How Executives Can Learn from High Performing Athletes

How Executives Can Learn from High Performing Athletes

Aoife Harrington, May 2011

The performance of elite athletes and those who excel in business is alike in many ways and both of these high performing groups can learn much from one another and how they excel in their relative fields.  Countless research endeavours have found that how top sports people approach their respective games – and often their professions – is akin to how business leaders drive change and growth in organisations. Therefore, by looking at some of the key techniques and approaches used by high performing athletes, we can isolate new ways in which business leaders can continue their professional development and, importantly, continue to exact successful outcomes.

6 Lessons that Business Leaders Can Learn from the World of the Sporting Elite:

  1. 1. Learn the Fundamental Skills

Mastery of basic skills and competencies of a game is the most basic ingredient of success for any athlete. Where many athletes have been found to fall down, is spending too much time on learning the tricks of the trade to the neglect of learning and embedding the trade itself. For both athletes and executives, therefore, the basic skills or competencies need to be learned and relearned until they become second nature.

  1. 2. Develop Drive and Focus

One quality that all successful athletes have in common is their drive for success. High performing athletes tend to be very focused in one particular area – often referred to as single-mindedness – and they tend to go the extra mile to be excellent at what they do. Drive has been found to be closely related to having a clear vision for success. This illustrates the importance of spending time deciphering your vision – what you really want to achieve and where your passion lies. Your vision can be made all the more real by writing it down, in a sentence of two, and reefing to it regularly – thinking of it as your personal mission statement.

  1. 3. Practice Visualisation

Many sporting greats over the decades have acknowledged that one of the most important steps in their preparation for a game was visualisation of that game in advance. They reported that this gave them the feeling of ‘having done it before’ and that when they got out onto the field of play it felt almost second nature. Visualisation typically involves going through a performance step by step ahead of time. The good news is that virtually anything can be rehearsed ahead of time – like giving a good presentation at work or delivering tough feedback to a colleague. By mentally taking yourself through the steps that will be involved – from entering the room, to greeting the audience to the effective delivery of the task – actual performance can be enhanced and you are likely to feel more relaxed and at ease in your delivery.

  1. 4. Be You’re No 1 Competitor

Striving to better your personal best is what sets elite performers apart from the average sports person – ability aside of course. Top athletes have reported that setting personal goals that are relevant to their own performance is much more potent that setting themselves goals against a competitors standards. Top sports people rise to the challenge not to just win but to do their very best. Setting your own personal learning or competence goals rather than just following goals that are set by others (in a performance review for example) will return control to you – the executive – control over your expectations, your goals and the resultant effort you invest in order to achieve these.

  1. 5. Elicit Feedback and Take it on Board

Getting feedback from a trusted source and listening to that feedback is integral to sporting – and indeed business – success, as it can help a person to understand what they are doing well but also what they are not doing so well and thus what they can improve upon. It is very important, however, that you elicit feedback from someone whose opinions you trust and respect and that you are willing to take action to rectify the skills or performance deficit identified. A mentor at work, a trusted colleague or even your own personal coach can be very useful in this regard.

  1. 6. Learn from Defeat

Adversity, and your personal response to it, is central to continued high performance in both sporting and business arenas. Athletes lose games all the time – just as business leaders fail to win clients or that much sought after promotion – but it is their personal response to this and what they do after the loss that will differentiate the average from the great.  Great athletes and business people, although they will feel a sense of loss – their focus is likely to be on what they can learn from the situation, what weakness or deficit it may have exposed and what changes they need to make to ensure future success. Setbacks are both normal and inevitable in life. It is your response to them, however, and your impetus to change following them that will determine the likelihood of your future success.

The 6 key approaches outlined above which are frequently utilised by those who excel in sporting arenas, can easily be transferred to the organisational context to drive performance of executives at work. Basically it’s about mastering the fundamentals, visualising success, refining vision and drive, learning from mistakes, taking feedback on board and striving to go one better every time. Just like in sport, a business or executive coach can help you to gain focus, clarify vision and revitalise drive – they can hold you accountable to your goals and they will challenge you to think differently, do better and aim higher thus making the most of your skills, abilities and attributes.

