Performing Under Pressure with the Business Olympian

Olympic athletes need to perform under pressure, and so do business people.
Gavin Freeman, the Business Olympian, is a former Olympic elite sports psychologist who is now making the connection between olympic sport psychology and elite performance in business.
Gavin delivered a workshop today for the VPS CIN to a group of 24 people on High Performance under Pressure.

Gavin talked about how our thoughts and emotions drive our actions, and that we need to learn what’s going on within ourselves.
During the workshop, participants looked at high pressure situations in their workplaces and their behaviours and strategies under pressure.
Gavin took participants through the same process he took an Olympic archery team through – examining where and how they will feel the pressure during elite performance, and how to develop not only reactive strategies for dealing with pressure when it arises but also proactive strategies for dealing with possible pressure in advance.
One of the proactive strategies Gavin has used with Olympic Archers was to “take them to the Nth degree” in experiencing pressure situations before the big event. Gavin had his Archery team competing in front of family and friends, under simulated rain (with a high pressure hose) and with recorded sound distractions in the background. Gavin’s workshop helped us identify similar situations we can treat with similar strategies.
Gavin also suggested a key to success in the modern business world is the “5 year old test” – if you can deliver your ideas in a way that a five year old can understand, it’s probably good! Gavin also exhorted us to “be better than the ball” – if someone passes a ball to us poorly in sport, don’t complain but pick it up and do something marvelous with it and we can do the same in business.
I was also interested in connections between the sports psychology perspective and some of my own interest areas. For example, Gavin talked about various “cognitive distortions” or ways of misrepresenting reality to oneself, which from a Buddhist perspective mirror the importance of seeing reality as it is. Similarly, the importance of developing awareness and particularly self-awareness in sporting (and business) performance mirrors the Buddhist emphasis on mindfulness.
For those interested in more detail on the connection between sports psychology and elite business performance, Gavin has written a book on the topic.
3 Responses to Performing Under Pressure with the Business Olympian
  1. Anonymous
    June 22, 2009 | 10:28 AM

    Hi,

    I think you are right there certainly is a connection between high performance in the sporting world and organisational/business context.

    You may be interested so read this article I found, written by Steve Carter.
    http://www.apterinternational.com/sustainable_performance

    http://www.istadia.com/article/Apter1/243

    He suggests that the business world can learn a lot about sustainable, great performance from the sporting environment.

    I hope you find it interesting!

    Claire

  2. Danny Vongswang
    October 21, 2009 | 5:47 AM

    The guy in the picture with Gavin Freeman, is that Lloyd Bridges?

  3. Dr. Lauchlan A. K. Mackinnon
    October 21, 2009 | 7:28 AM

    Hi Danny

    The guy in the picture with the tie is me, the taller guy without the tie is Gavin Freeman.

    I don't know Lloyd Bridges.

    Regards

    Lauchlan Mackinnon

Performing Under Pressure with the Business Olympian

Olympic athletes need to perform under pressure, and so do business people.
Gavin Freeman, the Business Olympian, is a former Olympic elite sports psychologist who is now making the connection between olympic sport psychology and elite performance in business.
Gavin delivered a workshop today for the VPS CIN to a group of 24 people on High Performance under Pressure.

Gavin talked about how our thoughts and emotions drive our actions, and that we need to learn what’s going on within ourselves.
During the workshop, participants looked at high pressure situations in their workplaces and their behaviours and strategies under pressure.
Gavin took participants through the same process he took an Olympic archery team through – examining where and how they will feel the pressure during elite performance, and how to develop not only reactive strategies for dealing with pressure when it arises but also proactive strategies for dealing with possible pressure in advance.
One of the proactive strategies Gavin has used with Olympic Archers was to “take them to the Nth degree” in experiencing pressure situations before the big event. Gavin had his Archery team competing in front of family and friends, under simulated rain (with a high pressure hose) and with recorded sound distractions in the background. Gavin’s workshop helped us identify similar situations we can treat with similar strategies.
Gavin also suggested a key to success in the modern business world is the “5 year old test” – if you can deliver your ideas in a way that a five year old can understand, it’s probably good! Gavin also exhorted us to “be better than the ball” – if someone passes a ball to us poorly in sport, don’t complain but pick it up and do something marvelous with it and we can do the same in business.
I was also interested in connections between the sports psychology perspective and some of my own interest areas. For example, Gavin talked about various “cognitive distortions” or ways of misrepresenting reality to oneself, which from a Buddhist perspective mirror the importance of seeing reality as it is. Similarly, the importance of developing awareness and particularly self-awareness in sporting (and business) performance mirrors the Buddhist emphasis on mindfulness.
For those interested in more detail on the connection between sports psychology and elite business performance, Gavin has written a book on the topic.
3 Responses to Performing Under Pressure with the Business Olympian
  1. Anonymous
    June 22, 2009 | 10:28 AM

    Hi,

    I think you are right there certainly is a connection between high performance in the sporting world and organisational/business context.

    You may be interested so read this article I found, written by Steve Carter.
    http://www.apterinternational.com/sustainable_performance

    http://www.istadia.com/article/Apter1/243

    He suggests that the business world can learn a lot about sustainable, great performance from the sporting environment.

    I hope you find it interesting!

    Claire

  2. Danny Vongswang
    October 21, 2009 | 5:47 AM

    The guy in the picture with Gavin Freeman, is that Lloyd Bridges?

  3. Dr. Lauchlan A. K. Mackinnon
    October 21, 2009 | 7:28 AM

    Hi Danny

    The guy in the picture with the tie is me, the taller guy without the tie is Gavin Freeman.

    I don't know Lloyd Bridges.

    Regards

    Lauchlan Mackinnon