The Silver Bullet to Your High PerformancePublished January 14, 2019
What do you believe is the single greatest contributor to your high performance as a leader?
There are several ways to answer that question:
- Expose yourself to great leadership content or experiences
- Align your leadership closely with your strengths
- Reflect on your best next step of development
- And the list goes on…
At the Global Leadership Summit, performance development expert Rasmus Ankersen shared that the silver bullet contributing to high performance (primarily in elite athletes) was their environment, based on research in his book The Goldmine Effect.
He discovered that any time you grouped aspiring athletes together, their “better-togetherness” amplified their capacity to develop athletically.
It was the global consistency of strength-in-numbers—despite different ethnic contexts, global climates and even sporting engagements—that consistently proved environment was the single greatest contributor to high performance.
Do you have an environment that stimulates your high performance as a leader?
When I say environment, I’m not referring to your work space or culture. I’m referring to an environment where you cluster with other like-minded leaders for the purpose of training each other to be better. I’m referring to the kind of environment Ankersen would say most stimulates high performance–a leadership-development environment.
About a decade ago, I realized that I wasn’t part of any leadership environment, so I imagined and ultimately created one. I made some phone calls to about a half-dozen other senior leaders of churches in similar size and stage to mine and asked if they’d be willing to join me in creating a training environment.
Then I contacted a senior leader of a church beyond where we all were and asked if he would join as our coach—someone who could facilitate conversations among us, help us share our best practices and also someone who could provide insight in ways we wouldn’t even know to ask.
Leadership development can’t just be something you witness; it’s something you actively make happen in those around you.
Then I challenged each of our group members to create a similar cluster in their local communities, as a way of paying forward into other church leaders the value we were receiving from each other. So, each of the half-dozen leaders started a second group, where they played the role of coach for other church leaders in their surrounding neighborhoods.
Fast forward over a decade and what we now have in Southern Ontario is a “Leaders’ Village.” Believing it takes a village to raise a child—but feeling like there was no village to raise people who were leading churches—this set of leaders gather for formal sessions; informal phone calls and lunches and more ongoing e-mail banter has become a both lifeline and launch-pad for our leadership.
One prominent member in our group described our Leaders’ Village as the single greatest leadership development investment he had received in a decade. Rasmus Ankersen wouldn’t be surprised, since he knows that environment is the single greatest contributor to high performance.
If you’re looking to cultivate a leadership development environment for yourself, ensure these three basic ingredients are at play:
1) Show up
No group can strengthen and perform effectively if participants’ attendance is sporadic and irregular. Consistent commitment over time is essential. This might sound simple, but one of the greatest challenges in a leaders’ life is pace. Regularly assembling high performance-seeking leaders requires tremendous discipline and commitment to make it happen.
2) Join in
A group only benefits if each member contributes. Full participation is required by every single group member, if the group is going to have the impact of a high performance-stimulating environment. Leadership development can’t just be something you witness; it’s something you actively make happen in those around you.
Life change happens best in relationship. But if leadership development is simply a specific kind of life change in a specific type of person, shouldn’t leadership development best happen in communities of leaders committed to being iron that sharpens each others’ iron?
3) Be real
Not only do group members need to listen, they also need to be vulnerable and ask for advice. They should share their challenges, struggles and the places where they’re most stuck. Pursuing high performance is no time to get paralyzed by egos. It takes a humility that welcomes others into your world to make you better.
Do you have a leadership-developing environment around you that you’re a part of, as Ankersen suggests? If not, can you form one and make these simple but significant commitments to each other?
At our church we’ve said that, “Life change happens best in relationship.” But if leadership development is simply a specific kind of life change in a specific type of person, shouldn’t leadership development best happen in communities of leaders committed to being iron that sharpens each others’ iron?”
Rasmus Ankersen would challenge us to embrace that the single greatest contributor to high performance is environment.
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About the Author
Jeff Lockyer is the Lead Pastor of Southridge Community Church, a multi-site movement where each location serves a community need in their part of the Niagara Region. He is passionate about leadership development, serving as the Chair of the Board of Willow Creek Association Canada and co-hosting The Global Leadership Summit's GLS Podcast. A former national team runner, Jeff lives in St. Catharines with his wife Becky and three children.