Last month we took part in the DP World ‘Expanding Horizons’ Conference in Dubai. We led a keynote session on high-performance teams, alongside inspiring speakers Jim Lawless and René Carayol. With a collective of some of the finest brass players in the UK – Superbrass – we ran our world-class leadership programme KnowTheScore®, powerfully demonstrating harmony in action.
Where It All Began
Over 10 years ago I attended a business conference in South Africa, where I was working at the time, for Barclays. We were invited to break into groups of 25 people. As a group exercise, we were competing against each other to create a five minute play about the customer life-cycle. Our group was to focus on the change from bad experience to good experience – the key pivotal moment.
Just thinking about what we might produce, I suggested to my team leader that as a bunch of bankers we weren’t very creative and whilst our play might be amusing, it may be for all the wrong reasons. I proposed that what might have the biggest impact would be to write and perform a song. Because our theme was change, and we were in Africa, we chose a song that was familiar to everyone – Amazing Grace – re-writing the lyrics to fit our theme and calling it: Amazing Change.
We began our performance, bowed over the stage in a tight huddle. A Zimbabwean lady with a beautiful gospel voice started to hum the melody. Gradually the rest of us we joined in with harmonies and finger-clicking and then we sang the four verses of the song we’d written – Amazing Change – opening up like a flower on the stage, as gradually the lights came up around us. Suddenly we were transformed into a 25 strong gospel choir – singing lyrics that were relevant, witty and to the point – and people went wild.
The impact on the audience was incredible; people were moved to tears to see their colleagues pull off something like that. And the impact on us was incredible too. When I’d first suggested it perhaps 20% were up for it, 20% were not up for it and about 60% were sitting on the fence. Yet here we were having accomplished something very special in a short period of time, with limited resources, which we hadn’t thought we were capable of. My colleagues couldn’t believe what we had done.
The Power To Change
Personally, I realised that this is what I wanted to do, for a living, despite not knowing how. I sat on the idea for about 5 years and then started this company – Moving Performance – in 2009. Our first client was Northern Rock and you can hear more about their story on our blog.
René Carayol was also at that South African Conference. In Dubai I was able to share with him the impact it had had on me, together with the consequences of being willing to step out and do something with what I’d experienced.
For each of us, our dreams for a better business, a better work-life balance, or a new career altogether, can become reality when we take the right steps in the right direction. That first step, the commitment to pursue something new, and as yet unseen, can be the hardest. It’s our biggest step. However it’s backed up by smaller more manageable everyday steps which keep us pursuing our dreams and give us a renewed sense of purpose.
René writes, in his new book, Spike, about discovering your standout strengths and the benefits of finding a mentor to help you identify these. Because every one of us is unique, we can each bring something different to the marketplace. Our role is to identify that in ourselves and, as leaders, to identify that in others. So that together we can perform at our very best.
Experience the Potential of High-Performance Teams
At Moving Performance, we work with business leaders, and their teams, all over the world. Organisations, large and small, are often in the midst of change. Our work enables them to navigate that change more effectively. The circumstances may be the appointment of a new CEO, a difficult period of financial loss, or perhaps the merger of two companies. Each of these scenarios can be an opportunity for deeper employee engagement and greater expansion for the business. However they can also be time-consuming, energy-sapping, and create an environment of uncertainty for years to come. Our work shows that it doesn’t have to be that way.
As with my first experience of music within a business context, I saw that much of what we want to instil within our businesses cannot merely be taught – not in a strict sense. In fact, what has the greatest impact, on an individual or organisation, is an experience that instills confidence and inspires a willingness to pursue what otherwise seems impossible. An experience that effects change.
We provide businesses and other organisations with the opportunity to witness a world-class performance for themselves and to experience what they’re capable of. We’ve seen how powerfully this translates back into the workplace increasing engagement and productivity when it’s needed most.
Don’t just take our word for it. Read the testimonials of our delighted clients and find out more about how we can help you.