the key to high performance - person holding up bike on top of hill

The Key to High Performance

Over the next four weeks, we’re going to run a series of SNAPs all about the idea of Cadence. We’ve observed a handful of challenges that HR Directors, Heads of People, Business Leaders might face in the coming 12 months. One of those is about managing multi-generational teams. Another is about how to foster a culture of belonging and connection, particularly in the time of AI. And the third is about maintaining stress resilience within a high performance culture, which is what we’re going to be diving into today…

Stress resilience

I’ve yet to work with an organisation that doesn’t describe itself as high performance. So, how do you manage stress resilience; keep chronic stress and burnout at bay, in a high performance culture? Take me as an example. I used to work in the City of London, during which time I mistakenly felt I had to constantly perform at the very highest level. And this led to serious burnout – as you’ve probably heard me talk about before. Because doing so simply isn’t sustainable. You might get away with it in the short term, but medium to long term, it’s not going to work. So we need to think about how we can better plan, pace and manage our energy.

Business as an endurance sport

Think about athletes. Now, they certainly don’t expect to perform at the highest level all year round. Take Serena Williams, one of the most decorated athletes of our time. Even at her most elite level, she won’t expect to be ‘Wimbledon fit’ all year round. Instead, she’ll likely look at the tournament she needs to perform for. She’ll get ready by making small changes that have a big impact over time – we call this ‘the Aggregation of Marginal Gains’. She’ll get that tournament played. And then she’ll take some time out before going again. And I think we can learn a lot from that. We could almost look at ourselves as business athletes. Because, in many ways, business is an endurance sport with occasional sprints. Or perhaps for you the sprints are more frequent. Either way, wouldn’t it be great if we planned and paced ourselves accordingly, like Serena Williams? 

That is the key to high performance.

It’s also Cadence in a nutshell. 

The Cadence Approach

Cadence is a simple four step approach to help you manage energy for high performance without burning out. The first phase is ‘predict’, the second is ‘prepare’, the third is ‘perform’ and the final phase is ‘recover’. So right now, in part one of this SNAP series, I’m going to cover ‘predict’. Next week, I’ll be looking at ‘prepare’. The week after will be ‘perform’. And for the last week I’ll finish with recovery, sharing a story that brings it all together beautifully. 

When are your Wimbledons?

So, when are your Wimbledons? What I mean by that is, when are the big events coming up for you professionally and personally? Professionally, it could be product launch, software update, quarterly sales results, IPO. Something that requires a high level of performance that would be great if you and your team prepared for. And then personally – which is just as important, I think. This could be a child going to a new or specialist school, a baby coming into the family, a house move, house renovations, and so forth. But think about what that is for you, you and your family, you and your team. Predict: identify what that big event is, and next time, we’ll talk about how you can prepare for it.

Interested in sharing the message of Cadence with your team?

The Cadence Approach keynote shows your teams how to beat burnout and have more fun by introducing cadence into their daily lives. Cadence is about managing energy, and this interactive, fun keynote is brought to life by Leanne through the power of storytelling.

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