• Sophia Chin

REACHING YOUR NEXT LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE

Updated: Aug 25


Hamilton races for Mercedes, which changed its car from silver to black in an anti-racism message. Photo by Ben Stansall.

When people think about leadership development, they say, “Get an MBA.” They spend months cramming case studies, best practices and management models into their heads so that they have all the tools & resources necessary to excel in their next big role. This is a great start, but it’s not enough.


When I ask leaders to recall their greatest trajectory for learning, where they could actually see themselves grow as a leader, it was through overcoming a difficult situation. You can say that the crisis brought the real leader out in them. They literally rose to the occasion. They discovered strengths they never knew they had. They are completely transformed as a leader, more resilient, more wise and more connected with other people.


We encounter difficult situations at work every day.
Our greatest failure is not recognising it as the opportunity for transformational growth.
Work moves pretty fast.
If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss your opportunity to reach your next level of performance.

We encounter difficult situations at work every day. We ignore them. We avoid them. We try to get rid of them. We’re in conflict with the difficulties we face at work, which in reality, is not helpful nor realistic. Because the higher you climb, the more difficult situations you'll encounter. Not less. Rather than seeing the difficult situation as a threat, what if we see it as an opportunity for us to transform? To become better leaders? Take a difficult situation and learn from it. I call this learning in the flow of work at the speed of business.


I call this learning in the flow of work at the speed of business.

When you are learning in the flow of work, it’s practical and effective. You practise applying multiple leadership strategies & tools concurrently - strategy, operations management, people management, personal leadership, etc. - because they are relevant in overcoming the current difficult situation, they are all inter-connected. Sometimes the best way to prepare for the next big job is by doing the job. 


When you don’t do this, the leadership development programme may remain academic or theoretical, leaders struggle to transfer even their most powerful off-site experiences into real behavioural changes in their line of work. Or the programme may feel like an assessment centre, leaders feel like a square peg being forced into a round hole. 


Things like case studies, best practices and management models are developed based on learning by reflecting on the experiences of the past, by studying the successes of previous leaders and organisations. However, there are times when we face challenges that cannot be addressed just by reflecting on the experience of the past. Sometimes the experience of the past is not very useful. Sometimes it becomes the very obstacle that stops us from coming up with a new way of responding to a situation.


The strongest leaders are forged in the crucible of conflict and crisis. There is a moment when you take a leap of faith, and you achieve a breakthrough. Something new emerges. Something greater than yourself. You feel a sense of purpose: This is what I’m here to do. You reach new levels of performance.


At last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton said he touched perfection on his way to winning the Spanish Grand Prix, reaching a level of performance that even he has rarely found before. And this was what Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff had to say: "Lewis has always been at his best when he fought adversity."


We all have experienced magical moments like these and we end up feeling grateful for these crucible moments.


You are an extraordinary force for positive change. You have tremendous potential to make a difference, in your own life and the lives of others. But this potential does not unleash itself. You have to choose to unleash it. 


Making a difference essentially means change. Change requires you go to the edge of the world as you know it and reach out. When you reach out, you step into the unknown, and you meet the hesitation, unwillingness and raw fear that you encounter when you go beyond the confines of your conditioning. This is exactly where the choice becomes real. This is the edge of greatness. This is where you begin to sense your emerging future potential. This is your learning edge. 


It is a fight to unleash it. It is one struggle after another. If it isn’t, something is wrong. As you work through the confusion, you gain a little clarity here, a little clarity there, and the future you envisioned crystallises right in front of you.


The fight is within. No one else can do it for you. Some will even try to stop you. It’s a choice whether you want to dance at the edge of greatness. No one can decide for you. And once you made up your own mind, no one can stop you. It’s personal. 


Everyone leads differently. Unlock the best way for you to lead. Pack your bags for the next level. There’s a bigger game to be won here.


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PERSONNA is a leadership development company focused on the people side of transformation. We hold a simple belief that everyone is an extraordinary force for positive change, and our solutions should be as unique and agile as you and your business challenges. 


We’re here to help people become better leaders, build highly-effective teams, and create a culture of trust & collaboration in their organisations. We provide leadership branding, leadership coaching and group experiences. If you are curious to learn more drop us an email to hello@personna.me.

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