For more information on how the highly experienced executive coaches at DavittCorporatePartners can help you to achieve this and more, call us on +353 16688891 or consult our website www.davittcorporatepartners.com for more information on our executive coaching, leadership development and other services.

DavittCorporatePartners wins ESB contract

DavittCorporatePartners wins ESB contract

DavittCorporatePartners are delighted to announce that we have been appointed as one of ESB’s preferred suppliers of Psychometric Testing services for their Senior Management Selection Process. Having already worked with ESB for a number of years, we look forward to continuing our longstanding and excellent relationship with all in the ESB.

Personality and Organisations

The study of personality represents one of the largest areas of research within the discipline of Psychology. It is studied in to order to ascertain why people behave the way they do, and by doing so it is hoped that researchers can gain a greater understanding of how and why people behave the way they do.

 

Personality can be defined as ‘more or less stable factors that make one person’s behaviour consistent from one time to another and different from the behaviour other people would exhibit in a comparable situation’. Similar definitions describe personality as ‘the relative consistencies of style that people show in the way they think, act and feel, as they respond to their environments’.

 

Although these two definitions were offered almost 40 years apart they highlight the same general thinking that personality is an enduring style of thinking, feeling and behaving that reflects how each person adjusts to their environment. Most importantly research into personality has proposed that the characteristics people display allow us to predict how they will act in other environments and at other times.

 

A long tradition of research in psychology and organisational behaviour has attempted to link personality characteristics to job success. Models of personality are used in many organisational domains, including; selection and assessment, performance management, organisational commitment, team working, vocational guidance, alleviating workplace stress and management development to name but a few.

Understanding the Change Cycle in Coaching

Understanding the Change Cycle in Coaching

By Aoife Harrington, March 2011


Change is inevitable in all aspects of life. In the business world the rate of change is ever increasing, with new technologies, new competitors, new products, new markets, new customers and new demands appearing every single day. Because it’s going to happen whether we like it or not, change should be looked upon as an opportunity for growth and development – a way to make ourselves as people and the environments in which we live and work better.

 

The vast majority of people come to coaching because they would like things to be different; they want less of something or more of something else. Better leadership skills, greater work/life balance, less stress, more success. In order to make these ideals happen, however, change needs to occur. The good news is that change follows a particular cycle and understanding this cycle offers a platform for working towards change in a structured and coherent way.

 

A particularly useful model for looking at change in general and also change in coaching was developed by psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente.  It is particularly useful in helping people to break away from habitual forms of behaviour that can be problematic, for example a tendency to procrastinate, a lack of assertiveness or an inability to delegate.

 

This 6 stage model or cycle of change describes a person’s level of motivation to change behaviour and also their level of progress in actually modifying that behaviour. There are two main types of change processes outlined in the model – cognitive and behavioural. Cognitive Change Processes reflect changes in the way we think and these processes help us move through the early stages of change. Behavioural Change Processes focus on how we actually behave and these processes help us to move through the later stages of change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Stage Model of Change: How it Applies to Coaching

 

Stage 1: Pre-Contemplation:

People at this stage have no intention of changing. In fact they may not even perceive that there is a problem, even if others feel that something is wrong or needs attention. Helping to raise awareness of the problematic behaviour and providing appropriate information, in a non-authoritarian way, as to why the change might be useful are critical at this stage.

Stage 2 – Contemplation:

At this stage the person is aware that a problem exists, they are thinking about changing but have made no commitment to take action. Here the person tends to be ambivalent and while they can see some benefits in changing, they are also aware of, or may even be experiencing, the benefits of not changing. Weighing up the pro’s and con’s of changing can be very powerful in moving a person from Stage 2 to Stage 3. Considering small changes that may move a person in the direction of the bigger change should also be explored.

Stage 3 – Decision/Preparation:

At this stage the person makes a decision to change. There is a firm commitment to change and plans are formulated to accomplish that goal. This can often occur after some specific triggering event which increases the person’s motivation to change. Commitment to change should be formally documented in writing and any goals that are set should be achievable, measurable, realistic and directly related to the desired behavior change.

