In the zone (March 2015)
I often have lots of thoughts when I’m showering. This morning my mind jumped to things people complain about in SA and then onto the news reports that I see from elsewhere in the world. I thought about how there are problems everywhere – economic, social, political, wars, terrorism – only the details change.
I was reminded of that story about a group of people who all had pretty big problems in their lives. They were invited to swop their problem for someone else’s. Each person wrote their problem on a piece of paper and put it on a table. Then one-by-one they came to the table and picked up a piece of paper (and problem) to take home.
It turned out that all had chosen their own original problem! For the most part we learn how to live with our own problems, whether we resolve them or not.
We are enjoying lovely weather in Joburg at the moment and we have been invited to join friends in big 5 country for the weekend. My closing shower thought was, “there is a lot I’m prepared to put up with in exchange for our weather, wide open spaces, beautiful wildlife, natural scenery, colourful people and minimal incidence of natural disasters!”
In the zone
A few weeks ago I was watching a bit of the Cricket World Cup. AB de Villiers and Rossouw were batting against West Indies. At that moment de Villiers hit a six – slow, steady, watch, wait, hit, follow with eye. He hit the ball so smoothly, with quiet confidence, making it look effortless.
That was the day the score went from 146 for 3 to 408 for 5 with AB scoring his final 50 runs off just 12 balls.
I just love to watch any top class sportsman on a good day – it’s poetry in motion – awesome – so exciting to the maximizer in me.
And what a difference it makes to the score when a few players are in that space on the day.
What enables a player like AB de Villiers to play like that?
I haven’t interviewed him but from my understanding of human behaviour and performance I believe it is firstly because he is working with his talents. Then he has put in lots of practise to create the right pathways in the brain to turn his talents into strengths. He doesn’t mind putting in the practise because he is doing what he enjoys and feeling a sense of mastery. Then he feels well rewarded whether that is through money or recognition. And he has the support of a team that is collectively in the right space.
In sport it is sometimes referred to as being in the zone. The result of both physical and mental preparation.
Interestingly in an interview after the match de Villiers shared the role that Rossouw and the rest of the team had played in his achieving his great result.
The sheer range of shots he played on Friday was breathtaking but he admitted to feeling out of sorts when he came out to join Rilee Rossouw in the middle with his side becalmed at 146-3.
“Rilee played a big part in me getting off my feet today,” he said.
“I didn’t feel too well going out to the wicket, a bit flat. He had a lot energy about him, a lot of intensity, getting into a lot of good positions, making it look flat out there.
“We were getting a lot of momentum behind us at a really quick pace. We’re both really aggressive players, we ran a lot of twos, and all of that together helped in me having a go.”
“I really thought the guys were motivated today to play some good cricket,” he said.
“It’s great to see the team like that, hustling around. You could see their eyes were open, ready to fight. It’s a great turnaround after loss at the MCG.”
I am writing this just hours before the Proteas play Sri Lanka in the quarter finals. I hope the team is again in the right space and that there are enough key players in the zone.
Imagine if everyone working for you, or around you, was in the zone. Imagine the results (the score) that you could collectively achieve.
It can be done. If you create an environment which makes it easier for people to be self motivated, one in which they have a degree of autonomy, can experience a sense of mastery and see a purpose in what they do. If you collect people together with a variety of strengths and match those strengths appropriately to the roles needed. And if you reward fairly and show appreciation in the language (manner) in which each individual needs to receive it.
And then you help those individuals to collaborate as a team. To appreciate each other’s strengths, to accept the imperfections, to communicate, to trust and to respect each other.
How much more would you achieve each day? How much more profitable would you be? How much higher would the quality of goods or services be?
Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.
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Quote of the Day
“Excellence can be attained if you Care more than what others think is wise, Risk more than what others think is safe, Dream more than what others think is practical and Expect more than what others think is possible.” – Unknown
My Little Black Book
This is for those in Johannesburg who enjoy theatre. Have you been to Foxwood Theatre in Houghton? We discovered it a couple of years ago. The shows range from revues to comedy to the thought provoking – mostly in English but some in Afrikaans. And there is an excellent restaurant for pre show dinners. You can sign up to their newsletter and watch out for the next show that interests you. http://www.foxwood.co.za/