Every organization on the planet expects to face some level of stress – it’s the very nature of business. In order to push past the status quo and grow your company, you’ll ask yourself (and your employees) to step out of certain comfort zones in order to push to the next level.
Stepping out of this comfort zone, and challenging yourself (and your employees) can be extremely stressful. That term – “extremely stressful” – is typically viewed as a negative.
Since stress is unavoidable, looking at stressful moments as a negative only serves to prevent you and your employees from rising up to the challenge. But that’s exactly what you want, isn’t it? To create a team environment that’s not afraid of obstacles and challenges that appear in the road ahead.
That’s were a peak performance mind comes into play: To help you, your team, and your business grab stressful moments by the horns, and use these moments as instruments of change.
Your team needs to be resilient. A peak performance mind is your first step.
When an athlete talks about peak-performance, he’s referring to the ability to be clutch under pressure. But that type of mindset and performance isn’t only for athletes. A peak-performance mind can be cultivated and nurtured on an organizational level. Take, for example, the entire sports team that seems to turn it up a notch when it matters most. Peak performance can be a herd effort. Whether you’re the coach of a team, or the manager of an office, you, too, can enjoy this type of mental toughness among the people who you lead.
How visualization can help your team develop its peak performance
As a motivational speaker for companies and organizations throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, I help my clients develop their peak-performance mind through a series of exercises and training techniques.
The goal is to be able to control your mental state in order to “perform” optimally, be it during a game, at the office, or elsewhere in your life.
While these training techniques tend to change, depending on my clients, one of the most successful approaches to developing a peak-performance mind is visualization
When you visualize, your body naturally reduces stress levels, and allows you to focus your attention on a specific aspect of your routine or performance, rather than get overwhelmed by the whole enchilada. But this doesn’t come naturally. You have to teach your team how to visualize when the going gets tough. But how?
Dry runs are a great example of how to prepare your troops for battle. In school, children endure fire alarms often, in an effort to make the process of exiting a building in an orderly fashion all but second nature. That way, if the “real thing” ever does happen, the children should know what to do without buckling under pressure.
That same concept comes into play as you develop the peak performance mindset of your team. You can’t really ever fully prepare for emergencies or stressful situations, but you can do your best to practice the what-ifs. Make it a part of your workday routine to gather your team for “drills.” These drills will vary based on your business or goals. A marketing agency might, for example, have a practice run on developing a marketing strategy for a high-profile client under a tight deadline.
Make this process as fun as possible, while ensuring good habits and lessons are taught. The goal is to help your team realize everyone is in the same boat, and that everyone is held accountable for the greater good. Assign each person a clear role, and ensure they’re held accountable to their duties.
Then practice this drill over and over again, following each drill with a discussion. This discussion will help your team members assess where they excelled, and where they can improve. When they’re cognitively aware of their faults, they are more likely to work harder to improve upon these.
The natural consequence of this is that your team members are actually developing their own peak-performance mind. No one wants to fail, thus by practicing these drills, you’re helping your team to work out the kinks and figure out “what works and what doesn’t.”
This, in turn gives them the confidence they need for when the real event happens. Confidence is a necessary part of ensuring you perform at your peak, no matter how stressful a given moment is.
Once you develop your peak-performance mind, what’s next?
Your peak-performance mind is what will give your team or organization the confidence to embrace stress and use it to your advantage. But once your team is able to take on stress, they still have to be able to communicate with one another to get the job done smoothly. That’s where interpersonal and intra-organizational communication skills come into play.
I’ll discuss that portion of my Resilience Enhancement Program in my next article.
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