Stage 4 – Action:

In this stage the plan is put into effect and the change is made.This may involve stopping the unwanted behaviour altogether or reducing it to a more acceptable level. Monitoring and reviewing progress of the plan is important and people should be helped to acknowledge, celebrate and reward their success to date as well as reinforcing the benefits of making the change. Accessing support systems should also be encouraged.

Stage 5 – Maintenance:

In the maintenance stage changes are typically consolidated and reinforced. If things are going well, then the person maintains their progress in stopping or cutting down on the unwanted behaviour. People should be helped to recognise, however, that change and development is an ongoing process. Relapse can occur at this stage – and that is perfectly normal and natural. People at this stage of the change cycle should be encouraged not to lose heart if a relapse occurs, as this is not a sign that they cannot change. They should also be helped to look at their progress to date and to formulate a new plan to overcome the resistance or blockage to change and any setbacks that they are experiencing.

 

 

 

Stage 6 – Permanent Exit:

If the person is able to avoid returning to the unwanted behaviour then they can be said to have permanently exited from the change cycle. Usually this will involve effectively controlling or managing the unwanted behaviour rather than the behaviour actually disappearing. Prochaska and DiClemente propose, however, that people generally go round the 6 stage cycle several times before they are fully able to eradicate the unwanted behaviour.

 

The above model can be used when exploring change in coaching but also when trying to understand any personal change that you might be trying to achieve. Recognising where you are in the cycle, adopting effective strategies, remaining persistent, staying motivated, believing in yourself and following the process should increase your chances of kicking old habits and forming new, more desirable, behaviours.

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To learn more about our  services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Emotional Intelligence in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values

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Aoife Harrington is a Registered Work and Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

Our Outplacement Services

Outplacement Services

Presented by

DavittCorporatePartners

March 2011


During what can be a very challenging and often potentially difficult period, we at DCP have established an extremely professional, supportive and progressive programme to assist executives manage this process and grow through it using the experience to become the best they can be at this stage of their professional lives. There are at least five stages to this process, each building on from the previous one.


Step 1- Psychometrics


This phase comprises a range of questionnaires which provides you with a significant bank of information about yourself, your strengths, your preferred way of working, your leadership style, how you think and your areas for development.


In addition, completion of these questionnaires sets you up for completion of executive level psychometric selection methods you may encounter.



Step 2- Feedback of results


Full feedback of all results and establishment of behaviour based programme for moving forward, including:


  • Personal Impact
  • Interpersonal Style
  • Organisational Awareness
  • Stress Management
  • Adaptive Skills
  • Optimism
  • Drive and Focus
  • Energy and Enthusiasm
  • Any other goals that become apparent



Step 3- Curriculum Vitae


Review at the highest level of proficiency. The function of your CV is to get you to interview, by creating a strong and impactful (and truthful) resume you can open many doors to new opportunities. This is a rigorous, enlightening and highly affirming session, with hugely positive feedback and success for participants to date. Included at this stage are practical exercises getting yourself out there, establishing networks and other supporting tools.


Step 4- Personal Resilience


This session ensures that you are continuing to manage this process effectively and that your preferred focus is aligned with your personal values. You will also gain invaluable methods to ensure ongoing emotional and psychological well being, mental toughness, the best recognised ways to turn challenges into opportunities and an enhanced belief in your ability to control what is happening to you. Your ability to manage yourself is crucial to professional success.


Step 5- Preparation for Interview


Having successfully been called to meet prospective new employers, this session is designed to ensure that you present your absolute best aspects. You will determine how well you will fit with the new role and how you can contribute to the organisation. Of prime importance at this stage of the process is that you will feel calm, confident, in complete command of yourself, and will be adept at managing your impact on others, on building rapport, establishing personal and professional credibility, and ensuring that both you and your prospective new employers are aligned in terms of understanding, expectations, future focus and desire to move forward.


Logistics


This is a five phase process, typically undertaken over a six month period (i.e. monthly session) but can be completed in a slightly shorter time period if required.


You will have a sizeable amount to do between sessions, but you will be clear about what this is and a weekly call with relevant expert is part of the programme.



Talent 2020 – Talent in a Reset World

Talent 2020

Talent in a Reset World

Click here to read about Deloitte’s views on Talent Management issues up to 2020.


