Good Monday Morning!
The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have officially started! One of my fellow board members is in charge of the PR for Canada’s Skating Team. It has been really exciting keeping up to date with all of the news and pictures on her Facebook page. One of the things I most enjoy is seeing individuals pursuing their dreams. Aside from all of the politics at the Olympics, it is truly inspiring to see the athletes’ potential played out in real time.
As teams march through the opening ceremonies, we can almost feel the excitement of each athlete, and their potential and desire to win a medal. They are all incredibly talented, disciplined and have abilities that can take them to that level. It really does take a village to raise an Olympic athlete: most importantly parents, followed by their team of coaches and therapists that keep them in tip top shape so they can peak and perform at their very very best in Sochi.
Peter Jensen is a performance psychologist who has worked with Canada’s Olympic athletes. While other coaches focus on technical skills, Jensen helps athletes prepare mentally. He coached the Canadian women’s hockey team that won gold in 2002 and 2006.
Great managers are the same as great coaches. They lead and guide their team to success. Just as in sport, the following issues are at play in the workplace: performance is measured, there is tremendous pressure, and there is a global playing field of competition.
Leading and coaching a team is all about bringing out the internal advantages that enable individuals to help achieve great results and the personal and professional success that come with results. At the world-class level, most working professionals have the same technical and strategic advantages at their disposal. However, the “internal advantage” is what will put employees over the top and provide them with the greatest opportunity to win.
Employees can choose at which level they want to perform. To use a hockey analogy, they can choose to watch the clock and use their ice time without feeling any motivation to score or assist, or they can choose to take action and put the puck in the net. The manager‘s role is to help the team start performing at the best level possible, to get them using their mental advantage to move past opponents and score those winning goals.
Just as the ultimate prize for an Olympic athlete is the gold medal, the goal for employees is to get the most out of their career. A key foundational principle is perspective: Everything starts with the way individuals look at the world. They need to understand their personal biases or slants, and be true to them in order to make the best decisions.
“It might be nature or nurture or life experiences (that form a person); it really doesn’t matter,” said Jensen. “Once you know that about yourself, you can start to make choices.”
Many people are blind to their faults, or lack self-awareness. Perception is also influenced by external factors such as friends, family, coaches, bosses and mentors. How employees see themselves, and any opportunities that may lie before them, can either be positive or negative. Perception is both external (what others think) and internal (what individuals think of themselves). Internal perception ultimately influences a person’s views and their ability to take advantage of an opportunity when it arrives. Employees need to understand clearly what is at stake and how it may impact their perception. How have they been affected by other people’s perceptions of them and what they have to offer the world?
Hard work is always important: When Jensen helped the women’s hockey team attain its dream of winning the gold medal, he helped the players with all of the above principles: perspective, imagery, energy management and focus. The players were a very talented group of women and they worked very hard for every goal and win. Similarly, managers need to be talented and work very hard on projects and encourage their team with their work ethic to make the most of each opportunity that comes their way.
Along the road with you!
“Get The Right Career, Right Now!” Wed. Feb 12th at 12:00pm. Register here.
“Managing Your Personal Career Brand” Wed. Feb 12th at 8:00pm. Register here.