4 Roles Vital to Peak Performance.

I recently spoke with a member of the 2012 US Olympic team about the secrets to his success. I was intrigued by the roles different people played in propelling him to qualifying for the Olympics. Reflecting further, I believe these four roles are vital to sustaining peak performance in any environment.

Our study of peak performance environments has thus far led us to speak with professional athletes, as well as elite members of our military. In each conversation, a few themes have emerged that are developing into core elements of our methodology.

Among them, the supporting roles various people play that influence people to try harder and keep pushing when times get tough. Think about who these people might be in your life or work environment or how to create them.

1. Head coach. A stereotypical leader, this person casts the vision and communicates it often in terms of what the team will have to accomplish to be successful and why such an effort matters. There is some form of leader or commanding officer in place wherever really hard work is sustained.

2. Position coach or mentor. A hands-on teacher or guide, the person provides specific feedback on the tactical execution of the work. This person has either been there before or accomplished something similar.

3. Teammates. No surprise, peak performance is tough to achieve in a vacuum. Teammates provide synergy in the form of physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual support. They are on the field, suffering along side, and celebrating together.

4. Fans. Often overlooked, fans play a vital role in breakthrough performance. In sports like football, baseball, and basketball, they say that crowd participation is akin to having an extra person suited up and on the field. Military personnel talk about their friends, family, and countrymen back home sustaining them through difficult times.

So with our Olympic swimmer, which role do you think propelled him to work harder when the others had faded and his aching body pleaded for mercy? Fans. Not even so much the people in the audience at his events, he said it was his lifelong friends and family member whom he wished to make proud. He wanted to earn them the right to say, “My friend is an Olympic swimmer”.

You may have taken these roles for granted in sports, but have you considered them at the office? Is someone playing the role of visionary head coach? Another getting hands-on and providing input to each person’s specific position?

Are colleagues really working as a team with shared goals? And, finally have you effectively pulled fans into the equation? Are customers, friends, or family members engaged in the success of your people in a visible, tangible way?