C-Suite Network™

5 Peak Performance Skills You Need to Thrive in the C-Suite

Serious times call for serious leadership.

And sometimes that leadership starts on the gridiron.

Jeffrey Hayzlett, Primetime TV and Podcast Host, Chairman of the C-Suite Network, and former rugby player, recently interviewed two former NFL players-turned-thought leaders, Bret Lockett and Tom Flick, for a C-Suite Network Digital Discussion on Success Through Transition. It was a lively conversation where they delved into the key characteristics of peak performance found in professional sports and how they relate to top performances in business. (Jeffrey and Bret compared 40-yard dash speeds! Spoiler Alert: Bret’s was slightly faster. Bret measured his with a stopwatch; and, by his own admission, Jeffrey measured his with a calendar!)

While the discussion contained a multitude of teachings from these incredibly-insightful leaders as well as highly-inspiring anecdotes from the football field, here are the top five skills that forward-thinking leaders need to incorporate NOW to cultivate peak performance in their organizations. And in themselves.

  1. Create a Culture of Accountability. Bret shared stories about his time with the winning team, the New England Patriots, and how every single player on the team was challenged to do their job and do it to the best of their abilities. In order to create that culture, transparent conversations were required among the entire team. If you want to take it to the next level, authentic communications across the organization are key.

  2. Have a Growth Mindset. Bret described how he has extensively studied the psychology of peak performers, and while there are several common characteristics that are present, it is the ability to expand beyond limited, fixed thinking that enables players to have sustained levels of success consistently over decades.

  3. Speak with a Leader’s Voice. Tom shared that true leaders who move with speed and agility, possess vision and strategy, motivate action, create buy-in, and inspire people actually speak differently than mere managers. Through their words, they rise above adversity, talk courageously about creating better futures, commit to learning, and demonstrate humility. They think more of others than they think of themselves, and their communication style reflects it.

  4. Engage the Heart. “Feelings are actually more influential than thought when it comes to affecting change,” Tom said. When leaders appeal to the head AND heart, they are inviting their teams to participate in a Great Adventure that invites everyone to take the journey TOGETHER. By engaging your team on an emotional level, it combats the danger of complacency, the “sleepy steadfast contentment with the status quo”.

  5. Mute the Inner Voices. Any great player — and any great leader — need to let go of those needling thoughts that may make them second-guess their abilities when it’s go-time. As Jeffrey said, “The great leaders I know have a really good sense of who they are in themselves.” That self-awareness is critical when leading an organization through big transitions like the ones we are all living through.

Successful leadership requires cultivating a highly-engaged, mission-aligned team that holds the highest of standards for themselves and can tackle ANY adversity presented to them. Will your team get up for the next play after they get their bells rung on the last tackle? Will they show grit that differentiates themselves between the victors and the defeated? Do they play for the team or just showboat for themselves?

Having a peak performance team is no longer just a nice-to-have. The competition is too fierce,  the digital landscape is too vast, and the pace is too quick to have a team of mediocrity. This becomes the dangerous terrain where organizations are, as Tom mentioned, “overmanaged and underled”. Jeffrey further reinforced the importance of strong leadership as all of us navigate this perfect storm of Covid-19, an economic downturn, and horrific racial injustice: “days have become weeks, weeks have become months, and months have become years.” In that accelerated climate, only top performers demonstrating a balance of mental toughness and true accountability will make the grade.

If you are interested in gaining more insights like those found in the C-Suite Network Digital Discussions, you are welcome to join the conversation as an Executive Leader! As a thought leader and podcast host of Mindful Performance on C-Suite Radio, I LOVE discovering how top leaders in business deliver their best performances at work, at home, and all day long. Bret, Tom, and Jeffrey provided inspiration and insights that will help me raise my own game!

#peakperformance #csuite #csuitenetwork #thoughtleadership #leadership #coaching #bestpractices #engagement

More Articles by Author