The Leader Magazine

SEP 2016

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SEPTEMBER 2016 33 strategy? The answer is, resoundingly, yes. We found these three lessons to be particu- larly compelling and relevant. 1. e ngage the whole person. The best sports organizations recognize that their athletes are people, not just players or employees. They have families, financial concerns, and a need for community and to feel safe. For athletes to perform at their best on the field, they need to feel the rest of their life is in order so that they can give 100 percent of their focus and attention to their sport, in practice and during game time. Forward-thinking athletic organizations believe the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of an athlete are connected. Depending on one part without catering to the others can negatively affect energy levels, drive, focus and, ultimately, success. A great example of this is Saracens RFU, a London- based Rugby Union club with incredible domestic and international success that takes "Caring for and Developing People" very seriously. Many of its players are young men in their early- to mid-20s who come from overseas to play in the UK. These players travel with wives, girlfriends and/ or young children, and Saracens invests in entire families to get them integrated into the community and social circle, settled and happy. Saracens provides child-care facilities within the club and all of its young athletes enroll into a mandatory education program. Why? In their words, "Players are only one tackle away from next phase of their life." Rugby is a very physical sport, the tenure of players is only a few years, and Saracens wants to set its players up for success after they leave the club. Some companies might see this is going above and beyond the call of duty; Saracens sees it as good business. It sees direct results from putting this kind of energy into its players, and the ROI is clear on game day. How can you show the same level of care to your employees – remove their day-to-day worries and help them focus on the job they were hired to do? Maybe you don't have the budget of the a multi-million- dollar sports franchise or club, but consider ways that leadership, facilities, HR, health, wellness staff and other elements can come together and support employees with things such as a concierge, flexible work policy, less "rules" or administrative paperwork, financial planning, addiction treatment, stress management, child care, pet care, lactation rooms, alternative transportation options, insurance-claim support, personal coaching or fitness instruction, etc. Remove the barriers that hinder employees' best work. 2. Manage energy and recovery. The Johnson & Johnson Human Per- formance Institute (JJHPI) was co-founded in 1991 by Dr. Jim Loehr, a performance psychologist, and Dr. Jack Groppel, a recog- nized authority on human performance, fitness, and nutrition. One of Drs. Loehr's and Groppel's early research findings came from training professional athletes, like tennis pro Pete Sampras, golfer Mark O'Meara, Pro Bowl quarterback Jim Harbaugh and Olympic gold medalist speed skater Dan Jansen. Over time, they found that all of the athletes they trained were excellent technically, but the difference between the good and the great players was their ability to manage energy, both in their training and during competitions. Loehr and Groppel started studying energy management at the cellular level, which led them to develop a comprehensive science-based program for exercise, nutrition intake, sleep and other forms of "recovery" throughout the day. They also developed a unique, multidimensional (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual) behavior-change model. Athletes and the rest of us, too, need to be highly functioning on many levels to give our best performance on the field and in our jobs. Our behaviors on a daily basis can really inhibit or enable our performance. The JJHPI now teaches a Corporate Athlete® program that helps business leaders across the globe perform at their very best. Several studies conducted to evaluate the Corporate Athlete course suggest the JJHPI is on to something pretty powerful. When surveyed, participants suggested they had more energy and better mental health, emotional well-being and general health, even 18 months after they took the course. When course takers were asked to rate their performance over that time, they improved productivity based on work time missed, time spent actually working and "the extent to which health is affecting both work productivity and regular daily activities." Managing energy and recovery of employees requires good coaching, plus facilities and programs that help employees make decisions that keep them energized throughout their day. This means employees need tools and encouragement to move regularly throughout the day, as well as

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