Shared Vision + High Performance Culture = Success

On Tuesday and Wednesday this week I attended the Supporting Champions 2018 Conference at the Emirates Stadium – it was my first time and it will not be my last.  2 days of incredibly powerful and useful insight from the world of elite sport and performance art, in particular from:

Tony Strudwick – Head of Performance, Manchester United

Peter Vint – Former Senior Director of Competitive Analysis, Research and Innovation at the United States Olympic Committee.

James Morton – Head of Nutrition, Team Sky; Reader in Exercise Metabolism & Nutrition at Liverpool John Moores University

Greg Retter – Clinical Director at Royal Ballet

Conor O’Shea – Italian Rugby Team Coach, Former Ireland Rugby International,

And last but by no means least, Kate Richardson-Walsh – GB team hockey captain and Olympic Champion (here’s me with Kate and her Olympic Gold medal):

There was loads of terrific content delivered right from the heart of people right at the top of their respective professions.  Without hugely over-simplifying, one of the common threads was this formula:

Shared Vision + High Performance Culture = Success

Taking Shared Vision first, it is arguably much easier in the world of sport than it is in the world of business to have a shared vision – be top of the medal table at the next Olympics, win the Tour De France, win the 6 Nations (Conor did not say this by the way) – those are all highly unifying visions and therefore will be easily and completely shared by the respective individuals and teams.

Where it gets harder from a business perspective, and thinking about agencies in particular, is not creating a vision in the first place but making sure it is shared – this is because, unlike the examples above, there isn’t necessarilly that one unifying moment that truly defines success and therefore says whether or not you’ve got there.  For example, one person might say success is about the number of awards their agency has won, another the amount of new business won, another staff retention and another net profit (none are wrong in their own way).  So the challenge is about creating a Shared Vision that incorporates the above as micro-moments on the way to delivering that vision and that engage and motivate everyone in the business.  No mean feat of course.

And now High Performance Culture – the really interesting thing in this respect was that this almost just happened when the vision is truly shared.  There is no requirement to chase and check up on people to see if they are doing what they are supposed to be, if they are on track and on board  – everyone is working towards a common goal, understands their role in the team/process and is determined to get there, therefore hard work is just a bi-product of a shared vision.

However, a High Performance Culture is not just about hard work, it’s about high quality hard work.  And this has to be every day, week and month with no compromise at any time.

In my last post I talked about the importance of discipline in the context of a number of things, including people and processes.  However, with a Shared Vision and High Performance Culture the only discipline really required is self-discipline, which happens naturally anyway.

I’ll be writing some more about Leadership and Direction – the other common thread from these 2 days.

This article was first published on LinkedIn.