Paul Blair, managing director of Livingston James, shares his thoughts following the second in the Livingston James Group Human Performance Forum series with adventurer and World Record Holder, Mark Beaumont.
Livingston James Group advisory board member, Mark Beaumont, addressed an audience of HR professionals in Glasgow at the latest Human Performance Forum event. As a multiple World Record breaker, Mark is no stranger to setting and achieving ambitious targets, and was able to share the scale and complexity behind these projects.
As a business ambassador, Mark regularly applies his own approach to target setting, dealing with setback and communication, to help businesses achieve their goals. A very lively discussion with the audience followed Marks talk, highlighting the considerable common ground between his challenges and those faced by many of us in the business world.
As an athlete, Mark’s projects start with the setting of an ambitious target, for example cycling around the globe, rowing across the Atlantic, or cycling from Cairo to Cape Town. He laid out some useful advice on setting and maintaining ambitious but achievable targets during the session.
- Set targets based on true potential, rather than trying to repeat history with only marginal improvements
- Remember, creating leaps in performance can be very tricky for teams to buy into, as not everyone has the same experience and therefore differing comfort zones
- When performance is threatened by external factors, outwith the control of the team, it is tempting to make excuses for performance and therefore to slip, justifying success as long as it remains better than ‘next best’
- These challenge points are the most important times to remain consistent with what you can affect, so to remain on target for the long-term target
- Consider everyone’s personal motivation in a project to make sure they are self-reliant and truly in the driving seat
- Mark highlighted how the pressure of setting and driving towards an ambitious target can tell you a great deal about yourself and your team
- A CV can’t really tell you about someone’s depth of resolve and attitude – it simply tells you a person was present during a project
- The ability to think, communicate and act clearly under different degrees of stress is paramount and can only be learnt through experience.
- Key to the smooth running of any team, in business or sport, is crystal clear communication. Without understanding the purpose of your communication, and who it is for, the impact of any communication will be low.
Mark’s reflections certainly resonate with our experience at the Livingston James Group, where we are regularly involved in helping our clients to recruit the best people to help them achieve their own ambitious targets. We fully understand that the success of any team, be that in a family-owned SME, large corporate or professional service organisation, relies on the combined strengths of its members, coupled with strong leadership and clear, concise communication.