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Mental Health

Podcast No. 52: Science of Winning, Part 2

December 11, 2019

On today’s podcast, our VP of Performance Kristen Holmes and Elite Performance Manager Mike Lombardi are back with “Science of Winning, Part 2.”

By Will Ahmed

Listen, review, subscribe.

In this episode, Kristen and Mike take a deep dive into many of the principals she developed and applied to becoming an NCAA champion coach at Princeton University. They discuss team culture and why it’s built on behaviors, not beliefs, as well as how to promote and enhance key performance traits like grit, character, intrinsic motivation, leadership, and self-concept clarity. They also touch on the impact data has on winning, and how it can help make smarter behavioral choices.

Whether you’re a coach, an athlete, or just someone looking to be better at what you do, there is a lot of great stuff in here for you. Make sure to check out their previous episode on the science of winning if you haven’t already.

Show Notes:

3:53 – Team Culture. “I think at a foundational level, culture is not what you believe, it’s how you behave,” Kristen says. “What are the behaviors and traits that are going to lead to whatever outcome you want for your team?”

6:16 – What Inhibits Performance? It’s not usually a lack of desire, but rather “A lack of clarity in the environment.”

8:17 – Assessment of Key Performance Traits. “10 different behaviors or traits that I felt were absolutely critical if we wanted to optimize, physical, mental and emotional potential.” Kristen had her players rate themselves 1-5 in each, and also rate each other. “When perception isn’t meeting reality, that’s the point of discussion.”

11:48 – Grit. “You’re resisting short-term temptations for long-term gain.” If you’re below standard, you give up and make excuses.

13:28 – Aligned Values. “If you have a big team or a large company, if the values aren’t aligned it’s going to be a disaster,” Mike says.

14:05 – Character. “Behaviors aligned with personal and organizational core values,” a role model who drives the norms. “At least 80% of the organization needs to be above standard in this.”

16:16 – Intrinsic Motivation. “Having a clear life purpose that aligns with your personal passions, values and goals.”

18:40 – It’s Not Always a Perfect Fit. “If your values don’t align with your organization, that doesn’t make you a bad person … maybe we didn’t ask the right questions during the recruiting process, or maybe you just want to be doing something else.”

19:51 – Self-Concept Clarity. “Being able to generate a super-accurate description of yourself is important, recognizing your strengths and skill sets, and your barriers, Kristen explains. “A mastery of being able to leverage the things you’re really good at.”

21:54 – Leadership. “It starts with self-rule. … I’m not going to follow someone who doesn’t take care of themselves. In order to be a leader, I think it’s really essential that you’re owning your own stuff first.”

23:25 – Speak Once & Listening Twice. “Probably the best rule of a leader.”

23:46 – Gravitas. “Confidence and self esteem comes from living the behaviors that are core to high performance.”

24:55 – Teamwork. “What’s your ability to mentor others? Everyone’s got a super power … what can you contribute to the greater mission? What can I bring today that’s going to add value.”

26:47 – The Foundation. “If you have the foundation right, and everyone understands what the standards are, that is how you unlock all the things that make a magical culture.”

28:06 – Sleep & Recovery Behavior. “Are you meeting physiological intent? Am I preventing negative stress accumulation by measuring and accounting for stress with appropriate levels of rest?”

29:48 – Fueling Behavior. “Are you under-fueling, are you over-fueling? This is an important life skill.”

31:14 – Organizational Transparency. “Openness to bring everyone up. … It’s not a damning thing, it’s an evaluation point,” Mike says. “You need this feedback to continue to grow.”

33:16 – The Prophet. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” is a quote Mike is quite fond of. “Understand that everyone is not going to be the same as you, and they don’t have to be,” he says.

34:24 – Know Your Team. “You have to have contact with your athletes …. You need to understand the folks in your environment, and you can’t know your players unless you talk to them.”

36:28 – Nobody is Above the Standard. “People are watching the leaders. If you want people to do something, you better do it yourself.”

38:18 – Core Values. Define where you want to go, then figure out the behaviors that are going to help you get there.

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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance and health. WHOOP members include professional athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs, fitness enthusiasts, military personnel, frontline workers and a broad range of people looking to improve their performance. WHOOP has raised more than $400 million from top investors and is valued at $3.6 billion, making it the most valuable standalone wearables company in the world. Ahmed has recruited an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, marketers, and designers. Ahmed was recently named to the 2021 Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list as well as 2020 Fortune 40 Under 40 Healthcare list and previously named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Ahmed founded WHOOP as a student at Harvard, where he captained the Men’s Varsity Squash Team and graduated with an A.B. in government.