It’s not always as exciting to look backwards as a leader, but it’s integral to have a firm understanding on where the team and organization has been to understand where it needs to get to.
  • Tradition is a constant in most teams and sports. In line with the history point above, it’s important to understand the traditions but even more important to put it in the context of performance – strive to be better.
  • Disrupt, don’t destruct. New ideas are great, but you need backups in case they don’t work out. Don’t rush new ideas, make sure they are measured in their implementation.

For the Takeaways from Day 2 click here.

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