improving performance using performance psychology
and mental skills
There is a distinct lack of an approach to performance from a mental perspective whether you look at it from a corporate or sport or exercise perspective. The standard approach tends to be technique, rules based or physical. Latterly there has been some recognition of the mental approach but this is usually short term and used when there is some sort of crisis when all too often it is a matter of too little too late. This then tends to result in the 'well I tried it but it didn't work - it's all mumbo jumbo anyway' attitude.
All roles whether it is in sport or the corporate sector should have a regular approach to the mental side of performance to get the best out of your job or sport. Whilst many aspects of performance psychology or mental skills training are relatively easy to describe they usually require a great deal of dedication to make them work effectively ie. when it matters, when you have to, for example, perform during competition, make a presentation, negotiate an acquisition, deal with excessive workload, or deal effectively with a corporate downturn, crisis or failure.
We would recommend that everyone looks at this aspect but lets look at a
few examples to illustrate how a mental skills approach can help:
Excessive workload can result in anxiety and stress and usually needs managing quickly
Everything is important so where do I start requires clarification of direction and goal setting
Developing or understanding strategy involves an understanging of the bigger picture - vision
Making an important presentation causes excessive nervousness, a blank mind and even physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, dry mouth, rapid heart beat etc. needs relaxation
An inability to stand up for yourself and delivering when it matters requires a 'game' plan and confidence building
Going through the motions indicates demotivation which may mean you are in the wrong job or, the organisation or more probably your line manager has not given you the necessary reasons to get you 'up for it'.
Leadership; you've been promoted to CEO or the Board or perhaps been given the role of leading a team for the first time. Giving the right impression to your staff about who and what you are, are critical - and then delivering on a day to day basis.
Dealing with a crisis requires the right focus at the right time and the belief and drive to follow it through taking into account relevant information and disregarding irrelevant information. Such belief/vision and drive requires mental toughness - can you take the heat when everything is thrown at you and many begin to doubt you or the decisions you are making.
These are just a few examples where we can help with a combinaton of mental approaches combined with the experience of having been in those situations or having seen them at first hand. We can develop a coaching or mentoring approach to help you.
Call us for a discussion on any aspect of performance that concerns you or your team on +44 (0)1491 636300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you right back.
Additional information can also be found by looking at Keith Irving's profile on the professional sport and exercise site iStadia at www.istadia.com/go/keithirving.
improving performance using psychometric testing
The easiest way to improve performance is to identify your best people and replicate them*. Too many businesses do not really know who their best people are. Use measurable criteria to identify your top performers. The old adage about not being able to manage what you don't measure applies – in spades.
Learn what makes them the best. Characteristics of top performers can be measured and recorded. How many times have you heard “if I could find more people like him (or her) then we could make a fortune”? If you know these characteristics then new people with the same can be found, but more importantly you can focus on keeping your best. You can then look at ways to compensate them so they feel good about what they do. A lot of these people do not want promotion or other jobs that pay better, they want to be recognised for doing a good job where they are.
In addition those people with the right abilities can then be trained**. Those applicants/employees without traditional qualifications (degrees, years of experience) but have the right abilities can be trained. Conversely those without the right abilities will never be top performers whatever the amount of training.
The notion of training anyone to do anything does not work. “We know pigs don’t have wings but we still send pigs to flying school every day”. Select employees with the right characteristics and abilities. The Profile XT can do this for you. This measures whether a person can do the job, whether they want to do the job and ultimately whether they will stay in the job. These factors are then compared to those same elements required for the job in question. Your top performers will have a high percentage fit. This is called job fit or job matching.
By the way pigs may never be good fliers … but they can run quite well. Train your pigs to run and send your eagles to flying school. In both cases you can produce top performers, and your profits will be reflected in your good business practices!
*If you don’t have top performers you can still define those abilities and characteristics that you want embodied in your staff to achieve top performance. We can help you do this. For a free job assessment survey email us or call +44 (0)1491 636300 or click the need help? box in the right hand column.
**Keeping the People Who Keep You in Business. F. Leigh Branham