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To find out more about Talent Management and all our services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to:

Develop Emotional Intelligence in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




Driving learning back into the business: the 70/20/10 concept

 

Driving learning back into the business: the 70/20/10 concept

by Stewart Beamont January 2011

 

“The real finish line for learning is the delivery of business results”

“The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning”:  Wick, Pollock, Jefferson (2010) p.7

 

Introduction

As a learning professional, who is your customer?

Clearly, on one level, your participants are your customers: they rely on you to design learning programmes and facilitate in a way which provides a high quality professional and personal learning experience for them.

But your ultimate customer is the business. Any firm’s investment in learning for its professionals is intended to drive its business strategy. The real measure of our success as learning professionals is the impact that our participants will have on the bottom line as a result of the skills, knowledge and commitment that we have helped them to develop

This clearly has implications for what happens to our participants when they shake hands with us at the end of their group or classroom experience. What happens to them next? Do they get the support and the stretching opportunities they may need to continue their learning?

We see increasing use of the metaphor of “Journey” to describe the development of professional people. This simple idea is strongly influenced by the 70/20/10 model of learning, which describes the relative impact of three different kinds of learning on the development of professionals, and in particular the development of managers and future leaders.

The model suggests that for most professionals

– 10% of their learning is formal, and comes from organised learning programmes

– 70% is on the job, representing the work challenges, opportunities, successes and failures that individuals experience and think about

– the other 20% represents all the linking activities that join the 10% and 70% and make them coherent. For example, performance review, work scheduling, coaching, mentoring, action learning, promotion decisions, the opportunity to take part in new projects, and so on

It’s our belief that outstanding businesses make sure that the 20% is in place for their people. Without it, the 10% will be wasted and the 70% will be poorly planned and ineffective.

How valid is the 70/20/10 concept?

“About 70 per cent of organisational  learning takes place on the job, through solving problems and through special assignments and other day-to-day activities. Another 20 per cent occurs through drawing on the knowledge of others in the workplace, from informal learning, from coaching and mentoring, and from support and direction from managers and colleagues. Only 10 per cent occurs through formal learning, whether classroom, workshop or, more recently, e-learning.”

Charles Jennings, Head of Global Learning, Reuters

Whatever its academic pedigree, the 70/20/10 concept of development has achieved credibility in a range of organizations worldwide. It has become part of the vocabulary of Microsoft, Deloitte and Nokia. It is promoted by the Centre for Creative Leadership. It has been badged as a consulting tool by Slade Consulting. It is, interestingly, also promoted in a slightly different guise by Google as a model for creating innovation, and is described by Gary Hamel in his book “The Future of Management” (2007)

Conceptually, the 70/20/10 model can clearly be linked to David Kolb’s fundamental work on experiential learning, and the Learning Cycle that he describes through which adults convert their day-to-day experience into skills and knowledge.

In effect, 70/20/10 is the organizational version of Kolb’s model. The cycle below describes how this works in practice

The clear emphasis of the model is that formal learning programmes are important: within each learning programme, learners will be challenged and stretched, and during the programme they will travel through a continual learning cycle of input, activity and review.

However, the real Learning Cycle takes place AFTER they leave the formal learning programme and enter (hopefully) a working world in which they are given intelligent opportunities, challenged, stretched, coached, given feedback, and encouraged to move to the next level of their development.

We have known for a long time that formal, off-site learning provides a relatively small component of our professional development. Morgan W. McCall’s research (1) shows that successful people regard the following “career events” as crucial to their development. His findings can be mapped directly onto the 70/20/10 model

Assignments Work challenges, first time managing people, starting a new project, new responsibilities

Other people Role models, coaches, people giving feedback (sometimes just a key sentence or two…)

Learning events Formal courses, solo study, conferences, academic input

Hardships Failures, difficult colleagues, disappointment, personal trauma, frustration, the opportunity to work through difficulties.


The 70/20/10 model effectively responds to this research by placing McCall’s “career events” in a planned, supported context. It poses a number of challenges to any organization

How far is work allocated to individuals in a way which motivates and stretches them?

What is the quality and consistency of coaching support?

