The Price of Success is Always Paid in Full and in Advance

The Price of Success is Always Paid in Full and in Advance

All things that are materially accomplished have to be mentally accomplished first.

Winners become winners before they have won. They imagine vividly the rewards of success and holding that trophy aloft. They imagine the final few minutes of a lengthy battle in which they are victorious. They can smell the grass that they would be playing on, or feel the warmth of stadium lights, or the cheers of the crowd.

Children don’t play at cowboys and Indians, they are cowboys and Indians! Sportspeople are the same. They allow their mind to become the best practice arena in the world.

Having worked with some of the best sportspeople in the world, I notice that one of things they are able to do, is to picture future success and achievement with great accuracy.

In business I find that we take a different viewpoint on how we construct our view of success. We see numbers, and talk the language of margin, volume, market share, and jobs completed. We formulate plans and talk about objectives, and you know what….all of these things are valid. We do do need to know what a good job looks like, and it is true that what we can measure we can manage. However, do we do all this at the sacrifice of allowing ourselves to dream of glory?

Growth mindset and outperforming the markets can only come from daring to dream and having an emotional connectivity based upon what we are trying to create, rather than what we are trying to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve already stated that plans and strategy are essential. However, our ability and that of our teams, to execute them is dependent on how inspired we are to achieve them.

As Helmuth von Moltke said 100 years previously, “No battle plan survives the first contact with the enemy” Another way of saying that single outcome predictions and plans are pointless, Moltke was himself drawing on work by Napoleon 50 years earlier when he wrote that “Plans are usually useless but time spent planning is invaluable” a reference to the benefits of scenario planning for the variety of different possible outcomes which may befall. Our teams and business need a direction, but the energy and pace in which we move in that direction is determined by our enthusiasm to get to the end point.

As leaders our job is not just to set strategy, and make sense of the numbers in a way which creates better plans. The answer, particularly in this age of disruption, is not just to ‘peddle faster’. We must create a business which genuinely champions purpose maximisation over profit maximisation, with that purpose being the motivation of all our team members.

I’ve heard a few people reference the fact that Martin Luther King never stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and said “I have a plan….”

If we are to create organisations and teams which are goal orientated, agile (able to move outside of plans to take advantage of opportunity), resilient, flexible, and engaged lets believe that we need to work on getting more inspiration into out people, rather than more perspiration out of them.

Jamil Qureshi has helped six sports people get to number one in the world. He is an internationally recognised speaker on the psychology of high performance.

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