It is my belief that we gain our greatest power and achieve the most when we deliver under immense pressure.
These ‘clutch moments’ are the fuel that drives leaders from all walks of life and furthermore, are what many turn up day in, day out for. It is the big occasion that help leaders gain valuable feedback on their abilities as well as demonstrate how far their team or in fact, their business has progressed.
So, what is the key ingredient that allows a leader to deliver in these moments? What enables someone to nail a sales presentation, deliver on massive deadlines, make the right choice in a crisis or inspire a team into action when it is required the most?
One word. Preparation.
Or to elaborate. Preparation of the mind through day-to-day decision making.
As leaders, we can’t float along in a work environment and expect everything to be achieved according to plan. We must be situationally aware and mindful to continually evaluate and assess what is going on, know what our people are doing, what behaviours are being exhibited and what the hidden agendas are. We must be consistently engaged, making decisions and judgement calls all the time. It goes without saying that this is bloody tiring, however, great leaders are made through this tough mental work.
The way to be ready to perform in clutch moments, is to have mountains of these small moments banked. We become prepared through repetition of action and the hundreds of everyday decisions that are racked up. They keep us sharp, focused and on top of our game. Johnathan Thurston’s grand final-winning field goal in 2015 against the Broncos for example, wasn’t a lucky kick, it was the result of hundreds and hundreds of hours of kicking practicing. JT nailed it in an ultimate clutch moment.
As a leader, we must learn to love the grind, the battle day to day to stay tough, mentally focused and manage emotions. We need to understand the importance of this work and know it is the work that delivers results way down the line.
If we don’t commit to the graft, then it is likely we’ll come unstuck in the key clutch moments. It is in our control though. Cave or conquer…. that’s on you.