How effective are we at helping individuals to learn from feedback?

Can we construct our 10% Formal Learning programmes so that the 70%/20% are “designed in”? In practice, this will mean using action learning and sponsored projects to drive real development

It is clear that the processes and attitudes and commitment that are required to deliver 70/20/10 are the responsibility of every business leader and every business professional. However, the rewards are huge in terms of optimizing potential and business focus, and in this way it is an effective template for a successful organization. As guidance about the relative value of different activities, it’s a simple model with profound implications.

As a learning professional, it’s important to have an understanding of the journey that your participants will go on as part of your programme. You may have a crucial personal role to play in the final “action planning” part of your classroom programme, to ensure that your participants go away with clear goals, and a clear plan to achieve them.

References

1.       Described in “High Flyers: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders”(1998): Morgan W. McCall

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To learn more about how you can develop a learning culture in your oganisation, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to understand emotion and leadership

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values

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Stewart Beamont is a Senior Associate with DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

Emotion and Leadership Part 2

Why are leaders followed?


Fineman (2003) raises the question of why do we follow leaders?  The concept of emotionality and leadership is particularly relevant in addressing this question, by making emotional connections with their followers leaders can be seen as charismatic and inspire a following.


The notion of charisma is closely linked to emotion as charismatic leaders are generally those who people feel an emotional connection with. Bono and Ilies (2006) suggest that charismatic leaders express positive emotions that are transferred to followers resulting in followers experiencing positive moods.


They found that leaders who were rated high on charisma by their workmates used more positive emotion words in their vision statements and in their prepared speeches, providing support for the role of positive emotion expression in the perception of charisma.


The findings were further strengthened by ruling out other factors such as vision content, emphasizing the importance of work, or leader attractiveness as mood influencers. This study provides empirical support to prior research by Sy et al (2005) that proposed leaders’ experienced mood could be transferred to followers.


Bono and Ilies (2006) also found that a link between leaders positive emotion and follower mood to perceptions of leadership effectiveness. As follower perceptions of effectiveness are a crucial element of successful leadership this reinforces the importance of emotion in attracting and keeping followers. Indeed meta analytic work by Lowe et al (1996) supports the link between charismatic leadership and positive outcomes.


Amber Hanna is an Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

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To learn more about our  services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to understand emotion and leadership

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values

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Emotion and Leadership 1

Emotion and Leadership Part 1

The area of emotion in the workplace is one that is easily overlooked by top level management. Previous to the last decade emotions in the workplace have mainly been discussed as a hindrance to good management, as a distraction to rational decision making or a by-product of interpersonal conflicts.

More recently the role of emotions in the workplace has become clear through research in the organisational psychology literature. These two articles will focus on the area of emotion in the workplace as it relates to leadership. Fostering positive relationships in the workplace is an essential element of leadership. In order to do this an awareness of the importance of emotions in developing positive relationships is essential.

Brotheridge and Lee (2008) highlight that emotions serve as ‘the context, content, process, and the result of managerial work’. Emotion is inherent to the practice of leadership and all actions of an organisation are inseparable and influenced by emotions (Crawford, 2007).

Expectations of the type, strength and variety of emotions displayed by leaders differ greatly based on number of factors. The type of organisation involved, the profession, and social norms held by peers, supervisors, followers and customers of the organisation all play a role in determining the type of emotional displays expected of managers.

Humphreys et al (2008) highlight that in comparison to service workers managers are required to display a variety of emotions including friendliness, sympathy and social-control emotions, but they also must exercise a degree of judgement and control over their emotional expressions.

It becomes clear in exploring these issues that aside from regulating their own emotions managers and leaders often have to deal with and manage the emotional behaviour of others (Ostell, 1996); in this way leaders also become emotion managers.

Amber Hanna is an Organisational Psychologist at DavittCorporatePartners – Corporate Psychologists

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To learn more about our  services, please contact the office: +353-1-6688891 or info@davittcorporatepartners.com

Discover how DavittCorporatePartners can help you to understand emotion and leadership

Develop Leadership in Your Organisation

Win the War for Talent

Realise Individual Potential

Align Behaviour with Corporate Values