Performance | Jul 1, 2019 | 4 min read

Lessons From the 2019 Leaders Sport Performance Summit in Atlanta – Day 2

The key takeaways from Day 2 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
John Portch

The inaugural Atlanta Leaders 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 2; and for those who couldn’t make it, we hope you glean a fresh nugget or two.

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By Matthew Stone

As the ‘Hotlanta’ sun sets on another Leaders Sport Performance Summit, we can look back on two days’ worth of insights, stories, inspiration and a sense of purpose in taking the high performance space forward for the better.

From the Blue Jays, Falcons, Rangers, Hawks, Magic and NFL in sport, blended with lessons from IBM, SunTrust Bank, Delta, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, US Military and Mercedes-Benz outside of sport, we’ve covered a fair amount of ground over the last 48 hours or so! We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.

Thanks to our partners and sponsors – Keiser, Kinexon, Kinduct, XPL and Southern Company. It’s a pleasure as always to be associated with your forward-thinking organizations.

Thanks to Thomas Dimitroff, Justin Schaaf and everyone at the Atlanta Falcons, as well as the wider Mercedes-Benz Stadium Group for helping to make this happen. You have an amazing home and an amazing team.

Finally, thanks to you, our members and attendees. Mark Shapiro opened our first session with the quote ‘Leadership starts with humility’. A powerful and poignant thought, and one that resonates with us at Leaders because we feel proud to work with so many great, yet humble, minds and give you a platform to push the envelope once again.

Enjoy the takeaways below from today’s sessions.

Safe travels.

Good luck.

See you soon!

The Leaders Team

Range: How Generalist Triumph in a Specialized World
Speaker: David Epstein, Author

Speaker: Tony Lesmes, United States Air Force

  • What if everything you’ve been taught about how to succeed has been wrong? The way to develop a 10-year-old is different in the way to develop a 20-year-old. Many of the most talented people, and not just in sport, succeed because they find their way.
  • ‘The reality of my leadership experience was that I was leading people that were highly trained with a lot more experience that me’.
  • ‘People really changed my character. I know that it was part of the process that I was constantly going to be challenged’.
  • Pushing specialization won’t always be a good thing for your young athletes. In fact, if could do the opposite. However, emphasizing diversity can be just as harmful.
  • Top athletes usually have a ‘range’ or ‘sampling period’ – where they try different sports and have different experiences that will ultimately shape them. It means they learn more and create and understanding of their own ability.

Culture Creators: Lessons in Scaling & Sustaining a World Class Culture at Mercedes-Benz

Speaker: Lars Minns, Mercedes-Benz USA

  • ‘MB YOU: Build your worth, own your future’ 1. Invest in your employees. 2. Guide them in maximizing investment. 3. Increase creativity, productivity, expertise. 4. Be number one in the market and community with customers, dealers and employees.
  • Mercedes-Benz put new hires through a ‘brand immersion’ exercise. This means the onboarding is even more thorough, and gives new staff a real flavor of what the organization and culture is. Do you have a similar process in your team? If not, why not?
  • Feedback, as we know, is integral. Open feedback even more so, and if you have it ingrained within your culture then you will have a very thorough approach to learning and development.
  • Softer skills are becoming ever more important, and having a focus on developing them and integrating them within your culture will help to continually evolve your environment.
  • ‘Every individual must pull together. If you can appeal to the individual the team inevitably gets stronger. The intent is to get the maximum out of them, so they feel they’re a contributor to the organization’.

Total Wellness: How the NFL is Influencing the Relationship Between Wellbeing & Elite Performance

Speaker: Nyaka NiiLampti, NFL
Moderator: Josh Lifrak, Chicago Cubs

  • What is wellness? The ability to be self-aware is a huge part of that. It will give you the opportunity to identify where you can improve, excel, and realize your potential.
  • Asking for support is not a sign of weakness, if anything it’s a sign of strength. It’s not just about being able to ask for help, it’s making sure that it’s accessible to do so.
  • A lot of the time we look at the athlete and the performance, but not necessarily the individual person. If you’re setting up a wellness unit within your organization, put the person (not the athlete) front and center.
  • You can’t be reactive with wellbeing any more, you have to be proactive. Building an understanding with your staff and athletes around topics of psychology and empathy will be incredibly impactful.

A Performance State of Play: Shaping & Sustaining an Interdisciplinary Approach

Speaker: Chelsea Lane, Atlanta Hawks
Speaker: David Tenney, Orlando Magic
Moderator: Angus Mugford, Toronto Blue Jays

  • To encourage interdisciplinary work within your organization, you need to create situations and environments in which this type of cross-departmental work can happen and exist. As a leader, it’s about nurturing this and encouraging the relationships.
  • Naturally people stay within what they know. In sport, you’ll likely stay within your discipline, and probably think it is the most important. Opening the eyes to cross-functional collaboration will help to counter that.
  • Process and people are at the core of interdisciplinary work. A strong culture of collaboration will have these values front and center, good conversations and innovative work with come from that.
  • We as leaders should value opinions, and there should always be an opportunity for people within the team to share these opinions. This will help with fostering new ideas, both within departments and across different parts of the organization.

For the takeaways from Day 1 click here.

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