Have you ever wondered why the same sports teams stay the main contenders for years, despite the fact that the people and players involved are constantly changing?

That question led two Waikato University Professors, Dr Mike Pratt and Clive Gilson, together with Dr Kevin Roberts, CEO of a major Australasian brewery, to launch the Peak Performance Project in 1997. They realised that there had to be something significant about the leadership and organisation of such sports teams, and they resolved to discover how they kept on winning.

Much of their research was carried out in the real world – Saatchi and Saatchi to be precise, which at the time was facing financial and leadership crisis. The company became a global business laboratory in which real-time research, theory development and practical implementation honed the ideas behind peak performance and inspirational leadership. Within a year the company was demerged from its holding company and floated on the London Stock Exchange at £1.10. Two-and-a-half years later with the stock price at £5, Saatchi & Saatchi merged with the Publicis Groupe.

The Peak Performance Project spawned the international best selling business book Peak Performance. The learnings from the project have seen hundreds of organisations receive similar benefits to those of Saatchi and Saatchi.

I have also seen the benefits first hand. A couple months ago I took on a project that has become hugely satisfying, and opened my eyes to incredibly talented people and organisations all around New Zealand.

I’ve joined Dr Pratt and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) in order to help organisations understand their strategy, following the methodology developed by the Peak Performance Project team.

Over a series of workshops I’ve been taking groups through the theory’s key stages that has helped many organisations become more aligned and achieving remarkable results:

1. Philosophy

The co-creation of an imaginative enterprise philosophy – including purpose, spirit, beliefs, greatest imaginable challenge, focus.

2. Practices

Understanding the business rationale, and creating the plan that will deliver the greatest imaginable challenge.

3. Positivity

Using ‘flow’ as the basis for personal and organisational wellbeing. Positivity is about focusing on when the organisation is at its best, rather than only the problems in its way.

4. Inspirational Leadership

The enhancement of inspirational leadership capabilities so that participants can both continuously challenge themselves and mentor and coach others to exceed personal and organisational best.

5. Performance

The development of innovative enterprise that sustains enduring success.

NZTE describe this programme as Better By Strategy. Combined with other leadership and performance projects that Inspiring Performance is delivering, it’s continuing to be a pleasure to meet plenty of new and ambitious businesses.

Will your organisation be a consistent performer? If not, perhaps you need to take a leaf out of the Peak Performance book. Of course, I’d love to help you so feel free to contact me.

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