How to build a champion workforce

PUBLISHED: 14 Aug 2013

Michael Bernard

As the first sports psychologist to work for the Collingwood Football Club, I know first hand the mindset required from each player – and coach – for the team to achieve success.

Former captain and Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley is an example of an individual who exhibits that high performance mindset in spades. You might be surprised to learn that for Buckley that was not always the case.

Through understanding the importance of having an open mind, he continued to learn. Along the way, “Bucks” saw the importance of not wasting time worrying about what has been or what will be; his
focus became the here and now.

He learned to be a good listener and the importance of continuously setting and achieving higher and higher goals. He gradually developed the belief he could be as good as he wanted to be – if he was prepared to do the work.

What do our decision makers need to know in order to build high performing mindsets like that of Nathan Buckley in the workforce? Here are four of the factors which give individuals and organisations a competitive advantage.

Economic capital including financial, tangible assets has historically been considered the most important for high performance. However, in the new economy, intangible assets are increasingly being recognised for their sizable contribution.

As organisations strive to do more with less, human capital (job experience, qualifications, job skills and knowledge) have become integral to individual and organisational success.

A further intangible asset is social capital meaning the size and quality of the networks of people at all levels within and outside an organisation that help individuals solve problems and provide guidance and expertise.

The most important asset is psychological capital. The psychological strengths of a high-performance mindset include such capabilities as self-direction, optimism, high frustration tolerance, empathy, self-acceptance and authenticity.

People who perform at their best are deeply committed not only to their own success, but also to the success and wellbeing of others. Top performers possess highly developed behavioural strengths which enable them to perform positively and efficiently in managing highly complex, demanding tasks and dealing with difficult people.

To instill that mindset, management and human resource departments need to commit to building the psychological capacity of their workforce.

The extent to which high-performing organisations outperform low-performing organisations on indicators such as effective leadership, productivity, engagement, innovation and well-being, depends on the distribution of the high performance mindset across employees at all levels of the organisation. The good news is these capabilities can be strengthened not only in professional athletes, but in everyone. It can make the difference between a successful performance or the “Collywobbles”.

Michael E. Bernard, PhD., is a Professor, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne (michaelebernard@gmail.com). He is the author of over 50 books and has recently released a learning and development program, The High Performance Mindset at Work (www.workmindset.com).

December 4, 2015 7:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

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