The dust is settling as another world cup has come to a close. While the England team may not have got as far as they hoped, their remarkable journey was a fascinating watch, not least due to the intrigue and love built up towards manager Gareth Southgate. His style and method brought us not just ‘Waistcoat Wednesday’, but a demonstration of a measured approach to driving team performance. He himself put this as “the questions around us simply come down to character; the essential ability to withstand events that go on around you” as described in the Independent. And it’s this ability to deal with various pressures that many argue, is the key to success.

The attention given to England’s world cup performance has certainly raised awareness of this, indeed the Chartered Management Institute highlights the role of resilience, mindset and even emotional intelligence behind team performance. This is something that has been well recognised across many disciplines, with approaches to successful performance drawing parallels across sports, business and education. Matthew Syed (author of Bounce and Black Box Thinking) recently talked about his newest book on radio2; ‘You are awesome’ - an inspiring children’s book demonstrating how success is earned rather than given. His account of David Beckham’s rise to success and attitude to failure really brings to life the value of a growth mindset (whereby people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, Dweck); when questioned about his mindset, Beckham describes it quite simply: “I made a mistake, I learnt from it, isn’t that what life is about?”

As we focus our attention to applying these lessons to defining, assessing and developing performance in the workplace, it’s clear that this ability to deal with various pressures is becoming increasingly important for individuals and organisations as they navigate the constantly changing environment. This can be particularly key to thriving in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world in which those individuals who are quick to learn from experience and move forward with new ideas will be better prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s world..

See part 2 tomorrow.