A unique approach to entrepreneurial performance
IN THE past four years, I’ve trained and coached more than 500 entrepreneurs from over 25 countries across the world, and most of them have an interesting desire: to replicate themselves in order to double their productivity, increase impact, and improve results.
“If only there were two of me, it would solve so many problems” is a cry I hear over and over again from business owners struggling to keep up with the intense physical and mental demands of their high-stress careers.
Productivity is not just a struggle, but a crisis for us in Jamaica as we continue to experience decades of national decline while our leading trading partners and regional competitors have registered substantial comparative gains in this area.
While we all know it’s impossible to replicate oneself, it is a little-known fact that many entrepreneurs can double their productivity and improve effectiveness by addressing their human performance.
The human-performance approach, specifically ‘corporate athlete’ training, has been praised by global companies such as PepsiCo, Morgan Stanley, and the Estee Lauder Companies as transformational for their executives and employees.
Last week, I had the great fortune of attending ‘VV100’ workshops facilitated by Johnson and Johnson’s Human Performance Institute, which introduced me to key elements of the corporate athlete approach to human performance.
The workshops were organised for women leaders from over 30 countries by the renowned Washington-based non-profit Vital Voices Global Partnerships in an effort to strengthen the performance and effectiveness of 100 of the 15,000 women in their network in whom they’ve invested in over the last 20 years.
The better and longer these women can perform under pressure, without compromising their health, the greater the impact they can have in their organisations, communities, and countries.
So what are the key elements of this unique approach to improving performance that entrepreneurs should know, and how can they take action? The most important element is that it is effective energy management, rather than time management, that results in transformational and sustained high performance.
It is a momentous shift in mindset for many people who see better time management as the ultimate panacea. The next element is learning the science behind exercise psychology, nutrition, and emotional well-being.
In short, it is taking the principles professional athletes learn and live by in their training for competition and applying them to business to radically heighten performance over a sustained period.
Physical fitness, good health, and frequent exercise will result in higher physical energy, which will give entrepreneurs the stamina they need to operate at a higher level of productivity.
For this reason, entrepreneurs would be encouraged to complete comprehensive medical tests, including blood chemistry analysis. Once they have a complete understanding of their health status, the next step would be establishing a consistent fitness routine to improve health and physical energy.
Critical to this process is nutrition and engaging a qualified nutritionist to help craft a lifestyle approach to healthy eating that can fuel your body with small, frequent meals to perform at a higher level.
Another critical pillar is to strengthen the mental and emotional well-being of the entrepreneur to ensure focus and mental alertness, high levels of optimism, confidence, drive, and resilience.
It’s referred to as mental and emotional energy. In applying this principle entrepreneurs reframe their view of stress, challenges, and failures. They would need to learn and strengthen skills to help them cope and recover quickly from everyday demands, disappointments, and highly taxing situations and environments. The humanperformance approach recognises that mental toughness is critical to peak performance and requires targeted training and coaching interventions to build fortitude. It’s a perfectly logical pillar, yet very few entrepreneurs, company executives, or managers set aside resources to address their team’s emotional well-being and mental resilience.
The final pillar in the model is as critical as those already mentioned, yet it is one that I can’t ever recall hearing in entrepreneurial or corporate leadership in Jamaica, and that is spiritual energy. This was explained as the energy that is derived from having a clear driving force that gives people their purpose and reason for jumping out of bed each day outside of the anticipated financial rewards.
The coaches at the Johnson and Johnson Human Performance Institute said this was one of the most challenging areas for many people because they hadn’t clearly defined a purpose for their lives. However, this is key to personal fulfilment outside of career aspirations and enhances energy that drives performance over the long run.
Fortunately for some entrepreneurs, spiritual energy is the easiest to hone as they are clear in their minds about the dream they have, the problem they want to solve, the people they want to serve, the impact they wish to have.
Given that entrepreneurs are typically doing what they love based on a distinct vision and have the power to make decisions and change within their organisations immediately, they are, in my view, best poised to take full advantage of enhancing productivity by revolutionising human performance.