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Top performance qualities for sports and business

If you look at high performers, both within business and sports industries – you may just find most of them possess the same characteristics and qualities as one another. The reason behind this? High performance is critically dependant on certain factors, from positive mindset and the ability to accept and process change, to owning your mistakes and learning from past failures. A lot goes into achieving top performance results, but we’ve broken it down into a few of the most important factors that will really work to drive success.

You start with the right people.

It may seem like an obvious statement but investing in the right people is imperative, both in sports and business. Choosing to build your team with people who are not just skilled but driven and passionate too is the best foundation you could put in place when bringing together a successful team.

Of course, the right people will be fuelled by purpose much greater than the concept of winning awards and trophies for performance, but a purpose to achieve beyond expectation and a desire to push past individual boundaries.

Recruit those who have a passionate purpose, those who see beyond short term success and continually strive to give their best.

Be knowledgeable.

It’s remarkable what you can achieve when you invest in understanding, so utilise this and take the time to fully equip yourself with the knowledge of which factors affect performance before making it a priority to address them.

Both in sports and in business, a critical element of success is having a clear understanding of what it takes to win, and optimising those key input factors to nurture the very best results. Often, it can be this lack of knowledge which ultimately determines whether you succeed or fail, and true high performance can only be expected when you first understand what it takes to achieve it.

Adaptability is key.

Adaptability should be one of the backbones of your success strategy. Both in business and sport, being adaptable and open to change is imperative for performance and success. In sports, it’s essential to overcome the challenges of change as nothing is ever certain, from rules and opposition to the people on your team. It continually changes and the reality is, you must also adapt too. You’ll find that by increasing awareness and allowing room for growth and change, you’ll discover the benefits of long term, sustained success. It’s well documented that adaptable people are the strongest leaders within a team and most invaluable employees within a work force because they generally cope well with different and evolving situations, bringing innovative ideas to the table and performing regardless of change. At ACT, we’ve transitioned many elite athletes into more corporate business roles and have witnessed first-hand the way that adaptability and being prepared and willing for change, has seen them succeed beyond their original sporting careers.

Capitalise on failure.

As with anything in life, there’s failure and accepting personal failures as an opportunity to learn and encourage growth, is perhaps a key high-performance principle that’s often overlooked. Our sports Psychologist, Ben Paszkowec, regularly works through the emotions and pressures of experiencing failure, with many of our on-boarded athletes and believes it must be considered that failure in any aspect of life is an essential element of our personal development. Even the most successful of people and businesses will have failed many a time on their journey to triumph. Strong leaders lead well through providing the facility for failure and therefore inspiring growth. Successful people, both in sports and business will have a deep-set understanding of why failure is important and how it can be utilised for future gain.

Be responsive.

Responsiveness or the lack of, could be an underlying and problematic issue for businesses and sportspeople who strive for growth but can’t quite achieve it. It harnesses the depth of the success that can be experienced by supporting an out-dated, inefficient and ineffective hierarchy. In contrast, the most successful teams are those led by people who have delegated some aspect of strategy and tactics to team players who can work independently as opposed to those who simply tell others beneath them, what to do.

Refuse to rest.

High performers are generally restless people. They work this way because they are continually looking to source the next best thing. They are the ones who are never content to just stay where they are, but instead seek out new challenges, present with new ideas and push themselves towards the next achievement. Discontent drives progress both in sports and business and those who succeed most are the very same people who never rest at a ‘safe place’ but instead are determined to reach greater heights. Many of the athletes we work with come to us with such positive attitudes and sheer determination. It is their refusal to rest that has ultimately seen them succeed and prosper through the opportunities that follow their sporting career.

Finding the right balance.

It’s imperative, critical even to find the right balance in all ventures of life. While there’s nothing wrong with aiming to learn more, seek out new experiences and expand on your personal knowledge – there’s also nothing wrong with leveraging and showcasing the experience and knowledge you already possess. There are often very fine margins between failure and success, variety and stability and finding the appropriate balance between the two is much more likely to offer stable and sustained future success. At ACT, we encourage our elite athletes to recognise the many skills and talents they already possess, and work with them in developing strategies for taking those very skills with them and then projecting them into corporate roles outside of sport.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of high-performance attributes, by any means, but it offers an insight into some of the most important factors behind achieving success. We’ve worked with many professional athletes and successful businesspeople and we’ve discovered that often, it’s these very characteristics that provide the opportunities for triumph and victory and encourage top performance results in all aspects of life, business and sport.

If you’re looking to hire the best sporting talent from across the Globe, contact the ACT team to begin designing your alternative high performance talent program. Contact or visit


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