Superior Performance Intelligence (SPI) and the England Cricket Team

Superior Performance Intelligence (SPI) and the England Cricket Team

In my December 15th blog, I told you about Superior Performance Intelligence, a new concept I’ve been working on.

Just to remind you, SPI is ‘a critical awareness and know-how that enables top performers to apply their minds, skills, techniques, strategies and tactics to the same high standard every time they perform’ and comprises three components:

  • Knowing how to maximise your potential
  • Knowing how to work with your environment
  • Knowing how to deliver high performance

SPI is what enables top leaders, athletes and performers in any domain to deliver success time and time again, rather than succumbing to the demands of being highly visible, scrutinised and accountable. In the December 15th blog I cited examples of individual business leaders and sport performers who have demonstrated an impressive sustainability and longevity at the top of their professions.

Building on the notion of SPI at an individual level, I believe that SPI also exists at a collective level, and the England cricket team have provided strong supporting evidence over the past few weeks. Having just achieved their long-term aspiration of becoming the world’s number one test-playing team, the first ‘defence’ of their crown came to a sorry end, losing all three test matches against Pakistan.  They remain number one, but for how long?  A South African clean sweep in their test series against New Zealand starting shortly will topple England from their lofty perch after only weeks at the top.

England’s performance is a great example of my theory that getting to the top and then staying there are different things.  And it applies not only to sport. On the high street, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer are prime examples of household names that plummeted from being number one in their market place.  That was largely the result of complacency, the enemy of SPI.

So what is it about staying at the top that is so tough?  Well let’s start with the fact that ‘number ones’ become the target for all the competition.  And then there’s the attention and interest from previously uninterested stakeholders: expectations, media scrutiny and the inevitable dirt-digging all move to a different level.  The support that was so evident during the journey to the top can disappear and even turn hostile once the top has been reached.  And don’t forget the internal threats.  People who have been instrumental, or merely on the periphery, in enabling progress to the top want their due rewards; keeping them happy becomes a different challenge.

So, planning and preparing to achieve top-dog status may get you there, but staying at the top requires a different plan which needs to be executed as soon as that goal has been achieved. England will be hoping that New Zealand thwart South Africa’s clean-sweep attempt, whilst at the same time working on that presumably overlooked ‘staying at the top’ plan.

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