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5 top ways to optimise team performance in 2023

“You cannot pour from an empty jug.”

An ever changing and ever challenging world demands more and more of you and your team…daily.

AI is not yet, and hopefully never will be, at the point where it can run the business without human experience, intuition and heart.

The greatest vision and cool ways of working will clarify and incentivise, but are ultimately worth nothing without people who want to and are able to commit and deliver.

So, how do you help your team deliver their best every day…when the definition of best may be shifting and growing?

Here are 5 top and proven techniques to build the foundation of #ultimateperformance and #resilienceatwork for you and your team:

1: Get Moving - encourage and enable exercise and movement in the work day. The benefits of various types of movement for overall physical, cardiovascular, immune and mental health are well documented and proven time and again through experience. Focus on regular and consistent, covering spinal flexibility and overall healthy joint movement and strength. Movement and exercise also increase levels of inspiration, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and, when done mindfully, learning. Top tip: Want to boost these benefits even more? Move outside in a natural setting. E.g. Take your team on a walking meeting or hold your 1 to 1 sessions face to face out in nature…a park will do.

2: Learn to Breathe - We do not breathe. Breathing happens and is governed by the autonomic nervous system. This is the part of the nervous system that is also primarily responsible for our survival, at rest and under stress or threat. One of the first signs we are carrying too much stress is dysfunctional breathing; too fast, too shallow, to high in the chest, retained unconsciously, ragged, mainly through the mouth… Our breath is also one of the easiest and most available ways to regulate our physiology and energies…if we are aware it is needed and know how to breathe. Learning some basic, healthy breathing techniques and knowing how potent the breath is in regulating energy, mood, stress levels and mental focus will make a formidable change for you and your team members in all aspects of life.

3: Eat well: We are literally what we eat. Our physical, neurophysiological and psychological selves are chemistry made up of the food we eat and, here is a kicker…directly influenced by how we experience life; the thoughts and feelings we give attention, importance and energy to. In a world obsessed with specific diets and trying to find a silver bullet that is convenient and tasty the only important tip I’d offer is this: Learn how to regulate your blood sugar and insulin response through diet and include as many whole, unprocessed foods in a balanced macro nutrient diet as is possible. In the workplace, make sensible eating choices available and provide access to learning about how to Eat Well; everyone’s needs are personal so everyone will have a personal Eat Well diet.

4: Be grounded and present - We experience (sense, feel and think about) every aspect of our lives within our bodies. Each moment, moment to moment, exists only within us. This may sound a tad philosophical, but it is a neurophysiological and demonstrable fact. How we experience each moment is up to us, though. If we choose to be calm, present and grateful we will tend to have a more pleasant experience than if we choose to be stressed, angry or anxious.  You might recall an occasion when even the tastiest meal was disregarded at the onset of extreme stress or anger. . A regular practice of simple grounding and self-regulation techniques for 21 days or more will start to “rewire” you and your team’s neurology to be present, calm, at ease, energised and engaged…with capacity for the extra mile and to make the choices that are needed. Quite convenient, then, that through using movement and breath we can rapidly regulate our physiology; the thing that gives us our world of experience through sensations, feelings, emotions, thoughts and interactions. Even more potent is calmly and consciously deciding to engage in physiologically stressful and challenging activities…I choose ice baths, cliff jumping and stand up paddling in the dead of winter in only my shorts…Learning simple movement, self touch and breath techniques to self-regulate can instantly ground you and your team members in the present, into their bodies and fully engaged with what is actually asked of them there and then…even if that is planning for the future or dealing with a critical situation.

5: Rest and recover: Make the time and (encourage your team to) take the time to connect with friends and family and not work.  As we move through our days our bodies (including brain of course) consume and transform energy and nutrients in order to function. This builds up waste and, in simple terms, changes the chemistry set such that we are. Chronic or undue stress similarly changes this chemistry. Either way, the result over time is fatigue, decreased energy and focus, increased stress, narrower mindset, erratic behaviours and the need for rest. Although not the true etymology of the word, I like to think of “rest” as the first half of “restore”; to regain capacity or return to original form. Rest can come in many forms. Good quality sleep is essential, but rest can also be a social gathering where we can let go of stress through co-regulation with others. After all, we find safety in trusted social relationship and this safety allows us to relax, releasing a load we often unconsciously carry (One simple definition of stress, if I may). Rest can also come from a break or a change in your diet, removing or reducing stimulants and depressants (e.g. sugar, caffeine and alcohol) some forms of exercise are restful and rejuvenating, a timely siesta works for some, extended time away from the office (sometimes only a holiday is as good as a holiday), fun social activities as a team…the list goes on. Optimal action can only come from a place of optimal rest.

You might have gathered by now that these 5 points are not directly about performance at work. They are, however, the only truly sustainable way to enable performance and resilience for you and your teams. Sounding again like a cheesy book of proverbs, “You cannot pour from an empty jug.”  Equipping your team with the knowledge, tools and opportunity to regularly fill their jugs with wellbeing and greater inner capacity for change, challenge and life is the only option when asking them to pour more, more frequently and under increasingly challenging circumstances.

This is what I teach on my Wellbeing Foundation programme.

It works.

Why not try it in the new year?

Check my website for events.

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