5 FACTORS TO MAINTAIN THE RAGE
There are 5 factors which give a team leader the best chance of delivering peak performance consistently and constantly.
1 BE CLEAR ON VISION
My coaching philosophy has led me to challenge the way things have always been done. So, in terms of setting a vision, it was always about playing the game differently to the rest of my competitors.
I want competitive advantage before the game had commenced.
With the Australian cricket team, the destination, the vision was Everest – a place which is the top of the world, difficult to reach and requiring skill, planning, teamwork, risk, courage, resilience and even then, there is no guarantee of success.
Peak performance is as much about the result as it is about the process of striving for that result.
2 DRIVE PROCESS
As a head coach in national and international sporting teams, results are important and even essential to keeping your job for any length of time. So, it is important to play what is directly in front of you, day to day.
However, if that is all you do as a coach or a team leader, then the team will never reach its destination.
Part of being a good leader is to understand the processes that give the team best chance of success, individually and collectively.
For both, this process revolves around winning or having a “pb” (personal best). When these events occurred, we look at what is it that we/I did that enabled that result?
By clearly understanding performance, that is, what was within personal and team control from the technical, physical, mental, tactical and team skills and the execution of these skills, then Destination Everest is possible.
3 SET CHALLENGES
In this YouTube clip I provide a brief case study of the Australian Cricket team I coached from 1999 to 2007. We were a very successful team, arguably the most successful in the history of the game.
One of the reasons behind our incredible success was that everyone sought new challenges. Whether that be a player learning or refining new techniques; a coach seeking new ways to coach athletes; medical staff scanning the horizon for new methods to improve the athlete’s resilience from injury or recovery from injury; or to better analyse data.
Along our nearly 8-year journey as a group, there was always a new milestone, a target destination that would excite the group.
In the case study, I refer to ‘Target 400’.
No team in the top tier of world cricket had ever achieved 400+ runs in a One Day International. For us to achieve this target destination, a milestone on the way to Everest, each individual batsman set about learning something new or improving what they already had.
History records that we were the first team to achieve that goal.
History also records we were beaten in that game by South Africa who became the second team to eclipse the 400 mark!
4 THE RIGHT TEAM
To achieve Everest, to deliver peak performance requires a certain group of individuals (athletes, coaches, support staff) – highly skilled, motivated and confident but not arrogant.
They can be difficult to deal with at times because of what they demanded to give themselves the best chance of succeeding; and highly different in their backgrounds, personalities and character.
Difference brings conflict.
Conflict is a good force within a team, if it is managed properly.
Conflict brings debate, discussion, questioning, authenticity.
The role of the head coach is to make sure that the conflict produces the best outcome.
To ensure that there is no residual fallout that can become fractious and detract from and distract the group from its destination.
5 LIMITATIONS, NOT LIMITS
There is little doubt that the perfect athlete, team or coach does not exist. Each may have fleeting moments of perfection or near to, but these are unsustainable.
When I finished my coaching career with the Australian Cricket team at the World Cup of 2007, which we won undefeated, repeating what we had done in 2003, I was asked “Did you ever coach the perfect game?”
My reply was “no”, although at times we had come close. However, I said we had the “perfect team” – by this statement, I meant that each player and staff member were always looking to be the best he could be, always looking to improve. And that is why, the group was so good for so long all around the world.
We had limitations in our group in terms of skills, age and experience. We had limitations in terms of resources to prepare for our journey to Everest.
Such limitations and others rarely became a distraction for us.
We knew our destination, our Everest –limitations simply became another challenge along the journey of peak performance.