Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The corporate athlete

I stumbled upon an old article from the Harvard Business Review about the making of a corporate athlete. The title lured me in; it is always flattering to compare corporate leaders to professional athletes that are admired by the masses.

The thesis of the article is that performance demands on today's corporate leaders rival those on professional athletes, and while the latter get all the training and recovery and support they can before and after competing, corporate leaders do not. In fact leaders are required to perform under stress 24/7 year round with no time to recover or unwind.

The article argues that unwinding and recovery are crucial for peak performance.  The article lists four dimensions of capacity that the leader needs to worry about: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities. By strengthening each of these capacities, the corporate leader can draw on the separate strengths, and manage to handle work pressure, and performance demands.

The article lists some ways to strengthen these areas, citing coaching examples from the authors' experience. Some of the article's suggestions are: eating healthy meals, exercising, keeping a consistent sleep and wake up schedules, limiting tasks to 90--120 minutes, weight training three times a week, and continuous learning.

Sounds like reasonable advice to me.

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