Posts Tagged ‘mindset’

A Champion’s Mindset

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

There are moments in sport, add an “s” for my American friends, where supreme champions earn legendary status. Watching Rafael Nadal close out an 11th French Open at Roland Garros and Bob Baffert mastermind a second Triple Crown at Belmont, N.Y. this past weekend, we were witness to two rare examples. In Nadal’s case, the “King of the Clay”, we expect him to win but it really isn’t that easy.

Consider his Quarter Final opponent, Diego Schwatrzman, whose stratospheric rise has taken the diminutive Argentinian from No. 41 to No.11 in the ATP rankings over the past 12 months. He talked last Summer about the importance of his own “mindset” over a relaxed post-victory dinner at Pepes Bodega in the scenic resort stop in Bastad, Sweden.

Here in the Bois de Boulogne, Schwartman, a 5’7″ ball of energy, took the first set off Nadal, and appeared on an unstoppable roll until rain intervened. Returning the next day, Nadal had the strength of character to wipe the next three sets and to savour Schwartzman’s passing comment at the press conference, “He (Nadal) has the best mindset of history.”

3,000 miles west, just east of the New York City limits, at a little before 6pm EST on Saturday, Justify, did just that for legendary West Coast trainer, Bob Baffert’s high opinion of his horse. The 12 furlongs of the “Big Sandy” has scuttled many of Baffert’s and his rivals’ previous contenders for immortality with one rare exception, American Pharoah in 2015.

Coming off two wet-track and gruelling victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Baffert talked about the importance of the horse’s mindset when the gates opened, and the need to be on the lead at the first turn, to not surrender control of the race. True to form, urged on by his pilot Mike “Big Money” Smith, Justify’s exuberance and determination ensured he grabbed hold of the race early on and ground his rivals into the dirt. What sets Baffert apart is his ability to sustain a champion’s mindset in his best horses when others cannot. Some say, his training approach honed in the unforgiving Quarter Horse world of Arizona is too tough but the results belie that easy line.

Perhaps there is a simple explanation with Nadal and Baffert, we are bystanders watching supreme artists at work. Seeing is truly believing.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Lessons Our Kids Can Teach Us

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

 

If my 8yo daughter can quickly learn from defeat in the 200m final at her school sports day, why cannot adults do the same in a competitive business situation (a bid process, an investor pitch, a career opportunity)? We read too much into single events or circumstances (poor feedback). We allow them to unduly affect our mindset (bruised ego). We set unrealistic expectations in a highly ambiguous or complex environment (a professional gambler rarely generates more than 8-10% annual return in a great year). We refuse to take accountability (seek blame not cause). We surrender the power and control we possess to positively impact future events (we give up). If you recognise any of these today in your own behaviour, if you are a Parent, look at your child’s reaction and ask “what’s the lesson for me?”.

 

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

A Bad Day

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Most people’s so-called “bad day” is very rarely bad. With extremely rare exception, no one has been shot at, no one has been injured nor have they died. Let’s keep a sense of perspective and positive self-talk about own lives, our family, our business, our clients and our investors. Yes, it may be frustrating, the key investor, customer or prospect rejected an offer we made, the Board aren’t supportive of our great idea or our ability to move with haste has been hindered by others’ procrastination. These things happen. They are mere speed bumps. They are not catastrophic unless you allow them to control your mindset.

© James Berkeley 2017.

RPM I: My Best Laid Plans Are Screwed

Friday, April 1st, 2016

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I recently talked about the organisational dynamics and consequences of Resilient Growth in the value creation process for large and small businesses.

Resilient Growth

Behind resilient organisations lies resilient people. People with the skills, expertise and behaviour at all levels to thrive not just survive on the firm’s profitable growth journey. To maintain and increase the profitable growth momentum in the organisation. Think of this as keeping the “rev” counter high.

Knowing “how” their behaviour accelerates or destroys profitable growth is important but maintaining the right mindset and knowing the right questions to ask is the difference between someone telling you what route to fly and actually co-piloting the plane with you. Huge!

Starting today in a new series, titled Resilient People & Momentum (“RPM”), here are my observations from over 450 clients around the world over the past 25 years in very common situations, where I have had a ringside seat.

Situational Overview: The New Market Entry Strategy Has Gone AWOL – your best laid plans aren’t working in the real world. The assumptions made about the market size, demand, relationships, marketing impact, acquisition costs, ease of delivery and available resources are miles off in reality. Executive management, investors and employees are fretting madly or indeed, clamouring for your blood. Cut and run, retire graciously or come out fighting?

Resilient People & Momentum Mindset: You are a prudent risk taker. You have a track record of past success honed by past wins and losses. You live for ambiguity. This is your time to shine. Failure is not about you personally. No one is firing at you. You have tremendous value and results to provide to others in future. You can work it out with others help given their support, time and resource.

Resilient People & Momentum Questions: Your first and most important assessment is with yourself 

  1. Is there a visible outcome (result and value) that is good for my key constituents?
  2. Is there an alternative allowing for speed and the quality of the outcome that I can immediately call on or develop (good news: unless the car has crashed there is always an option)?
  3. What are the attendant benefits and risks (after preventative and contingent actions are put in place)?
  4. What is the best course of action for all parties (accepting that you are looking for a compromise that preserves everyone’s critical and highly prized issues but dispenses with the moderate and low-level stuff)?

Liked this? Daily bursts of resilience advice to follow on this blog. Please come and read, share your experiences and comment. If you prefer, a quick confidential “free” debrief, write to me at james@elliceconsulting.com

© James Berkeley 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Illusionary Growth Plans

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

I remember a middle ranking executive of a US$3 billion US multinational approaching me for help in articulating his growth plans for the Latin America region. “You consultants are experts at wow presentations. I need to impress my boss”. After a little bit of further digging he wanted me to take his strands of thought, apply some magic and craft them into a meaningful growth strategy presentation with his name on it. In so doing create an illusion that he was the master of his own destiny.

There is a point at which consultants hide their ego and help clients. When they do, I believe ethically it needs to be with appropriate attribution. “Oh no, he’ll see it is not my ideas!”

I find with many executives they want the glory without the risk.

They fear being exposed sometimes rightly, as an imposter.

They fear that visibly paying for help will be seen in the organisation as a sign of weakness rather than strength. As if it is right to use scare resources to hire a consultant but not admit they helped.

They fear that presenting ideas that are not their own will diminish their own credibility amongst their peers.

They fear themselves. They don’t trust their own judgement when they look in the mirror.

When you walk into a meeting dangling your ego and constantly seek validation from others, this is what happens.

When your mindset is that there are others smarter than me. I would be wise to seek their input. I am confident defending the reasons for hiring them. The shared wisdom when applied to key organisational issues will help all of us dramatically accelerate the speed and probability of meeting or exceeding our goals, it is easy to move forward.

There is enough set backs in profitably growing a business to humble all of us but if we don’t take stock of our own mindset and self-talk, we are deluding ourselves that we will be successful.