Episode #33: What’s the secret to performing at your best?

The Green Room by Deloitte podcast

Muhammad Ali famously said that if he was a garbage man, he’d be the world’s greatest garbage man – such was his drive for being the best at whatever he was doing.

Our sporting prowess may not match Ali’s, but many of us can relate to taking pride in performing to the highest level we’re capable of. Writing the best essay we can at school. Running that 5k in the park against the clock every Saturday. Nailing our first 100 days in the new job, even if we’re still learning. Doing the best we can – every single day.

But what does it take to be the best you can be? And perhaps more importantly, how do you do it consistently?

Sport and business. There’s been no shortage of comparisons between the two over the years – think ‘winning as a team’ or ‘crushing the competition’. But if we really want to understand what it takes to ‘win at business’, the chances are we’ll need to look a little deeper.

In elite sport, results matter. But athletes and coaches are equally serious about performance. Did you know as much as 90% of an elite athlete’s time can be spent preparing and just 10% doing the job? At work we talk about performance too – but too often only really value results. We’re busy ‘doing’ versus reviewing and preparing. But what if we did? Would it lead to better results?

Both worlds have a lot in common. Dealing with pressure. Being disciplined. The dilemma between spending time building on our strengths or working on our weaknesses. Coping with setbacks. And of course, creating the conditions for the magic of teams to happen.

It’s a big topic. But one many of us can all relate to.

Tune in to find out:

  • Who listens to ‘This is me’ to get pumped?
  • The reasons Joanna thinks people in business should rest like athletes
  • How to cope with pressure and deal with the inevitable setbacks
  • Why getting a dog might just be the answer to anything?

Laura Kenny CBE

Laura Kenny CBE is a professional track cyclist, who specialises in the omnium, team pursuit madison and scratch race disciplines with four Olympic gold medals to her name, having won both the team pursuit and the omnium at the 2012 and 2016 Games.

Laura is both the most successful female track cyclist in Olympic history and Great Britain’s most successful female Olympian in any sport.

In July 2021 Laura travels to Tokyo and hopes to compete for three more Olympic golds.

Joanna Lockard

Joanna is a senior manager in Deloitte Leadership, within our Human Capital Consulting practice.

With over a decade of experience working with financial services organisations, Joanna works with senior leaders and leadership teams helping them to develop their leadership potential to become more impactful and lead wider behaviour and culture change in their organisations.

She specialises in human-centred transformation focused on leadership development, culture and behaviour change, business agility leadership development, communication strategy and planning, organisation design, and change management.

Prior to joining Deloitte, she worked for seven years as a senior HR business partner in the UK and Australia providing strategic HR advice and coaching to bank executives.

Further reading

If you’re interested in any of the topics we talked about during this episode, you might find the links below useful.

Laura Kenny's bio - from the Brisish Cycling website. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Deloitte Leadership website. Find out more about the team or read their latest articles:

Deloitte Transition Labs - Find out more.

The Inner Game of Tennis, a book by Timothy Gallwey recommended by Joanna

High performance podcast – human conversations about what it takes to perform at your best, with examples from business and sport

The Green Room by Deloitte podcast

Visit The Green Room by Deloitte podcast library for the full collection of episodes, and explore The Green Room blog for more from behind the scenes.

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